Being a Copyright Professional in Museum and Library Land
A big lesson I’ve learned in my career as a copyright specialist is that copyright is an inevitable and essential factor for collecting institutions, but is often overlooked. I attended the Pratt Institute in New York for an MLIS with the intention of working as a librarian in a museum or public library, but as I neared graduation I found the job market and my focus wavering. An internship at Exit Art Gallery digitizing their archives showed me the growing importance of digitization for preservation and access. This internship led me to a job at The Whitney Museum in their Rights and Reproductions department: licensing images and contacting rights holders for permission to use their work. I was finding a unique pathway to archives and collections through copyright research, and the desire of cultural institutions to make these collections more accessible was one I believed in. These skills coalesced when I started at The New York Public Library as a Rights Coordinator, and later as a Manager leading a team to facilitate digitization. The library offered vast collections with copyright webs to untangle, and gave me the chance to utilize my degree as a library specialist in copyright.