John Berry, in an editorial at LJ, ponders Michael Gorman’s legacy as president of ALA:
A traditionalist with whom I frequently agree, and just as frequently don’t, Gorman alienated the newest constituency in our professional ranks early on. He attacked the young and not-so-young library bloggers in these very pages (“Revenge of the Blog People,” BackTalk, LJ 2/15/05, p. 44). That, coupled with Gorman’s view that a more traditional approach to library education ought to balance the field’s obsessions with new information technology, turned off a huge number of the young technolibrarians so prominent in librarianship now.
The Gorman initiative largely missed input from them and other students and recent graduates so vocal on the blogs, the discussion lists, and the other new channels of Library 2.0. These folks may not have been intentionally excluded, but they didn’t show up. Perhaps they weren’t invited, the venues at conferences were beyond their means, or the publicity about meetings on the initiative didn’t reach them. Of course, it could have also been neglect or a conscious choice on their part. Whatever the case, after all that effort, we still don’t know what current students and recent graduates really think about the educations upon which they spend so much money.
He also addresses the need for LIS education to change:
Whether or not library education faces a “crisis,” there is a crying need for change, and while some is going on, it is piecemeal and localized. Librarianship requires graduates from programs designed to respond to national trends in information, leisure, technology, and entertainment and the need for civic awareness and community. ALA’s national leadership must help effect that change, and ALA accreditation ought to be a component.
Amen. I wish the dialogue during Gorman’s presidency would have gone differently and had found its way to everyone who might have an opinion. I’m pleased with and proud of every LIS student that blogs their coursework, opinions and views of their education and the profession. Sometimes I think it should be a requirement for LIS students to journal their thinking via a tool like blogs — it not only improves writing skills but it give folks some experience with the great online conversation playing out even as I type. And the fact that one of my former students moved another student’s essay from Blackboard to her blog because “once a great post is generated, it is lost forever” there speaks to me that today’s LIS student may want to work in a more open, social, connected environment of conversations.
Berry hits the nail on the head for me as well: “Librarianship requires graduates from programs designed to respond to national trends in information, leisure, technology, and entertainment and the need for civic awareness and community. Are we teaching what’s happening right now with content creation, the growth of YouTube, howiTunes is changing the way consumers think about media, what Starbucks seeking to reinvigorate the brand means for libraries, and so on…
How does/did your LIS program measure up?