Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Quack! Quack!

I was reading an article on Science Direct on Librarianship Education. I am surprised that there is such a fuss over a name - however in a profession that only accepts individuals who received their degree from an ALA-accredited institution, it makes sense.

Personally I think that librarianship, for the purposes of working in a public or academic library, is something that you don't need a Masters degree in Library (or information!) Science. You probably need a degree of some other sort to make you a Subject Matter Expert in something, but things like reference and cataloguing don't require an MLIS. A recent exchange with an MLIS colleague shows this. The comment was that this individual did not want to catalogue because it was mindless - they should hire a paraprofessional for that.

If you look at Masters level LIS work in Greece for instance you will see more theoretical work done. Work on international standards, work on theory, work on integrating non-LIS professions and work into LIS to improve the profession and access to information going forward - as far as I know this is done at the PhD level in North America.

I don't think that we can fault iSchools of Library Schools or Schools of Information Science or whatever you want to call them for the curriculum they offer. I personally would fault employers for blindly following the "ALA-accredited degree only" party line and don't actively think about what their employees should know. If there were more jobs with an "or equivalent" condition, or let me be radical and propose that all librarian jobs should should have an "or equivalent" condition, let's see who gets hired, and who does not. If Library schools see a drop in their enrollment, they will (or at least should) change their course and adapt to what the market needs.

If people with a BA/BS get the job - perhaps the BA in LIS will come back. If people with a different skillset get hired, perhaps they will think long and hard about what their curriculum should look like. - just a thought
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