Friday, March 7, 2008


Okay, I have lots to say today after a silence of several days, though it's nearly time to close my laptop for the week and join some other faculty members at the local brewery.

I just received a comment from a person whom I don't know well at all, but whose opinion I respect. I'm not sure if I agree with what she says about second-rate schools, I know there is definitely a difference between first rate and second rate schools. I hope as she says that the issue of why an MLS will become a discussion. I am sure it is on blogs somewhere, but I have not been following blogs long enough to find them yet. I believe the American Library Association should have a good answer to this question, but I cannot find one on their Web site. I don't believe ALA is advocating for librarians, and have seen this complaint on other blogs (you'll have to wait until next week for any links). It is important to have a good answer to that question and be able to explain it eloquently (which my examples definitely were not) since it is non-librarians who make the overall budget decisions. Marathon County Public Libraries are a prime example of the dangers of NOT having a good explanation.

1 comment:

Toni said...

Are you excited about the HR students' assignment? The professor's approach sounds really interesting. I hope you'll write about your reaction to the finished assignment here on the blog.

You make an excellent point about the Marathon County librarians. About a year or two ago, I heard that all position descriptions at an academic library in my state were rewritten, and they "invited" their own librarians to apply. At first I thought it was just a rumor, but maybe it wasn't after all. What a situation.

I look forward to discussing "why an MLS" with you and sharing other discussions we find. It used to be a hot topic among my classmates in graduate school, but I my colleagues refer to their degrees as a union card and consider their 15+ year careers as the more important and valuable experience.

In my opinion, there are two reasons why an MLS is important. First, completing a graduate program shows prospective employers your dedication and seriousness. Our field has created a standard for librarian-level positions by requiring a master's degree. I compare it more to an MFA than an MD: it helps you get in the door and progress in the field, but you don't need it to be competent, successful, and responsibly serve your patrons.

Secondly, a graduate program starts out new professionals on the same level. Graduate programs cover foundations and theory, technical and user services. They immerse students in the current issues in librarianship. For some students, it's their first library community.

Would you explain more about what you and your mentor mean by second-rate programs? Unaccredited? I've never heard people referring to programs as first- or second-rate before, so I'm not sure where the line lies.