Monday, December 04, 2006

To be (an MLS) or not to be (an MLS).... Is that the question?

The prevailing wisdom in Library Land is the more MLS (Masters in Library Science) librarians a library has, the better the library. It might surprise some people that our Library has only two MLS librarians who are part of our team. Today's public libraries are complex multifaceted organizations. Techno gurus, youth advocates, media aficionados, community activists, avid readers, former educators - people with different educational backgrounds and different work experiences bring different skills and different perspectives to our Library. The diversity of our management team makes our Library a better, stronger, and more relevant place to our community.

While I do believe that there is no substitute for a formal library education, be it the mighty MLS from an American Library Association accredited institution or the powerful LTA (Library Technical Assistant) certificate from a respected community college; I also believe that there is no substitute for enthusiasm, great people skills, creativity, ties to the community, and good old fashion experience. I would much rather have a non-degreed person with library experience, who was innovative and willing to do back flips for the good of our Library and community, than a professional MLS librarian who has no people skills and no interest in our Library or community - other than collecting a pay check.

I would encourage anyone who is seriously interested in making libraries their career to pursue the MLS, and if pursuing the MLS is a little too daunting at this stage of life, go for the LTA. This is an extremely exciting time to be a librarian. We are in the process of redefining library services for a new generation of library users. Librarians are the pioneers, the astronauts of cyberspace. You could help determine the fate of libraries, influence the availability of books and information, empower the masses. Is this your destiny? It is up to you to decide.

Cindy Fuerst
Kankakee Public Library Director


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would it surprise you to know that I only have an Associates Degree in Comp Sci?

Although I value the education and validation that a degree affords, I really think that experience and enthusiasm have really been overlooked. I also think that degrees in other majors, majors that are cetrainly valuable in a library setting (or your career setting), are sometimes overlooked when deciding who might be best for a position.

Having a degree in the appropriate subject area for your career choice is always best, but I think that having to spend the money and time on said degree when you already have loads of education and experience seems kind of silly to me.

I mean, now that you know that I don't have a BS in Comp Sci are you not going to let me fix your computers anymore? Or have a proven that I have the skills to do so already?

December 07, 2006 9:55 AM  
Blogger Lions-Online said...

Just an Associates Degree?????

Yer fired!

Just kidding.

December 12, 2006 5:28 PM  

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