Rare Book & Special Collections

M.S. in Library & Information Science (Rare Book & Special Collections)

Rare Books and Special Collections are houses all over the world. Palmer Schools coursework is designed for students intending to pursue careers in research libraries, cultural institutions and the book trade. Students develop proficiency in rare book librarianship, the history of the book, rare book cataloging and descriptive bibliography, preservation, archival techniques, and exhibition planning. They become acquainted with major collections through field trips, meetings with local experts, and internships. The program makes extensive use of the rich rare book and special collections libraries in the greater New York City area. Students will have the opportunity to explore special collections of film, posters, photographs, maps, art, printed ephemera and other historical artifacts. Specialized courses in book history are also available through the Palmer School’s unique partnership with Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.

Typically, the Rare Books and Special Collection courses focus on a one becoming acquainted with major collections and curatorship techniques, Students can benefit from considering the guidelines suggested below.


LIS 658 – History of the Book (or one of several other historically oriented classes that meets the history of the book requirement)                                           

LIS 713 – Rare Book and Special Collections Librarianship

RECOMMENDED: (select any two electives from the list below)

LIS 519 – Great Collections of New York City (counts as history of the book)
LIS 529 – Map Collections (counts as history of the book)
LIS 652– Exhibitions and Catalogs: Library Meets Museum (counts as history of the book)
LIS 657 – Introduction to Preservation
LIS 705 – Principles and Practices in Archival Description: DACS/EAD
LIS 709– Rare Book Cataloguing and Descriptive Bibliography (counts as history of the book)
LI 710– Rare Book School (RBS) University of Virginia (counts as history of the book)1
LIS 714 – Archives & Manuscripts
LIS 717 Reference and Instruction in Special Collections 
LIS 901– Collecting and Managing Ephemera (counts as history of the book)

Courses in web design and digital libraries are strongly recommended. 

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

** All courses are offered on a rotating schedule in various formats and locations. 

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


College of Education, Information, and Technology
Dr. Albert Inserra, Dean