In a comment, maimonides asks:
Can you start a topic about breaking into the profession? I’m a school teacher on his way to seminary who is seriously considering theological librarianship. I have hopes of working at the best theological library in the country while in seminary (I guess you know where that is) and get my mls next door at a state school in the northeast. I have questions about the job market. Is a Ph.D a must or is an m.div and a thm enough? What do you see ahead as far as the job market is concerned? Is the theological librarianship class at Urbana a good idea? Foreign language knowledge is it particularly advantageous in the field let’s say more than other academic libraries? Forgive my ignorance but I came across this blog and I almost fainted. The possibility of information is exciting. Thanks!
I’m not going to try to provide a long answer, but hope some of my colleagues will be willing to respond….
Greetings from Mpls-St Paul, where itâ€™s marrow-cracking cold today.
Am glad this topic came up, and will throw out a few random thoughts before exiting office for the day.
a. when the earliest discussions re: ATLA sponsoring an intro/overview course came (late 90s) it was noted that there is no single approved mode-of-entry into theol librarianship. People have found their own various ways in.
b. given the (to me) surprising degree of interest in the course that eventually grew from these earlier discussions (the course now offered by UIUC LEEP program), it would not surprise me if enrollment in this course came to be seen as â€œexpectedâ€.
c. having been in the job market myself a few years ago, I saw no instances where a PhD was an issue one way or another. But from the interviewersâ€™ standpoint, PhD/no PhD may be one (admittedly unfair or imprudent) way of shortening the applicant pile. The best i could say is that the arguments run both ways.
Again, thanks for raising a good question.