This is the sixth in a series of interviews with the 2022 MLStEP board. We will be sharing new interviews with our officers and liaisons in the weeks leading up to the Music Library Association Conference in early March.
Emily Marie Colucci (she/her) is starting her second term as the MLStEP New England Liaison.
Tell us a little about yourself! I pursued my Bachelor of Science degree in Music with a concentration in Classical Guitar Performance at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, New York, in Spring 2015. Two years later, I received my M.L.I.S. from the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, in Spring 2017. Not long after receiving my M.L.I.S., I moved to Lewiston, Maine, where I work as a Library Assistant in Access Services in the Circulation and Audio/Video Departments at the George and Helen Ladd Library at Bates College. I have been working here for 4 years, and continue to enjoy the experience I gain on the job, as well as working with my fellow coworkers and many student workers I supervise and train on a daily basis, as we all work together to provide the best customer service possible to the students, staff, faculty, alumni, and local community of Bates College.
What are your areas of interest in music librarianship? My primary area of professional interest lies in performing original and copycat (music) cataloging of audiovisual materials specifically—this include cassettes, LPs, CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays. My second biggest area of interest is enhancing my knowledge of digitization practices and workflows for audiovisual materials, as well as learning about sustainable and accessible practices for preserving these audiovisual materials once their original formats have transitioned.
I enjoy learning about copyright, fair use, and intellectual freedom policies and practices as they relate specifically to audiovisual materials. I am also very interested in the inner workings of collection development for various print and digital audiovisual music resources. My last two areas of professional interests lie in providing exceptional customer service to the students, staff and faculty, and alumni within an academic library setting, and linking audiovisual (DVDs and Blu-rays) and electronic (eBooks and streaming media) materials to course reserves from the respective ILS to the library’s catalog, in order for students and faculty to have access to their course materials at no cost.
I am very passionate about working on a multitude of projects that all foster my wide variety of interests, as they all tailor to audiovisual and print and digital music resources. Additionally, I have a fascination with seeking out as many professional development opportunities as I can, from a plethora of resources, in order to continuously nurture my professional areas of interests.
Why did you choose librarianship as a career path? I had just graduated with my B.S in Music from Molloy College in Spring 2015, and came home to my family, in Rhode Island. At this time, I wanted to teach classical guitar to children using the Suzuki Method, which I had studied myself as a student for several years; I was also professionally trained to teach the beginning books of the method for guitar. However, I knew that I was not going to be able to make a sustaining living solely on teaching.
As embarrassing as this sounds, I honestly Googled, “What do I do with a music degree?” One of the top search results was the “Music Librarian” page from the Music Library Association. I started reading through it, and I got to thinking… obviously I love music—not just playing (guitar) and listening to it. I love researching everything I can possibly know about various composers and their respective works, and being able to share my love and knowledge with others. My maternal grandparents owned a bookstore for thirty years, which my mother grew up in, which is the foundation for continuously developing my mom’s love for books and reading. At this point, I just knew that I was going to pursue a career in (music) librarianship. Today, I have narrowed that direction down to wanting to pursue a career in music cataloging, which I am working towards. I have certainly encountered some challenges, but today, I am very happy with my decision and the opportunities I encounter in music cataloging.
What was your favorite part of library school? What I enjoyed the most about being in library school were the two internships I had the opportunity to pursue during my last year of school. Both internships took place in music library settings at universities. The first was at the Music Resource Center in the Fine Arts Department at my graduate school, the University of Rhode Island, where I was mentored by the Coordinator of the Music Resource Center and Music Facilities, Professor Gerard Heroux. My second internship was at the Orwig Music Library at Brown University, where I was graciously mentored by Dr. Laura K.T. Stokes. Both of these internships were the foundation for developing my primary love of music cataloging and digitization (and preservation) of audiovisual materials.
What has been your best experience as a member of MLA and/or MLStEP? I have been a member of MLA since I began attending graduate school in 2015, but I was not able to attend any of the national association’s meetings until the pandemic hit and the meetings went to a virtual format. (I am also a member of the New England chapter of MLA and have attended a few chapter meetings in person, in recent years). Last year, was my first time attending MLA (virtually), and I enjoyed it very much.
My experience overall was very positive and inspiring, but the opportunity to attend the First Time Attendees event especially was most welcoming and eye-opening. I enjoyed meeting a lot of great people with established careers in various areas of music librarianship, including those I did not know very well, but could get to know a bit better. It was also wonderful to be able to link a name to a face, that I had only seen published in the “Notes” MLA publication, or online via the website or listserv. I also had the pleasure of engaging in the mentee and mentor experience, which as a mentee was very helpful in increasingly becoming introduced to the MLA (bigger) community, and the different directions a recent Master’s graduate can choose to pursue in the field of music librarianship.
Furthermore, last year’s MLA annual conference meeting was also my first (real) introduction to MLStEP! I had already been a member of the interest group for some time, but attending my first MLA conference—and therefore my first MLStEP interest group meeting—was what encouraged me to really become involved, which is what led me to becoming the New England Liaison for MLStEP. In my role as the New England Liaison, what I have enjoyed the most thus far has been being involved in the planning of the summer social event hosted last June, as well as the phasing stages of the membership drive. I am looking forward to continuing my contributions in my second and last term as MLStEP’s New England Liaison.
What advice would you give to a beginning library student? There are so many things that a beginning library student can benefit from! Here are just a few:
1. Volunteer at your local library, even before the time comes to do an internship (for credit). There are many foundational, practical skills you will learn while volunteering—such as learning how to operate the circulation functions of an integrated library system (ILS)—that you will not learn in library school. If you have the opportunity to volunteer, you will even have some hands-on skills under your belt, going into an internship experience, which will be very beneficial.
2. Join and become an active member of your graduate school’s student library association. This will give you a little taste of what it is like being involved in a relevant organization and enhance your individual and team-building efforts as you work on and promote projects and events happening in the department.
3. Attend conferences, even if you are only able to attend your local chapter meetings to start. As a student, costs for attending chapter meetings and conferences are significantly discounted. Once you are in graduate school, attending conferences and chapter meetings is all about networking with others who might have the same professional curiosities and interests as you, and you will be exposed to what work is being done, relevant to the librarianship field, in a bigger picture. Especially during Covid, it is generally more reasonable, logistically and financially, to attend a conference or chapter meeting in its virtual or hybrid format. This is honestly crucial for a student.
Do you have anything else to add? During my bachelor’s degree, I had the pleasure of participating in the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) New York City Regional Symposium event in October 2014 with the Molloy College Guitar Quartet. In addition to performing alongside a number of college/university classical guitar ensembles from the U.S. and Canada, I was also fortunate to participate in the Symposium Guitar Orchestra, which was led by Carlos Rafael Rivera. Today, he is best known for scoring the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit”! I am very grateful for the experience of playing classical guitar in a larger ensemble under the leadership of Mr. Rivera.
Use the buttons below to connect with Emily. Stay tuned for the next interview!