Magazine article American Libraries

How You Can Help Save Library Education. (on My Mind)

Magazine article American Libraries

How You Can Help Save Library Education. (on My Mind)

Article excerpt

Much concern has been voiced recently about the state of library education: Not enough graduates are being produced. Those who graduate know little about the traditional values and practices of librarianship. Too few faculty in ALA-accredited programs have a grounding in librarianship. Many so-called "library schools" show less and less interest in serving libraries.

I began teaching library science full-time in 1996, after 13 years as a library practitioner, so I feel that I have a clear view of both sides of the fence. From my dual vantage point, I have identified 14 ways that you as a committed library practitioner can bolster library education.

Unless you are part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Choose your favorite one, two, or three of the ideas below and get going.

* Understand that saving library education is your responsibility. If our precious enterprise is to be transmitted to the next generation, each of us has a role to play.

* Get a Ph.D. so that you can teach. This one isn't easy, but programs cannot hire faculty with strong library backgrounds unless there are such candidates in the hiring pools, and currently there are very few.

* Teach as an adjunct. Contact the director of your favorite program and convey your willingness. The ALA Office for Accreditation maintains a directory at

* Offer to speak to classes. Let the teachers in your specialization know that you are available. The OA directory includes links to program Web sites, where you can find their names.

* Participate in alumni groups. Your presence and interest will increase the administration and faculty's openness to addressing your concerns, If your alma mater does not have an alumni or Friends group, offer to start one.

* Build relationships with library school administrators and faculty. Take library educators out for coffee. Invite them to speak at your meetings. Ask their advice as you develop certification program proposals for ALA's new Allied Professional Association ( Seek faculty participation as you plan in-house staff training.

I understand that attempting to communicate with educators can be difficult. If it is any consolation, it is difficult from the educator's perspective as well. …

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