After years of struggling to get its house in order, the Masters of Library Science (MLS) program at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) lost its American Library Association (ALA) accreditation last week. While faculty and administrators hope to take the withdrawal as an opportunity to focus their efforts at revitalizing the troubled program, the withdrawal of ALA accreditation is a serious blow to the school.
Online MLS programs have become more and more widespread, offering people who don’t live near an American Library Association (ALA) accredited university, who work full time, or who are otherwise unable to attend a traditional Master’s program the chance to get their library science degree through online coursework. The perception of these programs, according to a recent poll on the blog Hiring Librarians, hasn’t kept pace with their prevalence. The informal survey found that some librarians remain concerned about the quality of these programs, and question whether they provide students the skills to succeed in the field.
Community outrage over having weeded a quarter of a million books into dumpsters isn’t the kind of public relations brouhaha that any library relishes dealing with. That scandal, though, may be the least of the problems for the Fairfax County Public Library, VA, (FCPL) where the library’s Board of Trustees has pressed pause on implementing a strategic plan that was supposed to help guide the library forward.
I was sad and angry when Mike Kelley’s editorial triggered a host of attacks on the credential with which I began my career. I already worked at the Reading Public Library, MA, when I enrolled in the MLS program at the School of Library Science at Simmons College. It was just before I turned 30, more than five decades ago. The studies for the MLS at Simmons made me a far better practicing librarian than I expected they would. Most important, they converted me from an amateur librarian to a professional.
Many efforts to diversify the ranks of librarians focus on well-intentioned but expensive projects to recruit a small number of aspiring students who may, or may not, become long-term members of the profession. For example, in April the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) gave a grant of $487,652 to support a joint diversity […]
I have a gift for picking despised professional niches. I used to run institutional repositories, and if there’s a niche in academic librarianship more despised than that, I’m honestly not sure what it might be. From the frying pan into the fire—now I teach library school. If nothing else, I’ve greatly expanded the universe of librarians and archivists who despise my work!
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?