August 14, 2017

Library Education

Formula for Success | Office Hours

How do we “build a librarian” for 21st-century information work? It’s an ongoing discussion in libraries and LIS programs that has many sides and a range of opinion. Some argue that while library school offers the foundations, theories, and service concepts of the profession, on-the-job experience seasons the information professional for doing the work. I would argue it is a mix of all of these things and more.

The Midcareer MLIS | LIS Education

When it comes to what makes a good librarian, the first requirement is experience—whether in the library, working with records, or talking to patrons and students. But sometimes there is no substitute for earning a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree—either to meet the benchmarks necessary to further a career already in progress, or to shift from an (often already successful) path in another profession.

Why Social Justice in the Library? | Outreach + Inreach

Libraries of all types are reevaluating the role they play in their community, questioning whether it is still good enough to provide equal access, or if it is time to pursue an active equitable access that focuses on empowering the less powerful and amplifying the voices of the unheard.

Teach Library Politics: Missing and Neglected Content in LIS Programs | Blatant Berry

My alma mater, Boston’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, just asked me to complete a survey on what ought to be in its LIS curriculum. The survey’s hierarchy descended in priority from “core,” the things every graduate should have studied. There were five or six levels offered, but I only used the top three: “core,” “very important,” and “important.” The questions covered nearly everything I would have tried to fit into the crowded LIS curriculum.

Tolerance Is Not Good Enough | BackTalk

In early 2017, a call for chapter proposals began circulating on library Listservs for a forthcoming book titled Tolerance: Social Justice and Activism in Libraries, Moving Beyond Diversity to Action. The aim of the book is to discuss how librarians can take diversity, social justice, and social change to the next level and promote tolerance in libraries. As a librarian, scholar, and educator who specializes in issues of diversity and social justice, and how to integrate them into LIS pedagogy and education, I was instantly taken aback by the use of the word tolerance. Tolerance and diversity are not words I regularly put together; in fact, I view them in opposition to each other.

Protecting Patron Privacy

Recently, I was teaching a privacy class for librarians, and the topic turned to the privacy versus convenience trade-off—the occasional annoyances of using privacy-enhancing technologies online. An audience member laid out what she felt I was asking of the group. “You’re telling us to start selling granola when everyone else is running a candy store.”

Cultivating Curiosity in Libraries

Teachers and those who study learning have long known that curiosity is important to the learning process and better outcomes. But what causes it, how to encourage it, and even how to define it have proved the concept more complicated than it first appears. Now, recent studies suggest that the desire to know more may be quantifiable, which could provide librarians and other educators with new tools for leveraging curiosity to improve how people process and relate to information.

The Devalued MLIS: ALA’s Leader Must Be a Librarian | Blatant Berry

For nearly all 140 years of the existence of the American Library Association (ALA), its Executive Director (ED) has been a professional librarian. Today, the credential required to ensure that the ED is a librarian is the Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree. However, a group of ALA councilors and Executive Board members apparently wanted to change that.

Adopt or Adapt? | Office Hours

“I already feel behind. I’m not an early adopter and do not want to be. Is there a place for those not drawn to the newest and shiniest tech?” read an email from an LIS student expressing concern about finding her way through the discussions and applications of emerging technologies in the field. There is a place for you, I replied, but it requires shifting perspective a bit and looking beyond technology.

Jenna Hartel | LJ/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award Winner 2016

On her website, Jenna Hartel talks of “a different character of LIS”—one rooted in positivity, curiosity, and proactivity. It’s what she calls “the bright side of information,” a focus on the upbeat aspect of library studies that has won Hartel, associate professor on the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto (U of T), a special spot in the hearts of her students and fellow faculty members—and the 2016 Library Journal/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award, sponsored by ­Rowman & Littlefield.