About MBK Consulting

Company History | Research Interests | Education | Curriculum Vitae


Current Research Activities and Interests
Researching in public record centers, archives, and libraries continues to fill our days, when not engaged in Disaster Response and Preservation consultations.  Two  recent projects were a study of canals in Ohio, their creation, and laws about their use, and a nomination for the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination is for a Queen Anne house and farm in central Ohio.

Past projects include a study of the history of geographical areas from the founding of the State of Ohio to the present, and documenting early history and exploration of the Northwest Territory and the Midwest United States.  These projects involve work in historical and archival repositories, public records centers, and historical preservation resources and collections.

As always, I am writing articles and reviews, reports and memos, and blogs. If you want to follow the blogs for my courses, go to my Blog page for the links.

My current writing project is a series of vignettes on the history of printing in Ohio. The project focuses on printing companies and how they evolved. The challenge, write about a person or organization in 350 words or less. I hope some of the vignettes will expand into longer articles.

Book and exhibition reviews provide opportunities to learn about a new topic. Look for my reviews in SHARPNews, Ohioana Quarterly, and other publications. I write audiobook reviews on a regular basis for AudioFile Magazine, a great publication that looks at audiobook performance.

My dissertation Werner and His Empire: The Rise and Fall of a Gilded Age Printer is finished and deposited with UMI / ProQuest (Dec 2011). This work reconstructed the history of an Akron printing company in the Gilded Age. Numerous primary sources and newspapers were mined to study this undocumented company and examine how the printing industry changed between 1870 and 1914.

A series of short articles about locating and using primary sources for historical research is in the works, spawned directly from the dissertation. Other potential projects include studies in print culture and documentary editing.  I plan to blog about primary sources, indices, and research methods.

August 2012 was my half-year quasi-sabbatical. Why quasi? I taught an online course on Rare Book and Special Collection Librarianship while visiting cultural institutions and historical sites in an effort to re-energize my love of the written word and the world around me. I wrote about this adventure in my newest blog  http://mbkcons.blogspot.com/

A revised edition of “Disaster Response and Planning for Libraries” was  published by ALA.  Librarians and archivists need to think more broadly about disasters, natural and man-made, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and 9/11, and the collapse of the archives in Cologne. The new edition, (the third), came out in March 2012 and published through ALA.

“The Library Security and Safety Guide to Prevention, Planning, and Response” looks at security and safety issues for cultural institutions’ collections and users.  It was published by ALA in spring 2008.

“Protecting Your Library’s Electronic Resources”, a book about protecting electronic data was published by ALA in February 2004.

Planning for disasters never stops. We must be ever vigilant and prepared. Some new areas of the field are policies and procedures, working with emergency management agencies and public safety offices. New books in the field explore these topics. I’ve become interested in how cultural institutions and municipalities dealt with disasters in the past (a field described as Disaster History). Look for some blog posts that will provide some historical perspective.

We are continuing our work to enhance and improve Genealogy and Local History Reference Service provided by libraries and archives by providing targeted research methods workshops.  While expanding these workshops, Miriam works actively retrieving information and history from libraries, historical societies, genealogy organizations and court houses. This is our most popular workshop.



Company History
MBK CONSULTING was founded by Miriam Kahn, MLS, MA, PhD in 1991.  The company specializes in providing consulting and educational services to libraries, archives, historical societies, museums and other cultural institutions.  In addition, MBK CONSULTING provides reference services on a consulting basis to businesses, law firms and individuals.  We do have partnerships with other librarians who assist when needed.

MBK CONSULTING teaches workshops and webinars that focus on fundamental reference skills for librarians.  Two of these workshops are Readers’ Advisory – Evaluating and Recommending Books, and Locating Government Documents. Our most popular workshops are Disaster Response Planning, Book Repair for Circulating Collections, and Genealogy and Local History for Librarians.

We regularly teach workshops for librarians at the Kent State University School of Library and Information Science as well as at OHIONET, the state’s library consortium, and many other library and genealogy groups.

In 1992, Miriam began teaching workshops in Library & Information Science at Kent State University (http://www.slis.kent.edu). These workshops continue to be popular today and include Genealogy & Local History Research Methods, Accessing Government Documents, Print & On-Line, Preservation of Library Materials: Selecting Appropriate Treatment or Replacement Options, and  Repair decisions & methods. Our newest workshop for Kent State University SLIS will be Disaster Response, premiering Spring 2015.

In the summer of 2002, Miriam taught Preservation Management for the School of Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh.

Since the summer of 2006, Miriam has been teaching courses at the Graduate School of Library & Information Science at Kent State University (http://www.slis.kent.edu ). She offers four different courses, Foundations of Library and Information ScienceIntroduction to Rare Book Librarianship, Genealogy & Local History Research Methods, The History of Libraries in the Western World, and Preservation Management (2006 – 2012), and numerous workshops and seminars in librarianship, archives and history.

In the fall of 2010, Miriam taught a survey course in World Civilizations to 1650 to undergraduates for the History Department at Kent State University, a fun and rewarding experience.



Educational Background

  • BA -History from  University of Wisconsin at Madison
  • MLS – Specializing in Research and Reference – Queens College – CUNY
  • MA – History from Hunter College – CUNY
  • Ph.D. –  History at Kent State University  Dissertation “Werner and His Empire: The Rise & Fall of a Gilded Age Printer” focusing on print history and culture in NE Ohio in the Gilded Age and early Progressive Era.

Work Experiences

  • Kent State University – 1992-present: Adjunct Professor – Graduate School of Library and Information Science – teach numerous classes and two-day workshops
  • MBK Consulting – 1991-present: Library Consultant – research, preservation, disaster response and more for cultural institutions.
  • State Library of Ohio – Preservation Consultant – developed a statewide program for preservation, disaster response and education for the academic, special and public libraries of Ohio.
  • University of South Dakota – Coordinator of Online Bibliographic Services – taught on-line searching and bibliographic instruction to students and faculty at the University.
  • New York Public Library – Humanities and Social Sciences Department at Mid-Manhattan Library – Reference Librarian; also Reference Librarian at Circulating Branch system.

For a complete CV click here


References:  contact MBK directly for a list of people and organizations who regularly contract with  MBK CONSULTING


Hobbies & Personal Activities

Miriam has been teaching book repair for over 20 years and has branched out to work with fibers as well as paper.  Her newest endeavors involve preservation & conservation of fiber art as well as the creation of such pieces.  Miriam is involved with the CML Appliqué Group and the Stan Hywet Needlework Guild, and enjoying a break from reading and writing.

Of course, Miriam reads voraciously both physically and aurally.  She has been reviewing audio books in many formats for over 20 years for AudioFile Magazine www.audiofilemagazine.com

To keep her hand in genealogy, public records, reference and research, Miriam is volunteering with FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org) to index vital and public records. It is fascinating to learn what information documents contain that is not indexed. This project  demonstrates how important it is to look at records themselves and not just the abstracts. Indexes just give researchers access to records, they don’t tell the whole story.  Look for articles and comments about indexing and researching primary sources in our new blog.