Sorry I can’t let this go, but the job ad with the recent MLS preference has been bugging me. I can’t quite figure out why the preference.
Thus, I’m going to try to figure out the best arguments Pro and Con requiring a recent MLS.
The best I can come up with is the belief that certain kinds of skills, in this case tech skills, will be fresher for people who have recently graduated from library school.
This makes some sense. Some courses in library schools are related to technology in an advanced way. I’m leaving out any course where the students write blogs or play Guitar Hero. I mean the programming and web development ones.
If a librarian gained some of those skills in library school, but has been working in a position for a few years that doesn’t require updating them, then it’s likely that the recent MLS will have an advantage technologically.
Okay, that’s about the best I can do.
One of the perennial complaints of libraries is that library schools are supposedly not preparing new graduates adequately for employment.
Library school is a professional school, they might say, and thus it should train graduates to work in libraries from Day 1.
However, the whole idea of a school being professional is that it’s supposed to be educating people to look at the big picture.
Regardless of the wrong-headedness of this thinking, it’s true that new librarians, especially those with little prior library experience, aren’t ready to step into a professional position and immediately begin performing at a high level. It takes time to learn how to be a librarian.
The training to be a librarian comes with the first job, or with previous library experience. That’s why so many jobs require “two year’s professional experience” or some variation of it.
That’s a tacit acknowledgement that some jobs out there are for beginners who will move on to other places requiring more experience from their librarians, whether it’s a higher level position, a larger library system, or whatever.
I seem to have meandered back into the Pro category. Preferring a recent MLS could also be a signal that at job isn’t going to pay well and has little long term future. It’s a step towards a better job in 2-3 years.
However, in the example from the ad last week, it’s not a step, because it’s not a professional job. Non-professional jobs preferring these qualifications aren’t even providing the professional benefits of the unpleasant first library jobs so many people have to take.
Just the opposite, they would be removing librarians from professional advancement, possibly forever. The longer someone is out of school without a professional job, the harder it gets to find one.
Non-professional jobs preferring professional degrees do, or librarians with MLSs taking nonprofessional jobs, have their pros and cons. Unfortunately, the Pros are confined to the employer, and the Cons all to the employee.