Michael Kelley’s April 29, 2013 editorial “Can We Talk about the MLS?” and the 157 comments posted to that article so far prompted us to consider accountability for the American Library Association’s (ALA) accreditation of graduate programs in library and information science. The ALA Standards emphasize what programs must accomplish in terms of strategic planning and student learning outcomes. ALA does not dictate what those outcomes should be nor does it specify any particular courses that must be offered in an MLIS program. So, what does it mean to be a graduate of an ALA accredited program?
Can we have a rational discussion about the MLS? Why is the MLS indispensable? What does it confer that could not be accumulated incrementally on the job just as well? Most important, can’t we have a fraternal, respected, and smart profession without overreliance on an expensive and unnecessarily exclusionary credential?