Club-Admiralty

v6.2.3 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Is it time for an LIS CAGS?

In the last year or so I’ve been following library blogs to see what other libraries are doing, both public and academic, and how they are evolving as a service point to their constituents. I’ve also looked at librarian jobs in the past, but most jobs with “librarian” in their title require a Master of Library (and Information) Science degree that it accredited by the ALA (American Library Association). Now, looking into tuition, and what the education per dollar is (in my case, and my case only), an MLIS is not worth the monetary investment. To rub it in, most Librarian Professionals that I have spoken to in the past few years all agree that the MLIS is just a union card to get you into a position of being a librarian.

The other day I read this blog post by tame the web on how Library jobs are changing. There was a similar posts entitled “Jobs I would like to see” on the Library 2.0: An Academic's Perspective blog (which I also follow). The emerging jobs in the library field are actually quite interesting and progressive, but require skill sets that typical Library Schools are not teaching. From personal observation it seems that there is a convergence of a number of different disciplines to create these new library jobs. Tame the web poses and interesting question:

“What interests me most these days is looking at the requirements and skills for these jobs and wondering if our program and LIS education in general is fitting the bill for these libraries to have a pool of possible candidates.”

My answer, both from searching for a library school to attend, and from reading the blogs of existing librarians is a resounding “no”. Library schools are not adequately preparing their graduates (who may ONLY have one Master’s degree, that being the MLIS) for what is out there.

Given that libraries are in a state of flux, the knowledge and skill set required is slightly different from let’s say a decade or two ago, I think it is high time for a Library and Information Science Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study for people who already have a Master’s (or two), or a PhD. This CAGS would be highly tailored to the individual’s needs. There would be some core courses such as Information Organization, but there would be latitude for exploration and specialization. This CAGS would not only prepare the student for the world of libraries, but it would also synergize* with the students existing knowledge and experiences, and ultimately vet the individual with the credentials necessary to be a librarian.

I am not saying that the MLIS is a thing of the past. The MLIS needs to evolve, as other academic programs have, but there also needs to be recognition that you do not necessarily need an MLIS to be a librarian if you have some sort of equivalent mix of degrees, knowledge and experience. In our current system this mix is thrown by the curbside and dismissed unless you have that MLIS.

Libraries can evolve and better serve their patrons and communities if we get more people in who know and appreciate the past, but also have fresh new ideas, skill sets, and perspectives. ALA accredited MLIS is not always required for this…but maybe a CAGS can help students (who have never worked in a library) appreciate the library’s rich heritage, and help put existing staff member’s minds at ease about the people who they are hiring.


* note: I dislike using the word synergy…
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