Education for Special Librarianship

By Hill, Linda L. | Special Libraries, Fall 1990 | Go to article overview

Education for Special Librarianship


Hill, Linda L., Special Libraries


Education for Special Librarianship

* The Special Library Association's Policy Statement on Graduate Education (Appendix) of April 1988 presents in general terms improvements that are recommended in the educational program for the first professional degree, i.e. the MLS. This Statement is put in the context of the ALA accreditation process, Robert Taylor's recommendations for an MLS curriculum, and a current view point about education for academic librarianship. Suggestions are made toward a fuller statement of the educational requirements of special librarians.

The Special Libraries Association (SLA), in its April 1988 Position Statement on Graduate Education expresses concern "that many library schools' curricula do not offer the type or the range of educational experiences necessary to prepare students for careers in special librarianship."

They are not alone in putting forth recommendations for the improvement of the course of study that leads to the first professional degree in librarianship--variously named but usually referred to as the Master's of Library Science (MLS). The literature on education for librarianship is full of suggestions for improvement; the SLA Statement adds a new special library orientation to the discussion

The SLA Statement is limited to "those areas of current curriculum which require expansion or modification to meet the educational needs of potential special librarians." It is not, therefore, a complete outline of a recommended special library plan of study. The assumption is made in the Statement that "the competencies, skills, and attitudes derived from an accredited MLS program are important in any information environment." It presumes that basics such as cataloging, classification, and reference service, are part of the special librarian's education. The Statement also limits its recommendations to the library/information science component of graduate education and does not deal with the need for subject specific knowledge which is gained through other degree programs.

The SLA Statement, printed in full in the Appendix, is organized into five areas:

* Provision of information services;

* Technology;

* Management;

* Information resource (includes methods of

organization); and

* Information service/product evaluation

The detailed requirements recommended for each section are pragmatic in nature, emphasizing the competencies needed by practitioners in special library settings.

To paraphrase the SLA Statement, "information services" require skills and methodology for project research, systems analysis and design, management and administration, problem definition and solution, decision-making, and the capability of performing "exhaustive database searching."

In the technology area, students need a knowledge of the variety of systems available, the capabilities and limitations of each and the compatibility among different systems. Competency in systems analysis and design and "advanced knowledge of computer science" is required. SLA believes that the management demands on special librarians, because they "are placed in management positions early in their careers," are far greater than other librarians. Therefore, future special librarians need to understand general business management and organizational behavior to be able to communicate and work with other managerial personnel in the organizaiton. They must also be able to understand and manage the flow of all types of information on an organizational level. Specifically, SLA says that there is a need for greater emphasis on communications, human resources issues, planning, budgeting and finance, marketing, cost effective performance, productivity, profitability, and leadership.

To be prepared to manage the information resources needed by the library's clients, special librarians need instruction in database design, indexing and abstracting methods, including thesaurus development, in addition to the basic skills of user needs analysis and collection development.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Education for Special Librarianship
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.