Through her research, teaching, and mentoring of grad students at the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-M), Rebekah Willett works to narrow the gulf between the often enclosed academic arena and the outside world. “By offering students [opportunities] in ‘real world’ situations, I aim to connect their experiences to theories and ideas we’re covering in class,” deepening both, she says.
Students get to spring and each new semester first with their youth, enthusiasm, commitment to our profession, their innovation and creativity. For me that means they have an edge over we older librarians. We are a bit burned out after our endless struggles to serve through the winters of librarianship, the chronic budget and other shortages that have always made librarianship more difficult and, alas, eroded our professional morale.
The students, meanwhile, believe anew in our core values and carry on our profession’s enthusiastic desire and willingness to serve. They enthusiastically observe and share our faith in the redemptive power of good libraries in a community.
What should the LIS core look like in 2012 and beyond? For sure, it will always include an overview of our history and foundations. Our core values remain, even as delivery methods and priorities shift. Beyond that, I envision core courses focused on three important areas: how people access, use, and create information; how technology impacts and extends our world; and how librarians can show leadership in these two areas to serve and better their communities.