the MLS….

Yesterday, I was thinking about the MLS. I don’t know much about the tradition of the degree, but I think there are some real issues. I am not sure that the MLS does what the MLS says it does. keep in mind, I am not a big advocate of certification in general, but I think the MLS is a certification. The issue is that it is a huge, 30-36 credit, that is 10-12 course program of study at most schools. I think that this causes some issues with what an MLS is. It on the one hand looks like a professional program of study, like an MBA or and MPA, but is in fact a certificate to be a librarian, or occasionally archivist, etc. This causes a great deal of tension. I think that the certificate part of the MLS needs to be stripped out and put into a certificate program. This program would be a 3 or 4 course program that could would be a graduate certificate. Then the ALA could provide a certificatory exam based on those 3-4 courses. The curriculum in those courses could be standardized, and then students would know that if you do those courses and pass the exam, you can be an ALA accredited librarian. Here is the caveat. You should not be able to take that exam without a Master’s degree. That master’s or higher degree could be an MLS or it might be in say Digital Humanities, information systems, art history, or anything really. So Master’s Degree + 12 credits + Test = Librarian . This would resolve, in my mind, the issues around whether a MLS can prepare someone to be a Systems Librarian. What are people’s thoughts? does this make sense?

0 comments on “the MLS….

  1. I think it depends on the school. The MLIS degree I earned from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was just as rigorous and difficult as the Masters in Literature I got from Washington State University. The classes were just as hard, the projects and research just as intense. That being said, I know colleagues who have attended other schools, and said that their MLIS or MLS programs were somewhat of a joke. I don’t think that an MLS will entirely prepare you to be a systems librarian at all. Definitely not with the classes that were offered back when I got my degree (6 years ago), and not even now, judging from the classes being offered at most of the schools, though things have gotten better. I’d recommend taking classes in the Computer Science department concurrently with your MLS if you can, and taking as many professional education webcasts, online classes, and other learning opportunities outside the traditional program if you want to come out truly prepared for that specialty.