Honored to have written a third joint column with Aaron Schmidt!
Recent articles from voices in the field of library and information science (LIS) have questioned the value of the MLIS or pointed toward an uncertain and evolving future. Former LJ editor in chief Michael Kelley’s “Can We Talk About the MLS?” garnered much attention. Kelley argues that the profession should have a serious conversation about the values and merits of formalized, professional LIS education. Is the library degree, in his words, “an expensive and unnecessarily exclusionary credential”? Kelley’s call for discussion is a sound one and is echoed in Brian Kenney’s similarly themed piece in Publishers Weekly, “So You Think You Want To Be a Librarian?” Kenney’s frank approach looks beyond collections to interaction: “Librarianship today is about greeting each customer (in person or online) and making sure that his or her library visit is one of the best experiences of the day.”
These articles struck a nerve; the resulting links, comments, and discussion serve as evidence of librarians’ interest in the topic and, perhaps, their sensitivities to these issues. Why the consternation? Librarians want libraries to succeed, and they know that libraries must evolve in order to succeed. The future of libraries is closely linked to the skills of newly minted librarians.