1. The Guggenheim Museum sets this learning objective for its Intern Program: “To provide practical hands-on museum training for students and professionals pursuing museum careers by immersing interns in the daily operations of the museum.” Having never worked in a museum or a museum library before, I believe this will be a valuable experience for me. While I could certainly take museum studies classes to learn about work in that field, immersion in the actual work is the best way to really learn about the museum world. In particular, working in a library that specializes in art, particularly art in relation to the Guggenheim Museum itself, will be an experience tailored to my interests and career goals.
2. The second goal set forth by the Guggenheim Intern Program is “To facilitate educational dialogue and exposure to the arts and cultural sector in New York through weekly Museum Culture Seminars, comprising of site visits, lectures, seminars and field trips.” While not necessarily hands-on experience, this portion of the internship will be an informative way to learn about various career opportunities in museums as well as current projects in the cultural sector. This will also widen the focus of my internship by offering the opportunity to learn about all aspects of museum work in addition to that of the library’s place with respect to the Guggenheim. In addition, the Museum Culture Seminars will be an chance for me to network with both fellow interns and professionals in the field.
3. Specifically related to the library, this internship will help me to understand the information needs of museum professionals and art scholars. The Guggenheim Library primarily serves the staff of the museum so this will be the main focus of information services. However, the library does allow qualified scholars to use their resources by appointment; the potential to aid in research in the field of museums and art history is certainly a highlighted opportunity for this internship. Furthermore, hands-on experience with the information services provided to this community will be enlightening and will help to expand my understanding of information services overall.
4. The Guggenheim Library uses Koha as its integrated library system (ILS). This is an open source ILS and, as was suggested in my phone interview, this has its benefits and its challenges. In addition to gaining experience in another ILS (I have previously worked with SirsiDynix’s Unicorn and Symphony as well as Aleph from Ex Libris), being exposed to an open source ILS will be educational. Learning more about open source software in general as well as its application to the library will be beneficial. Also, I look forward to better understanding the pros and cons of using an open source ILS (as an information professional) as well as the choice to use such and ILS in a library in general.