Another librarian wannabe rears their head.
I've recently read Four Against the Arctic: Shipwrecked for Six Years at the Top of the World
by David Roberts, which covered not just the story of four sailors surviving in the Arctic on their own for six years in the 18th century, but also described in great detail the process the author went through to uncover more details of the sailors' story. I found the process fascinating. It involved hunting down what few primary sources could be found as well as getting opinions from experts with relevant experience, such as those familiar with Arctic over-wintering in the region and a historical reenactor who built and navigated the kinds of boats that would have been used by 18th century Russian sailors. Ultimately the author mounted his own expedition to an island that was his best guess to be where the sailors spent their six years in the Arctic.
I've always had an interest in both archaology and history. My bachelors is in history and I very nearly double majored in that and anthropology. Reading about a research project that straddled the two disciplines piqued my interest and got me considering the possibility of becoming a research librarian. I think I'd thoroughly enjoy helping researchers find relevant material from a collection of old primary texts. From what I've read on the subject, I'd be able to do not only that, but also pursue research of my own simultaneously.
The tricky part is figuring out what sort of training I'd need to qualify for such a position. It seems that this kind of career is a great opportunity for recent PhDs, who can then either find a program designed bring them up to speed on librarianship (without requiring them to complete a full MLS or MLIS degree) or they can learn on the job.
As alluring as all this sounds to me, committing to the six or seven years for a history or archaeology PhD as well as possibly a different masters program on top of that seems awfully daunting. Does anyone have any direct experience with this subset of library work? And if so, are there other ways to approach this besides the PhD route?
Currently, I'm a systems administrator. I know that I'd need to commit to furthering my education and training significantly. I'm just hoping that I could find a way to make the transition without having to go through a PhD and a separate masters program before I could start work.
I have read up on the current AskMe offerings
on this topic as well as delved into web offerings from same as well as other avenues.