Friday, July 15, 2011

Thread 6: Librarians

Where to start? The entire idea of librarianship has been turned on its head by now, which is exactly why when SU said, "we want you," my immediate response was, "okay!" Like I said before, if I believed librarianship was all about collecting books and being aloof key-bearers to the hallowed halls of the knowledge temple, I would never have considered the profession at all. I don't enjoy rigid hierarchy, and if holding an MLS or now MLIS is all about dictating who gets to answer what questions, count me out. Such use of an education is worthless.

On the other hand, if an MLIS is all we can ever have unless we want to enter the academy, that's a deal-breaker, too. I know myself (it's the one thing you're supposed to be able to do after attending a liberal arts school), and I won't be satisfied stopping halfway up the educational ladder. I will want more training after some time spent in the field, and I'll want it to be well-coordinated, but I don't know that I'll then want to jump into the education field. It's too soon to say for sure. So yes, I agree entirely that the current system of LIS education needs some serious revamping.

At the same time, I have a hard time picturing students majoring in LIS as undergraduates, perhaps due to my liberal arts background. I'm trying to fit it into what I know, which is an environment in which students are encouraged to explore a little bit of everything in the four years they have. Majors or concentrations, while required, are very much an afterthought. Then again, maybe it is workable, and maybe this is one of those areas where the idea of Master's Degree-holding librarians as faculty at undergraduate institutions makes sense. (It's not an immediately familiar convention to me, and quite frankly, it seems a little silly.) I'll have to think on it some more.

Lankes, R. David. (2011). The Atlas of New Librarianship (pp. 137-185). Cambridge: MIT Press.

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