Open Thread Thursday: Library School

I’m going to try something new and make an open thread. While it is generally an unguided discussion, I’d like to toss out a topic for people to gnaw on for this experiment. Just like the title suggests, I wanted to go with an easy one: library school.

So, what’s good about it? What’s bad about it? What topics do you wish they covered more? How do they handle the modern library issues?

Or you can just rant. Hey, it works for me.

For myself, it’s hard to have an opinion on library school after going to law school for a year. It bothers some people when I say it is easy, but after you’ve been reading five or six 1,500 page books at the same time, memorizing legal concepts and cases, and writing and researching legal briefs to exacting standards under a Paper Chase pressure cooker (and working full time as well), your perspective on what is academically hard is forever altered. I wouldn’t say it was a cakewalk, but it would be like a marathon runner that starts doing 5k races. In library school, I never had to study till I couldn’t feel my face. The only time such facial numbness occurred was after a bunch of beers at the local bar after class one night. That is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point.

And on that note, have at it.

(For the moment, I’ve taken off the comment setting that requires prior approval before people can comment without moderation in the hopes of encouraging discussion. Yes, I do allow anonymous comments. Don’t make me regret it later.-A)

91 thoughts on “Open Thread Thursday: Library School

  1. I’ve enjoyed library school but I feel wholly unprepared for an actual librarian position. The classes were really general. For instance, I’m in cataloging this semester and the professor said we would not leave the class as catalogers. Instead, we’d have a general idea of what cataloging is.

    • That sounds about right to me. I certainly didn’t leave the class as a cataloger, but I had an idea what went into it. Plus, cataloging can be a “local” thing that is tailored to the type, size, and location of the library. At least, that’s how I understand it.

  2. In my last semester, I can absolutely that library school is not inherently rigorous. It’s more like an independent study situation. You get what you put into it, and then the rest (job experience, networking) is up to you. And there’s certainly the opportunity to learn what’s necessary to make one’s self marketable, which is not the point of classes–they’re there to provide the foundation. I think the problems people have are more a conflict of expectations than any specific failing.

    • I mostly agree. I got a lot out of library school, but I felt like I had to fight every step of the way to get it. I was often bored and frustrated with my department, mainly because of the lack of useful/practical electives. (Also because I moved to a city I hated with terrible weather only to find out that more than half my classes were online).

      But, I will add that I now have a job I love and my school did a decent job preparing me for it. I feel much more charitable toward my school now that I’m no longer trapped there, and overall I think it was a good decision to go, even if it was a miserable two years.

  3. I think library school can serve its standardizing purpose really well, but it has the same problem that most terminal college degree programs have – it can’t truly prepare you for the more practical side of being in a service and management-oriented job, at least not yet. At the moment, you would need experienced professors that can balance the theory with their own occupational knowledge in order to get an idea of what being a librarian is really about; I was lucky enough to have those teachers, but not everyone will.

    To change the level of practicality in the LIS degree, one could look at medical school as a model. You could have every ALA-accredited institution be attached to many “teaching” libraries, with students doing much more than your basic intern work at a library alongside taking courses. However, this would assume that the ALA would want all library schools to be immersive, full-time student institutions. The basic assumption that you should have previous library work would be out the window, and the cost of a library degree, expensive as it is, might skyrocket, as the amount of time needed to complete the degree may increase. I don’t have stats to back this up at the moment, because I’m being lazy, but I’m assuming it isn’t as easy paying off a med school-sized loan with a library career as it is a professional medical career.

    Ah, the plight of the practice-oriented terminal college degree…

  4. I think that in my experience, and anecdotal evidence I’ve heard of other courses, Library School focuses a lot on types of library work (Project Management, Cataloguing, Research, Web stuff etc) but not so much on the world of work in libraries (ie what it is like to be a librarian finishing library school and going out into the world).

    I understand that Masters degrees are supposed to be academic in nature, but this is a vocational course. I think amodule on marketing yourself as information professional would be good, and greater emphasis on the employment market and how to survive in it / what it’ll really be like.

    The ultimate aim of a vocational degree such as this should surely be to equip you to go out and enter the world of work – not sure it’s really doing that at the moment.

    • This semester SJSU offered a course titled “Marketing your MLIS Skills in a Networked and Changing World.” The course filled quickly. Problem: 1 unit and that sends you into the next tuition bracket. Was that one course worth $1100? I decided “no” – despite being recently laid-off.

    • I can feel the M Word ladies perking up their ears on this one.

      I think there should be a core course on marketing and advocating for the library. I believe it’s a staple skill that librarians should have these days. Because if people don’t know what the library has to offer, then they either won’t come or won’t see the reason to support it for others to use.

  5. Library school for me was interesting. The classes themselves weren’t too bad. It was more of a generalization of everything, but informative to a point (which one would hope). Two things bother me about it looking back:

    1) my school did not require a work study or internship as one of the requirements to obtain your degree. I ended up doing work study while I was finishing up my other degree (dual degree program and one half was done) and I learned far more with the 3 1/2 months of work study in a library than the previous couple years at school.

    2) It was easy. Correction: it was easier. Now I’m sure this varies by school, but the majority of the classes I took in the MLS program were not that intensive. I was obtaining my Master’s in History at the same time and that blew the other out of the water in terms of reading and work. This is not to say that library school should be difficult just for the sake of being difficult, but I wouldn’t say that it pushes us to the degree that it should.

    • I agree with you on both counts. Our LIS program has been discussing trying to make everyone do a practicum who is NOT currently employed in a library, but the students start screaming bloody murder whenever that is mentioned. However, I have not seen a single job ad that says, “No experience at all is okay as long as you have your MLIS.”

      Secondly, most of the course work was FAR too easy. I’m fairly sure that in at least one class, the professor passed students who had not turned in any work all semester. >_>

      • I don’t think MLIS programs should require internships because not all of us want academic credit for them. Though I’m only in my second semester, I know that I won’t be able to take all the electives I’d like to — and I don’t want to “waste” credit hours on an internship that I would be doing anyway. I intern and volunteer for the experience, not the academic credit. Academic credit for internships should remain optional.

        If there are library school students out there who aren’t interning or gaining some experience in a library, that’s their problem. If the students don’t have the initiative and motivation to acquire the experience necessary, I don’t think it’s a responsibility of graduate programs to force them to. As far as I know, no one is saying that a library school degree is an automatic ticket to a job.

        • Why spend time on electives when you can get necessary work experience? You can always find time to learn about what you missed in school. It’s called “professional development.”

        • A practicum is different from an internship in our program. An internship is unstructured and you can do like what I did in the archives last summer: I scanned negatives every week. What did I learn? How to use Access and hear some archival gossip. My internship was on my own time and not for academic credit. However, if you want the 1 hr credit, you write like a 5 page paper on what you learned.

          However, the practicum class I’m in is highly structured. The students have to submit a plan of what their goals are for the practicum and what objectives they must do in order to succeed in their goals. Students also blog about their work using the DEAL model where we analyze what we are doing, what we learned, and how that relates to our other experiences/education. We are required to comment on each other’s blogs and share tips on working in a professional environment with each other. My teacher also hosts online sessions where she discusses how to write cover letters, resumes, how to read job ads, etc.

          In some ways its more like an unpaid resident fellowship as opposed to “going in and doing unpaid grunt work.” The focus is on our education and what we can get out of it, not simply getting another notch on the CV.

      • They can scream all they want. At least the school takes an active interest in their future employment since internship and other professional experience work in their favor. Those people can find another problem that meets their expectations as to what library school should be like. That’s just straight up lazy in my opinion.

    • Ry, my school did not require an internship or work study for graduation either, save for certain certificates (Archives, Museum Libraries, etc.) Nor did we require any sort of thesis or capstone project for the MLS – the one reason I heard from other students was “when librarians get paid better, then I make the students do the work.” Funny, many other schools (including my boyfriend’s) require that and I don’t see any pay increases coming for our profession anytime soon….

      • kate, I forgot to mention that my program didn’t require a capstone project, and you were given the choice of doing a thesis or comprehensive exam. Needless to say, most everyone chooses the comprehensive exam.

        • Our school’s capstone project is akin to a conference poster, created to summarize a paper/project done for a class. It’s a useful way to help students feel more comfortable presenting their work, but I also have been wondering about how useful that project is for students. I will say that our program is definitely geared more for the practitioner than the researcher, which is great–we need well-trained practitioners in the field! I also feel that it has the potential to keep students from being more well-rounded: I’ve always felt like a key to making our field even more awesome is to have practitioners who are also researchers, so that they can add their perspectives to the body of work being produced. However, a lot of programs aren’t set up that way: in our program, several students have tried to do theses and have found that there just isn’t enough time in a 2 year program to pick a topic, research, and defend it (there would be if we picked topics our first semester, but people grow so much in a program that this isn’t always the best idea!) I would be curious how other programs are handling the balance between teaching research and teaching practical skills: coursework? capstone projects? assistantships?

    • I don’t think requiring internships is a good idea, and here’s why. Librarianship is my second career. I attended UIUC’s LEEP program while still employed full-time in my first career as a software tester — a miserable but well-paid position that made it financially feasible for me to attend library school. Had I been required to complete an internship for my degree, I wouldn’t have graduated. Neither time nor finances would have allowed for it, and I imagine many other second career librarians would have similar issues with required internships if they are still employed in their first careers while they are in school.

      Also, at least half of my cohort were already employed in libraries in some fashion when they started the program. For people in that situation, a required internship strikes me as a counterproductive waste of time.

  6. Is library school easy? Hands down & emphatically yes… easier than my MBA… and seriously easier than my BA in Biology – the closest you could possibly come to Organic Chemistry, Physics, or Biochemistry would be Cataloging & Classification II, and even that’s a stretch.

    I went to library school full time and worked part time as a reference library associate in a small public library. Maybe the classes I picked helped, but I did use a number of the things I learned at work while I was learning them. But like any other profession, you fall into a rut of patterns that are fractions of what you learned in school.

    The biggest “fail” for library school? Not enough emphasis on customer service & cranky people, management of staff, volunteers & budgets, and negotiation skills. But then, what other school – undergrad, grad, post-doc – covers these areas? Perhaps it can be chalked up to a “fail” in the overall education system.

    • People skills are certainly a quagmire for academics. Over at the Library Society of the World, there was a big discussion about coursework regarding body language and manner. It was ‘this is Mickey Mouse BS’ at one end, ‘people are skills are necessary in a people business’ at the other. Of course, it depends on what you want to do, but personally I thought a little psychology and a some tips on how to conduct yourself won’t be lost on some people.

      As to the rest, I agree.

  7. I feel like I’ve learned a lot in library school, yes, practical stuff that I have already been applying at my library job. No degree in the universe will ever give you the experience that you’ll get on-the-job, so that’s no surprise, but experience helps you in the degree, and the degree helps you in the experience.

    Now if only I could get paid a salary instead of an hourly rate…and get a few benefits…

  8. I agree with those who stated that you get out of it what you put into it. I am probably a bit different than most posters here because I didn’t get my MLS until I was 50 and had already worked in a high school library for 12 years.

    The courses in my program began with more philosophical and theory-based courses – those courses included people from all types of library work, corporate, legal, public, etc. As I proceeded through the program, courses became more practical and all students were focusing on school libraries. Some of my professors were adjuncts and were actually working full time in libraries, so those courses were much more grounded.

    I guess I would agree that it was easy, but it was a lot of work and I didn’t get my degree feeling that it was an unearned credential. I got a lot out of the program.

    This is sort of off-topic, but since I am a high school librarian, I have a pet peeve. They want us to work with teachers, yet in my experience, colleges are not teaching future educators how to integrate libraries and librarians into classroom teaching. Teachers are not coming out of college knowing how to “use” us or how to let us help them. I have to work harder to promote myself and my resources with young teachers.

  9. I agree with Brian’s comment that you get what you put into it, in that it is not inherently academically rigorous but are still very informative. It really is like a vo-tech program, to be honest; which I’m not saying judgmentally, but comparatively: students are being taught very basic stuff at a lowest-common-denominator level in order to have a basic understanding of Information Science. And this is at an MLIS program that is highly respected.

    (I can’t really fault library school for not preparing people for real jobs, because even vo-tech programs don’t do that. The divide between “work world” and “school world” is vast, no matter what field you choose.)

    Which is why I’m not sure MLIS programs are the best way to “make” new librarians, who often get out the door and end up doing the same work the para-librarians do, just for more money. It’s not really fair to either party.

    As a graduate of one of the top colleges in the country, my expectations for “academically rigorous” are pretty high, and I knew would not be met by my MLIS program. I was just surprised by how much; as far as I’m concerned, half the classes I’ve taken so far are undergraduate level. For my career goals, this burdens me with having to go for a doctorate.

    That’s fine, honestly, but I don’t think the system as it is set up is particularly honest to the profession as a whole: MLIS grads are only being prepared to get entry-level librarian positions, not become leaders of their field. Master’s degrees are supposed to be more robust than vo-tech licenses, but that value is being eroded by the current system.

    • “who often get out the door and end up doing the same work the para-librarians do, just for more money. It’s not really fair to either party.”

      Isn’t that less a problem of the degree and more a problem of the job market, though? I disagree wholeheartedly that we’re “only being prepared to get entry-level librarian positions”. I mean, aside from the fact that most of our classmates already have them, or better. Degrees can’t train you to be a leader, and any one that claims to is selling b.s., but I was ready for an entry level paraprofessional job before I even started my degree. I just couldn’t find one. So to say that’s all this degree is training us for is clearly, clearly wrong, because that would mean I hadn’t learned anything at all.

      • I’ve never heard of an MLS graduate going straight into a high-level post. Why would a library do that, when there are people who are much more experienced (and also have the degree) looking for jobs?

        I think the MLS is fatally flawed (as I’ve blogged about before: http://bit.ly/hfTlCS) but it has only just occured to me that what it comes down to is this: The information you learn is out-dated in around 3 years. It takes around 3 years for you to get high enough up the ladder to apply for a job for which the MLS is a requirement. Therefore… it’s not of much value.

        But it is, nevertheless, absolutely essential to have if you’re going to get anywhere. I hate that.

        • Also, what do you mean “out-dated in around 3 years”? Surely most of it is general enough that whatever you learn forms the foundation for whatever is next? Honestly, from your blog post, your program sounds significantly inferior to ours, as well.

        • I actually have, but only one, and she’s not a great example. It was someone who had worked at a small public library for quite a while, and was just finishing up her degree part time. She’d literally worked her way up from a part-time page. Consequently, when their director retired, they encouraged her to apply, and hired her straight on, contingent on her getting the degree (which of course she did). Very special situation, but I wanted to add that piece of info.

        • “I’ve never heard of an MLS graduate going straight into a high-level post.”

          My roommate at Annual last year was hired as the assistant director for a small college library in Kentucky while she was still in library school. I’m not sure how much library experience she had, but she was very young (I’d say mid-20s), so she couldn’t have had too much!

          While the position was later frozen, I was told I was the top candidate for an assistant branch manager position for a public library system last fall; I’ve had a paraprofessional position at an academic library for 3 years and just graduated in August, so I don’t have much experience either.

          It can happen.

          • Okay, it can happen! :)

            I didn’t mean it was impossible, just that I’ve literally not seen it. My point really was that in some professions, doing a post-grad qualification is a genuine way to skip a few rungs on the ladder. In this profession, pretty much ANYONE who is in it for the long-term will end up doing the MLS, so there’s no advantage – it’s just a *disadvantage not to have one* which is a different thing.

            I got a post I couldn’t have got without the degree, straight after getting the degree. But that’s because I already had four, nearly five years experience. The experience got me the job; the degree meant I could apply in the first place.

        • Well, I have. Back in the seventies *men* right out of library school were hired as directors. It was most disheartening.

          As I approach the end of my career, I can look back and tell you my working life has been mostly pleasant. I’ve helped a few people here and there. It was a good way to spend a life. But part of me wishes I’d become a stock broker.

          I can also tell you that library school was a waste of time (but not money) and what I learned there was mostly irrelevant.

      • Well, I have to disagree with your disagreement – most of what I’ve been taught so far is NOT suitable preparation for even a low-level management position, and more crucially for me personally, NOT a solid academic basis for carrying on high-level scholarly work. Look at Andy’s description of Law School: THAT is graduate level studies, and this is not what we are doing.

        I *do* agree that the job market is part of the problem, which feeds back into the academic training system: what is point of the degree? To further the profession, or to certify that someone knows the basics? Right now, it seems most (and certainly our) MLIS programs are focused on the latter.

        I am not saying that no one is learning anything useful in the MLIS program; you have, I have, many of us have. But it IS only preparing most people for entry-level positions; that is the focus of the program, to teach “the basics” without going much further, because the goal is not to create Information Science scholars but to create librarians. Different focus entirely, and I don’t have a problem with either (we need both), but rather with confusing the two. That our MLIS program graduates competent librarians in NO way recommends it as a rigorous, scholarly academic program.

  10. The class material was easy, yes. But many of the classes were labor-intensive with too many busy-work assignments. And while completing the program online is more convenient, it is not easier and perhaps even more difficult. In a classroom, discussions are held in class. Online, discussion are held on the boards, which have to be read over and over again. Posts have to be made regularly as well as responses to others’ posts. I think adding that requirement on top of the regular classwork makes the online environment more tedious. Professors also go AWOL online–heard from the first week of class only to disappear into cyberspace. I’d have to say my favorite and most useful assignment from the program came from my reference class. We had to go “undercover” and pose reference questions at 3 different libraries and report on our experience.

    What wasn’t easy however, was managing a full-time job, full-time school and a full-time family. So, I’m glad that the concepts in class were not difficult to learn or understand. I had more than enough to handle just keeping up with the deadlines and due dates.

  11. My experience with library school was excellent. I had already been working in the field, though, for 20+ years, and many of my classmates were already working in libraries. I also attended a school that offered face-to-face classes, which is rare today, but gave the best opportunities for discussion and sharing of ideas, as well as field trips and guest speakers. We all had the chance to work with various library circulation programs, work behind the scenes in different libraries and enjoyed professors who had recently worked in the types of jobs we were seeking, and were not just academics. Although I was the “senior” member of all my classes, my own expertise added to the mix, and I learned so much from my younger classmates.

  12. Did I learn things at library school? Yes.

    Compared to my J.D.? Easy. Not even close to what even third year of law school was like. (Reference: the joke about law school & the workload is the first year they scare you to death, the second year they work you to death, the third year they bore you to death.)

    So again — learned things, absolutely. Also had great networking opportunities. But no comparison to law school. I learned things, I had projects and papers, there was work to do, no doubt. But never at the same intensity, pace, depth, and pressure as law school.

  13. Yay! I finally get a chance to rant, not that I am a ranter. But I do have something to say. I am currently in library school in Indiana, and I don’t know if any of your readers are in the Hoosier state, but our governor has been cutting library funding (and education) right and left. It is clear why, he doesn’t consider librarians as professionals. And I have to ask myself why, we have masters degrees and undergraduate degrees and we have resources available that they (government officials) need, and we if do not have them, we know where to find them. Basically we are well trained, well rounded individuals.
    While in school we read many different blogs and essays and articles all that give us mixed feelings of dread and hope. Our future is in jeopardy as librarians. Times, they are a-changing, and we and the schools we attend need to change with them. Not just in technology, but with popular trends, language shifts, current issues and perhaps even marketing(my bone of contention).
    I enjoy my time at library school, and I consider the people I have met and the some of the things I have learned as beneficial and ‘worth it’. But for the incoming students, I feel that schools offer a great place to start that oh so uncomfortable networking that we must do to survive in library world.
    Thanks for this opportunity.

  14. My library school experience has been ok so far, but I don’t think it would have been nearly as good if I hadn’t been working in a library full-time. Some of my pet peeves with my program (all online so far) are the busy work aspect and the subpar professors. I feel that if you are teaching a master’s level course, you should be to use the online teaching module and communicate effectively with your students. I’ve had some great and good professors, but some really lousy ones, and there are some I won’t even enroll in their courses due to well-documented abysmal ratings. As for busy work and group projects, seriously? You should’ve learned how to work in group before you finished undergrad.
    Like I said, I’m very fortunate to get full-time experience while I work on my degree. I don’t think an internship should be required because a lot of folks have full-time jobs and families, but I think volunteering is a great idea. That’s how I got my foot in the door!
    Thanks for the opportunity to share!

    Marissa

  15. Andy, what an excellent topic. As some of you may know, I love talking about library school. I’m in my very last semester, and while I agree with some of what’s been said here, I’d like to add one thing – if you don’t like it, change it. If it’s too easy, get a PhD and reform the curriculum. If you feel like you have something to say, write an article for In The Library With A Lead Pipe and turn it into a group blog of library school students talking, writing about, and discussing library school. ;)

    These types of grievances are not new, and not particular to library school. What is new is that all of sudden, thanks to the social web and new technologies, we can all get together and talk about this stuff online, and be productive about making it different. So, say something. Join the HackLibSchool experience. PLEASE join ALA and let’s reform that organization. Talk to your Dean. Write letters to the politicians. Use information and its tools to make something better.

    All that said, my specific experiences in Library School mirror many of yours. It is easy. I do very well, and learn some of what I might need. I have been aggravated being in classes with working librarians who approach everything from their perspective at their library, and are nervous about ebooks stealing their jobs, while I approach everything from a “critical thinking” point of view coming from a previous Master of Arts. I feel the tension between academic librarians, public librarians, corporate librarians, etc. I hate group work. I’ve got the ALA Code of Ethics tattooed on my brain and soul. BUT! I’m coming out of this with a sense of the power of information to change things. And I have the opportunity to be a part of that because I spent two years, and waded through this muck of LIS education. So we’ll see what happens next.

    http://hacklibschool.wordpress.com. Be The Change.

    (Did it work? Did I come off as a Chevy commercial announcer?) ;)

    • That’s why I like the HackLibrarySchool project. I think it is something that is looking to change the library school landscape. I certainly hope that some of the programs out there start paying attention to what is being discussed there and some other discussion places.

    • Micah, thanks for those links and suggestions! I had not come across HackLibSchool before – excellent!

      And yes, that’s part of why I’m going to continue for my doctorate; I’m not much of an activist at heart, but I figure I can lead by example and help change things when I can. :)

      Thanks again!

    • “I’d like to add one thing – if you don’t like it, change it. If it’s too easy, get a PhD and reform the curriculum.”

      This is exactly why I intend (after getting real-world experience first, of course) to get my Ph.D. and teach instruction in library schools. 1) because far too few schools offer courses on instruction (mine didn’t) and 2) because library school IS too easy and while I don’t plan on operating my classes like a concentration camp, I expect students in a graduate program to have to WORK for their grades and do some active reflection in the process.

  16. I have two problems with this degree, myself.

    1. Misleading marketing. I didn’t start this program wanting to be a librarian, primarily, and I’d still prefer not to be one. I really wanted a vo-tech degree that covered the same areas as our undergraduate degree, in IT, and have been rather disappointed in how un-intensive those classes turned out to be. I didn’t even feel ready to get a freaking CompTIA Net+ certification after my networking class despite using a Net+ training book as our text. That isn’t what the degree is about really about, apparently.

    In contrast, I think this degree is actually really great for preparing computer-oriented librarians and in this program in particular, where at least half the non-online-only students are doing an integrated museum studies certification, for historical preservation and archival collection management.
    Someone above suggest we have a teaching library – we have that in our program, but aside from a single semester practicum it’s only open to a handful of (low-)paid assistants, which was rather disappointing. This could be done and integrated into the curriculum much better.

    I have some bones to pick with all of you over the issue of difficulty, too. I can tell you the only reason I was never worked to the bone or until my face was numb was because I don;t consider that a valuable educational experience for any field. It happened once and I dropped a class. You probably will say I m lazy for this, but I’d rather do a limited amount of really good work than kill myself trying to cram in as much mediocre work as possible. This grad-student race to beat out everyone else for how bad you have it is obnoxious and I kind of wish y’all would just shut UP about it already. Frankly, if this program were as hard as all that I wouldn’t be interested.

  17. I agree with what most everyone is saying – I actually finished up my psychology master’s thesis the same semester that I started my MLIS AND was working two part-time jobs, and I managed just fine. I’m doing mine online, so it’s a bit more flexible than face-to-face programs may be.

    Also, I’d already been working in a public library for a year before I started my MLIS, so I had lots of experience going into the program. I had a context to which I could apply lessons learned in class, and I could bring a lot to discussions about what worked and what didn’t in real life. WORK EXPERIENCE IS KEY! The MLIS gives you a great background and overview, but like others have said, it’s very general – which makes sense, considering there are so many local standards and differences not only between types of libraries, but even between individual public libraries or individual academic libraries, for instance.

    That being said, I also felt like quite a natural starting out in my library job: I really “got” the concepts that I was working with and felt like the library was a perfect fit for me, which added motivation to get my MLIS. I will finish my MLIS in August this year, and I started work in the same public library as a full-time librarian this past October. I thoroughly enjoy bringing what I learn in class to the workplace AND taking what I learn at work to my classes. I think it’s a fantastic idea to require a practicum or internship for students who don’t already have work experience in a library — but that’s tough too because an MLIS prepares you for many jobs other than just in a library, so maybe work in other “information professional” jobs should be counted too.

  18. I know it isn’t very challenging, but the parts of librarianship that are most difficult are the things that classes can’t really prepare you for. Your professors can’t anticipate every reference question you’ll get, and thank goodness! Never knowing what you’ll be asked at the desk is what keeps life interesting.

    Another big challenge is just interacting with so many people every day. Many of us (including myself) complete our MSLIS online these days, and while it’s convenient, I wouldn’t say it really helps you deal with people. Yes there’s group work (I hated it too, Micah!), but you don’t interact with colleagues, patrons, etc. face to face. In the real world most of any public services librarian’s job is getting along well with others. Not yelling at a patron who swears that all of the DVDs he checked out spontaneously combusted or were damaged by his pet unicorn. Not rolling your eyes at a colleague who you but heads with. Not giggling at a student who wants to know about the history of foot fetishism.

    That’s not to say that I think the curriculum doesn’t need updating. It’s true that I don’t use a lot of what I learned my classes when I go to work. (There are certainly some exceptions to that: research methods and marketing were actually very helpful.) Most of what I got out of library school were opportunities: a graduate assistantship, an internship, a chance to be involved in the student ALA chapter, and the support and encouragement of faculty members. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of that.

  19. I went to one of the more practical library schools, and no, it wasn’t at all like law school. But I hadn’t worked in libraries, either, so at 31, learning the acronyms at a dead run,(and there are a lot of them!), as well as not having a library to practice/observe in made the clases harder. On the other hand, a few lessons in the fine art of running and maintaing photocopiers would have been appreciated–yes, reallly!

    So many good points have been made! Every library is such a different entity, even the public libraries, that it is hard to train for the specifics. But yes, having a practicum in a library, for everyone not working in a library should be in the program.

    And yes, more technology, and makeing the class work a little more real world oriented would be helpful. Papers and research are useful, getting used to presenting is nessessary, but more actual cataloging, work with bibliographic tools, defending a banned book, etc. could be real world challenges useful in a class, as well as handling difficult customers.

  20. Thanks for the space and opportunity to discuss this, Andy. I’m just finishing up my MLIS degree at the University of Washington and I share similar frustrations [practicality vs theory, professors who haven't set foot in a library in years (or ever), reactive rather than proactive, etc.]

    I think this can and should be handled two ways:

    1. We need to take responsibility for our education. If we aren’t getting what we need, we’ve got to say something! This can be at an individual level (see — making an appointment with a dean or student advisor) or a group level (see — HackLibSchool (http://hacklibschool.wordpress.com))

    2. As has already been said, we’ve got to supplement our degrees with internships, volunteering and experience. It’s an extra step, but it’s a necessary one if we want to get out into the library-world and make some changes.

  21. Pingback: LIS Education and Its Discontents « Hack Library School

  22. Such great discussion going on here. Thank you Andy for opening it up today!

    I admit, for the first year of my MLIS program I complained a lot. Part of it was just the shock of going back to school and the rest included my rants about theory heavy classes, professors with very little actual library experience, the divide amongst students of different library specialties, what seemed like a lack of practical experience combined with in-class learning, etc.

    But then I remembered this was a graduate program. Not undergrad. That if I wanted to get more out of it, as many have said here, it was up to me to stop complaining and to try to do something about it. I tried taking varied electives, reached out to professors, fellow students, the dean, all in an attempt to get as much as I could out of the 2 years I planned on spending in grad school. Because remember, you’re (well I am at least!) paying a lot of money for this degree!

    I also sought out an internship which has amazingly turned into a full-time job that I feel very lucky for. But I still try to develop my networking and professional development by attending ALA last year, meeting students via social media, and becoming involved with http://hacklibschool.wordpress.com (see Heidi and Micah’s comments as well).

    Now I am totally psyched to be entering this profession. Do I think that the program could be changed and developed and enhanced? Yes, absolutely. So let’s start talking about what that looks like!

    One final note- I have felt like if students want to be challenged further and want a more theory driven program, that is the beauty of the PhD program…which I will not be pursuing!

  23. The time for an MLS is past, and the “M” should be dropped. It’s not a true master’s. It’s more like a certificate program, and should be taught as such…

    It can be an add on for subject master’s degrees. My brother in law’s degree from The College of New Jersey is in History with Secondary Education – and he is a history teacher. The subject specialty comes first. This will create subject specialists for academic and special libraries.

    For school librarians, it can be an add-on to the elementary or secondary education degrees. This may solve the issue Lyn brought up in her post about lack of integration of library services into the classroom. You now have the pedagogy to make that happen.

    If you want to be an entrepreneural librarian, say starting your own information science business, combine that degree with marketing, business, etc. degrees and you have the professional knowledge and the business know-how. Combine it with computer science, informatics, and similar fields to become a web designer with strong informational organization experience – perhaps an Information Architect or User Experience (UX) designer?

    The only place where I struggle with this in in public libraries. I’m not sure how to fit my model into that arena. The closest I can come is making the library degree a bachelor’s degree. Any ideas?

    I don’t see this happening in my time, sadly.

  24. Loving this conversation. Can’t help but throw my two cents in.

    I’m in my penultimate quarter at UCLA, and we’ve been told by professors and adjuncts that our program is much more rigorous than others they have taught in, mostly because we are on the quarter system. This doesn’t equate to rigor, in my mind: it’s just a less amount of time to do the same amount of work. Rigor looks like in-depth study and critical analysis of current theory and thought, and then putting that into practice. I find this lack of rigor to be especially true of my specialization in children’s services. Our studies and our classes are *so cute* and warm and fuzzy, and I feel like we’re one of the most deprofessionalized fields of IS as a result.

    Ultimately, I’m personally glad that my program has been relatively easy, as it’s given me the chance to take on leadership positions, volunteer, and attempt to create my own study path. I do worry, however, about MLIS students who don’t take this initiative; when they graduate, how is their education going to affect the view of IS as a profession? The ramifications for professional credence, pay, and the priority of IS in funding (as Court mentioned above) really are affected.

    • What’s sad is I see people in my cohort who don’t take initiative – they don’t take leadership positions or volunteer (or even show up at student association meetings), engage in networking or personal branding – and they’re working full time, while I struggle part time (granted, with a wonderful company).

      Are we attracting the best and brightest, or have we become what Library Journal Editor-at-Large John Berry calls the “profession of refugees” in the worst possible way – the people that don’t know what the heck to do with their lives?

      I will never forget the arrogant jerk who stood up in my survey course the first semester and said he was only in library school because his parents made him – he had to do something with his life or they were cutting him off financially. He must have been an expert BS’er to get past the admissions committee…and that’s when I seriously question admission standards in LIS schools.

      • Your first statement is so true, and one of the most troubling to me. I’m the co-President of the Student Chapter of ALA at UCLA, and my fellow officers and I deal with this every single day. We want to lead by example, and to be solution-oriented rather than just whine, so we set up programs and events and lectures to try and fill in the areas we feel are weak in the academic portion of our program. Yet getting people to show up is like pulling teeth! I really wish I didn’t agree with Mr. Berry, but I do. My mid-term goal is to be a senior librarian or branch manager, and I keep looking at this as training for guiding my staff when such a time comes. Acknowledging that not everyone has the same passion and commitment to our profession, yet still expecting the quality of our service to be superior. A challenge, for sure.

        • I’m the VP of our local ALA student chapter and you’re absolutely right: no one comes to the meetings. My fellow officers and I come up with professional development activities, parties, field trips, mentoring & job hunting events, and still no one shows. I maintain a very active Twitter account on library-related information for the group on Facebook (the tweets are imported), but not a single response.

          Heck, I’m VP on the technicality that I ran unopposed as did the others. We had to beg another student to be our treasurer since no one else signed up.

          It’s been incredibly frustrating. I have no idea how to get other students involved.

          Actually! My department chair is a former UCLA professor so now I’m interested in finding out if our two groups can collaborate in some way.

      • In terms of student groups — I wanted to be active in mine, but never went to a meeting; I didn’t have childcare, the student group for sure didn’t provide it, and it was at a terrible hour anyway vis-a-vis my daughter’s and husband’s schedules. (A convenient time for students with no family responsibilities, though, for sure.)

        This is, of course, part of what’s motivated me to get active in the field in different ways. But I don’t think you can take involvement in student groups alone as a barometer of professional initiative; for people with responsibilities other than their degree program, there can be some serious barriers to participation.

        (And I would love to hear things that student groups are doing for outreach to part-time students, students with families, students with full-time jobs. If that outreach is happening. I thought briefly about trying to set up a group for parents in the program, but…when would we meet? lol…)

        • One thing our group did was try to schedule our meetings between classes when students were already on campus. Our classes were general 3:30 – 5:50 or 6:30 – 8:50, so we scheduled our meetings from 5:45 – 6:20. This way we caught people leaving their 3:30 class and coming to campus for 6:30 classes…and gave them enough time to get to class. We also took a look at class schedules and picked the days when most classes were taking place – in our case, Monday – Wednesday, with Wednesday being the most popular.

          We also experimented with virtual office hours – someone would sign in to our student group GMail and be on gChat for two hours a week. (This was me. I would sign on at work. :)

          I wish we could have offered on site child care for our students that were also parents, but our building did not allow children for insurance reasons.

        • Our meetings are immediately before class, once a month, for about 15-20 minutes. We have a family-friendly picnic scheduled for our two campuses later this spring.

          We record the meetings and make them available online, post the minutes, and try to solicit input from students via email/Facebook/Twitter/Flickr/surveys/etc. Still nothing. :-(

          As far as I’ve come across, most of the students don’t have school age children.

            • Looks like they need to kick their webmaster! Then again, I guess I need to go archive all of Dr. Chu’s websites before the UCLA webmaster removes them!

              (I’m Dr. Chu’s webmaster in this program)

        • Andromeda, I’m sorry to hear that your school makes it so difficult for you to be as active as you’d like. While the majority of the student’s in our program don’t have children, UCLA has taken on a huge initiative to support those in higher education with families, partly to help reduce the gap in female students who never go on to a Master’s or Ph.D. (childcare and family commitment being big reason for this). I would really lobby with the admin of the university on this.
          I do agree, however, that being part of a student club isn’t any measure of involvement, or, rather, is one measure. I do think that student associations can help fill the gaps in curriculum, though, so that is a potential solution to some of the challenges people are talking about here.

  25. I say this constantly, but library school is what you make it. I had an internship/fellowship (which is what got me my job) and a further internship as a cataloger. Sure, my classes were a little boring, but the same could be said about certain parts of my undergraduate degree (which was from a rigorous program in an incredibly rigorous university). By the time you get to graduate school, the hand holding is (or should be) over. It’s time to take your success into your own hands. If you feel that you didn’t get what you paid for out of graduate school, I really do think it’s your own fault. (Unless, of course, there was gross incompetence in your graduate school, which does not extend to out of date classes or aloof professors.)

  26. Library school was not my favourite two years. And seriously what I learned could have been edited down to one year. I only completed it because I couldn’t think of anything better to do.

    It wasn’t challenging academically and far too vocational but not in any useful way. Biggest problem was the profs taught only what they were interested in, which wasn’t necessarily reflective of the real world. Prime example, we had to learn to program in Basic and C+ because our prof was convinced if you didn’t understand computer languages you couldn’t use a computer effectively!

    I think the worse bit (and biggest shock) was when I moved to the UK and was competing for jobs with my colleagues who only had three years of university compared to my six. Over qualified or what!

    At least I loved my undergraduate :-) And I really love what I do know, which I suppose I wouldn’t be doing without those lllllloooonnnnngggg two years!

    • It wasn’t challenging academically and far too vocational but not in any useful way.

      YES, that. I wanted it either to be far more academically rigorous — much more reading the professional literature, much more in-depth analysis and research, much more acquaintance with the history and intellectual touchstones of the field (are there any, outside of Dewey and Ranganathan?) — or much more vocational, with practicums for everyone and lots of hands-on development of everyday skills. Instead it occupied this in-between place, not committed enough to either to do it really well. (Exceptions for some classes, of course. But overall? Not so much.)

      Of course, making it either much more academically serious, or much more schedule-constraining via hands-on experience, would limit the universities’ ability to milk people for money. Wish ALA accreditors would show more leadershiop on this issue but, then again, I would also like a job. And a pony.

  27. There is not much more to add to this conversation that hasn’t already been said, but I would like to throw this into the mix:

    I think the biggest benefit of library school is the doors it opens while being a student.

    I’m getting my degree in Portland, OR – which has a very tight knit community of librarians/information professionals. Being a library student, for all members of my cohort, has opened up a lot of opportunities for volunteering, committee work, internships and entry level jobs.

    I’ve engaged in my “extra-curricular” activities directly through someone I have known in library school or for by being a student. This has included writing, organizing and even my job in an academic/medical library.

    I think the library community loves helping out up and coming professionals A) because most librarians are helpful in nature and B) while we’re still in school we’re not quite yet full competition for the limited jobs in the area.

    Other than that, our adviser was great in communicating that our program was theory based and we wouldn’t graduate with all the tools need to be librarians, but we would have a strong foundation. I agree with most people here that I learn just as much in my job than in the classroom, but I still think my degree holds a high level of value.

  28. Some of my courses were more challenging than others. The course that were more challenging I learned more. Though I think there is definitely a lacuna between necessary skill sets and content of LS classes. We need computer programmers! We also need builders of community partnership but I’m not sure if those skills can be taught. Library school tends to emphasize public services yet these elements our jobs become thinner and thinner everyday. I’m open to the possibility of certificate program as opposed to a masters.

    There is a decided gap in work ethic / work attitude between library degree holders and those that lack them. It follows that if bothered to get a library degree you probably love libraries and care more. This being said, I have a chip on my shoulder about not being a “refugee.” This the career path I chose first, not as a plan B or job parachute. I’m proud of that. That is not a diss on many dedicated librarians I’ve worked with over the years that came to libraries a second career. Still I have my chip on my shoulder.

    • I want to add too that at my work place the degree’d librarians and paraprofessionals do not do the same work. Librarians have all the supervisory responsibility, executive decision making powers, and creative oversight of fun stuff. Our paraprofessionals do some of these things some of the time, but the things mentioned above are what our librarians do 100% of the time.

      Back to the topic at hand: did library school prepare me for those things? Yes and no, I’d have to give my program a B- or C+. It is arguable that some the things my program are not teachable, but that reinforces what others have said here about seeking out leadership roles. Sometimes you have to create your own experiences.

  29. Like many of the previous posters before me I feel that library school will leave me inadequately prepared for the field and is pretty easy. I’m in my last semester of library school and I would say the main problem with our program is the lack of academic rigor and the lack of required pre-requisites. Of course as other posters have mentioned my education is what I make of it and I spend more time reading blogs by those in the field, attending conferences, and gaining work experience than I do on a collection development worksheet…

    Since many courses do not have any pre-reqs instructors repeat the same remedial information in every class from web programming to basic reference much of the semester is spent zoning out and waiting for class to really begin. This prevents an in depth conversation on any one topic.

    Another problem is I find some of the classwork to be extremely outdated. A large part of this is due to the academic structure of having a course approved, and the fact that Ph.D students inherit courses and leave the old syllabi intact. For example, our introductory reference course relies on an old scavenger hunt of reference. Students are given many worksheets and are asked to “find” the information. Very little time is spent on learning about the reference interview process. As a reference assistant the only person who has ever approached me asking for a particular page in particular almanac is another library science student… Not that these things aren’t important but it’s just not the majority of reference today. I would be interested in having a conversation about roving reference, how can you do reference through mobile apps?, how reference can’t be used for one-on-one information literacy teaching moments, etc. More time should be devoted to current reference models and problems, and less reliance on the print mode of reference. Fetching people particular ready reference sources is very little of what I do at the desk, and the majority of what our references students know how to do. /end mini-rant

  30. To all of you who say you get out of the course what you put in, I absolutely agree. But that in itself isn’t a reason not to try and make things better! That in itself is not a reason to accept a degree which isn’t really fit for purpose. We’re all complicit in letting the current status quo continue – employers, library schools, students and graduates.

    The other thing is, some people are shy or otherwise in need of a kick-start and don’t realise how *much* they have to put in, until it is too late. We need to nurture these people, not let them fall by the way-side – there are too many waifs and strays in this profession as it is.

  31. Andy – I’m in a similar boat. My perceptions of library school are irrevocably colored by my time in other research-based graduate programs, with a good smattering of law school classes. To me, library school just didn’t *feel* like a graduate-level education – it felt like more of a vo-tech degree with a social worker bent :)

    I also do think that we need to seriously look at requiring either work in a library or an integrated internship into the LIS curriculum – too many people with the MLS who have never stepped foot behind the scenes makes for poorly-prepared grads and uninspiring applicant pools. We should, in my opinion, take a page from the playbook of many MPA programs that require either experience in the field or a substantive internship; budgeting/fiscal management issues; human resources in nonprofits training; etc. I’m hoping to see more evidence-based education techniques incorporated.

  32. Oh My. I JUST finished library school and I really am surprised at how pragmaticallly narrow most of the study was. It was just so PRACTICAL. (Which is what I wanted for a change). But it never made me think BIG. Rarely challenged me intellectually (except for a few long papers I wrote and got really into). Vo-Tech is exactly right Colleen and that is why I think new grads are a little bitter to not be finding jobs. We just wasted time on really a vocational training program!!

    What is missing in library school is a more multi disciplinary approach. We need to be trained more as information critics –there should be more classes in critical thinking and analysis. We need to be discussing public policy. We need to be thinking BIGGER! We need to be at the table with SO much happening in information and privatization right now. It needs to be a true Masters education with challenging ideas that push people to reconfigure our roles and make us relevant. U

  33. Pursuing a degree in library/information science is much like pursuing a degree in business. The field is so broad and unless you have a good idea of the type of librarian you want to be going into the program, then of course you are going to come out of it feeling lost and overwhelmed.

    While there are certain issues that all librarians can get behind, the truth is that the skills and knowledge required to be a digital archivist are not the same as those needed to be solo school librarian. At the day-to-day level, there are many more things that divide us than bring us together. Knowing those differences before starting an MLIS program will give you a richer experience and help to guide your coursework.

    That said, I will agree that most MLIS programs are more like undergraduate programs. They provide survey-like courses rather than seminars, emphasizing “learning the basics” rather than squeezing out the finer points. In my opinion, grad school should be about deepening your knowledge, not about getting certified to be job-worthy (insert obligatory complaint about corporate influences on higher ed).

    What I never understood is why universities do not offer undergrad degrees in information science? I have to admit that I like the idea of a 5 year BA/MLS or BS/MLS (rec. by FSkornia on Twitter) program that could emphasizes information science in the first 4 years and libraries specifically in the final year. Students would have the foundational knowledge necessary by the final year, during which they could focus on either on theory or public service.

    Of course, I think the lack of jobs is a contributing factor here. We LIS majors need to get our heads together and start creating new types of jobs… and then fill them ourselves. We have some unique skills that could be used in areas outside of brick and mortar libraries ;-)

  34. As a second year library school student, I must admit that I am a bit unsure how to categorize my education so far. In ways, I found it to be extremely useful. I’ve been working in a library for eight years now, and I still do not know everything. However, it really depends on the professor and the course. Some courses, content wise, are pretty simple. Other courses, in which the content should not be challenging, are because of professors’ workload. A lot of it is busy work.

    By the way, I am in a 10 week quarter online program. Because the professors have to cram everything in such a short period of time, there are moments that I feel overwhelmed.

  35. I think it helps to have a focus while you’re in school so that you can tailor your projects towards your interest. What I thought I knew going in is very different from what I know now about librarianship and I’m in my second semester. There’s a lot of things that they could change in the curriculum (like you have to take a management course, but a marketing course doesn’t even exist). Some of the core classes that they require in my program seem a bit out of date, at least in the way they’re structured.

    The best advice I have gotten so far was this: ice companies who only saw themselves in the business of ice, went out of business. Those who saw themselves in the business of keeping things cold, became refrigeration companies. We have to see ourselves as information professionals, which potentially expands beyond librarianship in the traditional sense.

  36. Library school was like a big checklist to me – you need to know all these things, but no single item is really all that bad (or really, all that intellectually challenging). There are just a lot of them.

    When I compare myself to friends in other master’s programs, I don’t think my MLIS compares at all – someone above said “certificate program” and I think that nails it just right.

  37. I just started my MLS officially last month. My program is a Hybrid program (half online, half face-to-face). I’ve looked over the curriculum and I’d like to see more on how to market yourself and the library (as was said earlier), I feel that people just assume it’s a museum of books with old ladies. I would also like to see more on communication whether it’s writing skills, public speaking, presentation, etc. I believe that much of the faculty assumes everyone is at a certain level of all three. There should also be more on “what to do besides be a librarian” and how to market a more diverse group of information professionals. For me, I’d like to incorporate the visual arts into the more text based institutions, but for now it seems like I’ll being doing this alone. The gaps between our multicultural communities can be better addressed with the visual arts and I feel that most libraries are lacking in such areas. It’s important to try and introduce the different ways of disseminating information be it audio, visual, digital, etc. not just text. Doing so will reach a broader audience and possibly open new windows for future projects.

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  39. The science and skill of reference, collection development and cataloging, digital archiving can and should exist in a bachelor’s program for two simple reasons. 1. as many have mentioned before me the coursework is “easy” and there is this general consensus that it below graduate level work. 2. the money. how many of us have our library’s infastructure supported by IT, HR and business professionals with Bachelor’s in their respective fields that are likely getting paid AT LEAST 1.5 times more than we are?! Those wishing to attain a directorship should get an MBA, a Non-profit administration degree or a Marketing degree.

  40. I am reading these posts and wondering where on earth is everyone going to school?! I have had a most amazing experience getting my Master’s in Library Science, graduating this year. Getting my degree is definitely not easy, while the work is not so much “difficult” like science or math, it’s certainly intense and thought provoking, while teaching theory and basics in addition to practical work. Some classes and teachers are better than others, but isn’t it like that even in undergrad? I agree, you get what you put into it!

    • I’m with you, Jen, in wondering where everyone went to school. The degree I just earned was academically challenging with a definite lean toward the theoretical. As it was an online program, there was a great deal of interaction amongst classmates on the discussion board, and you could easily see that the people who were working in libraries already were getting the most out of the classes. Ideally, anyone who is studying for an MLIS should be working (even if only volunteering) on a regular basis in a library. This has multiple benefits: it enhances your understanding of your coursework, it gives you experience to bolster your resume, and it may result in a better job within that institution after graduation.

      I do have a rant, though. The work for this degree was challenging largely because I was committed to getting everything out of it that I could. Many of my classmates were much less committed. Worse, some of them had the writing and research skills of a 10th grader and should never have made it into a graduate program of any kind. They did not take up the challenge that was offered, their participation was sub-par, their classmates carried them through group projects, and they all ended up with the same degree I did.

      Library schools are a business. They cannot keep a staff if they do not fill their classes. They may offer a terrific curriculum, but to stay afloat they participate in the practice of grade inflation that is sadly pervasive in most colleges and high schools in this country.

  41. I have to agree with you on that library school is pretty easy. It came nowhere close to the academic vigor I had experienced in undergrad and in high school (I went to one of those competitive magnet schools).

    It’s a bit embarrassing to be calling it a graduate program when admissions standards are pretty low and we are being taught basics that everyone should have learn in undergrad (i.e. learning the difference between qualitative and quantitative research, lessons on how to work in a group, etc.).

  42. Pingback: Notes from a Discontent | Alex in Libraryland

  43. Pingback: Library School Too Easy? | catladylibrarian

  44. I have to go on a bit of a rant in on this thread. I graduated with my MLIS this past December and have no regrets. Librarians really have no room to complain about poor pay, lack of respect, and other negative issues if they’re going to disrespect the academic programs from which they earned their degrees. I have worked in libraries as a paraprofessional for a number of years. When I finally got to the point of being able to pursue the professional degree, I had librarians tell me, “Oh, it’s an easy degree; it’s just a lot of busy work.” Or, “Oh, it’s just training for practitioners;it’s vocational.” It was as if they were trying to discourage me from taking the plunge, yet they all love what they do.
    What was that all about?

    Since I have held on to this goal for quite awhile, nothing or no one was going to sway me not to pursue my MLIS. I can’t think of any other degree I would want to go for; I love this field and have for years. I have not been disappointed in my program at all. My classes were face-to-face; the community of students and faculty was supportive, like-minded, and engaging. I had opportunities to contribute my knowledge of the field (I’ve been given numerous professional tasks throughout my career as a para), to participate in engaging, intelligent class discussions, to bring newly acquired skills to my current position, and to learn from my classmates. In no way do I feel that my time in the program was a waste. I achieved my goal, learned new skills and contributed knowledge, networked with many interesting faculty, staff, and students, formed great friendships, completed numerous projects/assignments that required critical thinking, practical knowledge, good research and writing skills, etc.

    If there is a feeling that library school is not “up to par”, then maybe it isn’t for you. Perhaps pursuing a different degree (undergrad, grad, certificate, vocational) makes more sense. I would really be happy to hear more positive comments and experiences from library school students and grads. Let’s boost morale, elevate our profession, and move forward to keep our libraries relevant and essential!

  45. Pingback: Best of Semester One « Hack Library School

  46. Pingback: Things I Did and Did Not Learn in Library School | Academic Librarian

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