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Visiting Librarians: Johannes Mikuteit

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JOHANNES MIKUTEIT

Kiel University Library, Kiel, Germany

Library Intern, Spring 2007


Johannes Mikuteit, a subject librarian at Kiel University Library, spent a two-week internship at Sterling Memorial Library in April 2007.

Johannes has a master’s degree from the University of Freiburg and a Ph.D. from the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), both in Modern History. From 2001 to 2003 he did a Referendariat, which is a librarian professional training organized and paid for by the state. In his first year he received a practical training in all areas of librarianship and in various types of library, from public to research institutions. After a year of theoretical instruction at the Library School in Frankfurt am Main, he graduated with the German equivalent of an MLS in 2003. In Germany, the Referendariat remains the typical path to a selector or managerial job in a library.

At Kiel University Library, where he started working as a subject librarian in 2004, Johannes is responsible for collecting materials in law and cultural history, as well as for providing reference services and library instruction. An active participant in programs and initiatives pertaining to library instruction, Johannes is a member of a Library working group and serves on a regional committee devoted to this professional area. In addition, he is a member of the editorial staff of Informationskompetenz, a German portal for library instruction, as well as an active member of the regional organization of Verein Deutscher Bibliothekare (VDB), the professional organization for academic librarians in Germany.

Johannes chose Yale because of the Library’s impressive holdings, rich collections, and specialized and diverse staff. His internship was spent assisting the Research Services and Collections staff in evaluating holdings related to the First World War and Baltic history, and assessing the Library’s newspaper holdings in print and electronic format.

While recognizing many similarities between German and American libraries, Johannes also found significant differences. These are often due to the fact that German libraries are publicly-funded and operate within national and regional networks. The Kiel University library, for example, specializes on Scandinavian materials which are collected as part of a nationwide plan funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgmeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). And Johannes and his library colleagues are civil servants, or public sector employees. Comparing the two systems, he sees the strong sense of cooperation fostered by national and regional networks as a strength of the German academic library system, but at the same time he appreciates the independence of a library like Yale University Library and the informality of American librarians.