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M.S. in Library and Information Science

With Specialization in Rare Books and Special Collections


The Palmer School offers a concentration in Rare Books and Special Collections as part of the American Library Association-accredited MSLIS in Library and Information Science program. The program is designed for students intending to pursue careers in research institutions and the book trade and for those collectors and scholars interested in this material. Students develop proficiency in rare book curatorship, archival techniques, the history of the book, rare book cataloging, preservation, and exhibition planning. They become acquainted with major collections through field trips and internships, and will have opportunities to meet experts in this area. The program will make extensive use of the rich Rare Books and Special Collections libraries in the greater New York area. Specialized courses in book history are offered and courses relevant to this concentration may also be selected from the Palmer School’s certificate of advanced study in Archives and Records Management. All courses will be available in Manhattan at NYU’s Bobst Library, although students may take core courses and some electives at other Palmer School locations.

Students pursuing this concentration receive a certificate of recognition when they complete their courses. To qualify for the certificate of recognition, students must take four courses in this area:

LIS 713 Rare Book and Special Collections Librarianship
LIS 658 History of the book or one of several other historically oriented classes that meet this
history of the book requirements

And two of the following courses:

LIS 519 Great Collections of New York City
LIS 616 Contemporary Artists’ Books
LIS 657 Introduction to Preservation
LIS 652 Exhibitions and Catalogs in the Library
LIS 709 Rare Book Cataloging and Descriptive Bibliography
LIS 714 Archives and Manuscripts
LIS 763 Metadata for Digital Libraries
LIS 901 Collecting and Managing Ephemera
LIS 901 Institute on Maps Collections

Courses in web design and digital libraries are strongly recommended although they do not count towards the concentration.

Students may take up to two (2) courses in the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School (LIS 710) as part of this concentration. This option must be approved by the Palmer School before the student enrolls in the RBS program.

For more information, contact the Director of the Rare Book and Special Collections program at (212) 998-2681.