Although Forbes magazine recently named the MLIS the worst masters degree to get, actual librarians largely disagree, a survey conducted by the Library Research Service of Colorado State Library found. In May 2011, nearly 2500 respondents from all 50 United States and 15 countries answered a 60-Second Survey The Value of an MLIS Degree to You. Some 79 percent agreed or strongly agreed that their MLIS was worth the time and money invested in it, though it is worth noting that respondents who’ve had the degree the longest were the most likely to think so.
Some 92 percent of those who’ve had the degree for 16 years or more say it was worth it; nearly 90 percent of those who have had the degree 11-15 years, and 80 percent of those who’ve had the degree six to ten years. Only about two thirds of those who’ve had the degree one to five years say it was worth it, and those that do are less likely to strongly agree. What is not clear from these results is whether the value of an MLIS has degraded recently, perhaps due to the continuing weak economic climate, or whether it just takes more than five years to recoup its value.
Almost two-thirds of respondents (63 percent) said they’d recommend pursuing an MLIS degree to someone else if asked today, with one-fourth of respondents indicating they would “highly recommend” it. Close to one in six respondents would not recommend pursuing the degree, 14 percent were not sure, and 7 percent would actively dissuade others from pursuing an MLIS.
Of write-in comments, those about intrinsic value were overwhelmingly positive at 94 percent, and comments about career advancement and content of the coursework trended solidly positive as well. Negative commentary was largely reserved for external factors: perception of the profession, personal financial impact, and the job market, which received 94 percent negative commentary.