LIS Education Past, Present, and Future:
A Bibliography for the 2019 Indaba “Why Libraries, Why Librarians?”
Note: The last Indaba “Ending Racism” was held in April 2018 and is videoarchived at https://publish.illinois.edu/ischoolincolor/indaba/
We appreciate the help of Linda C. Smith and others in assembling this bibliography.
“#LISEd15: 2015 Symposium on LIS Education.” Organized by the UIUC ALA Student Chapter with co-sponsorship from the Graduate College and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Held in Champaign, Illinois, April 10-11, 2015. Conference archive including videos of sessions at https://lisedsymposium.wordpress.com
Abels, E. G., Howarth, L. C., & Smith, L. C. (2017). Envisioning our information future and how to educate for it. Boston, MA; Toronto, ON; Champaign, IL: The #InfoFuture Project. pdf Project archive at http://slis.simmons.edu/blogs/ourinformationfuture/
Allen, Walter C., and Robert F. Delzell. 1992. Ideals and Standards : The History of the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science, 1893-1993. Champaign, IL : The Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. pdf
American Library Association. No date. “Knowledge and competencies statements.” ALA Website. http://www.ala.org/educationcareers/careers/corecomp/corecompspecial/knowledgecompetencies
Bertot, John Carlo, Lindsey C. Sarin, & Johnna Percell. (2015). Re-Envisioning the MLS: Findings, Issues, and Considerations. College Park: University of Maryland College of Information Studies. pdf
The last several years have been marked by a number of societal challenges and changes that include the evolving nature of our economy; the workforce skills needed to succeed in a shifting job market; advances in technology; the changing nature of information; transformations in education and learning approaches; and rapid demographic shifts occurring in our communities (ALA, 2014). As we consider the future of our information organizations such as libraries, archives, and museums, we need to simultaneously focus on the future of the Master of Library Science (MLS) degree (and its variants) and how we prepare information professionals for their careers. The opportunity to rethink MLS education led the University of Maryland’s iSchool and Information Policy & Access Center (iPAC) to launch the Re-Envisioning the MLS initiative in August 2014 to seek answers to the following questions:
- What is the value of an MLS degree?
- What does the future MLS degree look like?
- What should the future MLS degree look like?
- What are the competencies, attitudes, and abilities that future library and information professionals need?
- What distinguishes the Maryland iSchool’s MLS program from other MLS programs?
- What distinguishes the Maryland iSchool’s MLS program graduates from other MLS program graduates?
The Re-Envisioning the MLS initiative involved multiple activities that included the creation of the MLS Program’s inaugural Advisory Board; a speaker’s series; engagement sessions; stakeholder/community discussions; blog entries to document findings and promote further discussion; the development of a white paper for discussion purposes; and environmental scanning and research.
Chancellor, Renate L. “Crossing the Globe: Why Studying Abroad Is Essential to the Future of LIS Education.” Journal of Education for Library & Information Science 59, no. 3 (2018): 41-52. pdf
Increasingly, Library and Information Science (LIS) programs are offering study-abroad opportunities for students to have broader global classroom experiences to gain knowledge and exposure and to think beyond the confines of geographic boundaries. While study-abroad courses have long been a part of undergraduate and graduate education in North America, few opportunities exist for students in LIS. This paper argues for their continued offering as well as for the creation of new study-abroad courses in LIS. The simple reason is that global study programs help students understand the interconnectedness and interdependence of the world (Smith, Hallam, & Ghosh, 2012). They expose students to other practices in the information professions and create opportunities for library science programs to tap into new markets for recruitment. They also foster critical thinking on a range of issues including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, and gender. A study-abroad program will serve as a model for discussing these factors as well as pedagogy, strategies for student learning, and cross-classroom collaboration.
Clarke, Rachel Ivy, and Young-In Kim. “The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Educational and Disciplinary Backgrounds of American Librarians, 1950–2015.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 59, no. 4 (2018): 179-205. pdf
Discussions of diversity in American librarianship usually focus on gender or ethnicity, but historical studies also show a lack of diversity in educational and disciplinary backgrounds. Librarians traditionally hail from the humanities, especially English and history. But as current educational attention shifts to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, are librarians reflecting this change? Anonymized data from ALA-accredited graduate programs from the last five years were collected, coded, and classified to determine librarians’ educational and disciplinary backgrounds and in what ways, if any, they differ from the past 65 years and from the contemporary US general population. Unsurprisingly, we found that contemporary librarians still hail predominantly from English and history—a stark contrast from the business and health undergraduate degrees earned by the general US population. Backgrounds in STEM fields remain lacking in librarianship, but librarians with undergraduate education in the arts are on the rise, perhaps supporting the creativity, flexibility, innovation, and risk taking necessary in twenty-first-century libraries.
Gorman, Michael. 2015. Our enduring values revisited: librarianship in an ever-changing world. Chicago: ALA Editions. pdf
“In recent years there has been a sea change in the way much of the world thinks about and uses libraries. Young librarians and seasoned LIS professionals alike are experiencing increasing pressure to adjust to new economic, societal, and technological demands amidst the often-dire rhetoric currently surrounding the future of our institutions. Gorman reconnects readers with the core values that continue to inspire generations of library professionals and scholars while making the case that these values are doubly crucial to hold on to in the brave new shifting world of librarianship.”
Library education is changing. At a time when librarianship is increasingly seen as part of the information industry, Library and Information Science is also searching for its place in a new and rapidly developing university landscape. This book analyzes the development of the contemporary university in light of present critical social theory, focusing on such aspects as academic acceleration, organizational accretion and the rise of an ”entrepreneurial spirit,” all of which have both epistemological and organizational consequences. Library and Information Science has proven well-suited to meet this development. One way has been through the rapid international growth of the iSchool movement, now counting close to a hundred member schools all across the world. iSchools not only meet the requirements of contemporary university development, but also contribute to a recontextualization of librarianship and library education. As the iSchool movement relates to a view of information as a commodity and the ”iField” to increased economic growth, it recontextualizes the library sector, traditionally connected to democratic development based on the ideas of the Enlightenment. Examples such as the EU research platform, Horizon 2020, Government Research Proposals, and policy documents from European iSchools are used in an attempt to understand the current development in Library and Information Science and its relevance for librarianship. As the European Research and Development Sector increasingly connects universities to the solution of various ”social challenges” with emphasis on commercial collaborations, the view on knowledge and use of university resources are affected in a way which seemingly make critical analyses difficult. Questions are asked about the relation between iSchools, late capitalism and the development of Critical Librarianship. Is there a way of fulfilling the ambitions of the critical theory classics and achieve research and an education environment which encourage emancipatory goals within the iSchool movement?
Hussey, Lisa K., and Jennifer Campbell-Meier. “Developing professional identity in LIS?” Education for Information 32, no. 4 (2016): 343-357. pdf
Identity is the core of who we are as individuals. It shapes how we present ourselves, our expectations of how we interact with others and their treatment of us, and forms the basis of what we believe are our capabilities and potential. Identity is not limited to individuals, but also includes groups, such as clubs, organizations, and professions. In fact, identification within a profession is an essential rite of passage, which often follows the completion of an educational degree or an intensive training program, both of which have a strong influence on the construction and shape of the individual’s professional identity. While in MLIS programs, like many undergraduate programs, students develop a sense of community, which is reinforced through internships, work experiences and membership in professional organizations. The context of a community is key to the development of professional. Interdisciplinary fields, such as library and information science, use these communities to share information across disciplines and develop academic norms. LIS educators help to develop this identity through course work and interactions with students. As a result, LIS educators need to understand their role and how their teaching contributes to the profession holistically rather than focus on individual positions or roles.
Latham, Kiersten F. “Lumping, splitting and the integration of museum studies with LIS.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 56, no. 2 (2015): 130-140. pdf
This paper is an attempt to support and promote education programs that cover the entire cultural heritage landscape (libraries, archives, museums) as an integrated, larger meta-discipline. By taking a larger picture approach, professionals who do the work of memory institutions can be more effective in their work, in the promotion of that profession, and increase public value of all related institutions and their purposes. Through the description of the integrated museum studies specialization at Kent State University School of Library and Information Science, this paper aims to provide one example of how this can work, first by describing the role of Library and Information Science (LIS) as a meta-discipline, next by discussing the changing landscape of cultural heritage professional education, and finally by describing in detail the new Kent State integrated museum studies specialization. The infusion of museum studies with LIS is discussed as a part of a larger movement toward integration of training information professionals in the entire cultural heritage sector.
Lawson, Stuart, Kevin Sanders, and Lauren Smith. “Commodification of the information profession: A critique of higher education under neoliberalism.” Journal of librarianship and scholarly communication 3, no. 1 (2015). pdf
The structures that govern society’s understanding of information have been reorganised under a neoliberal worldview to allow information to appear and function as a commodity. This has implications for the professional ethics of library and information labour, and the need for critical reflexivity in library and information praxes is not being met. A lack of theoretical understanding of these issues means that the political interests governing decision-making are going unchallenged, for example the UK government’s specific framing of open access to research. We argue that building stronger, community oriented praxes of critical depth can serve as a resilient challenge to the neoliberal politics of the current higher education system in the UK and beyond. Critical information literacy offers a proactive, reflexive and hopeful strategy to challenge hegemonic assumptions about information as a commodity.
Maceli, Monica. “Creating tomorrow’s technologists: contrasting information technology curriculum in North American library and information science graduate programs against Code4lib job listings.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 56, no. 3 (2015): 198-212. pdf
This research study explores technology-related course offerings in ALA-accredited library and information science (LIS) graduate programs in North America. These data are juxtaposed against a text analysis of several thousand LIS-specific technology job listings from the Code4lib jobs website. Starting in 2003, as a popular library technology mailing list, Code4lib has since expanded to an annual conference in the United States and a job-posting website. The study found that database and web design/development topics continued to dominate course offerings with diverse sub-topics covered. Strong growth was noted in the area of user experience but a lack of related jobs for librarians was identified. Analysis of the job listings revealed common technology-centric librarian and non-librarian job titles, as well as frequently correlated requirements for technology skillsets relating to the popular foci of web design/development and metadata. Finally, this study presents a series of suggestions for LIS educators in order that they continue to keep curriculum aligned with current technology employment requirements.
Pawley, Christine. “Hegemony’s Handmaid? The Library and Information Studies Curriculum from a Class Perspective,” The Library Quarterly 68, no. 2 (Apr., 1998): 123-144. pdf
The field of library and information studies (LIS) has traditionally avoided class analysis in favor of two other perspectives: pluralism and managerialism. Whereas pluralism focuses on the behavior of interacting individuals, and managerialism emphasizes organizations treated as systems, a relational class perspective argues that the LIS curriculum is just one of a constellation of middle-class practices aimed at maintaining hegemonic control by the dominant class. At least since the 1923 Williamson Report, four focal areas that relate to the theory and practice of cultural hegemony have preoccupied the LIS curricular field: links with the corporate world, professionalization, aspiration to scientific status, and stratification of literacy and of institutions. Hegemony, however, is never complete; historically some librarians and LIS educators have resisted ideological domination. For the newly emerging “information profession” to avoid political naivete, the LIS curriculum should include social theory as a tool for rigorous, theoretical, and empowering analysis of current far-ranging societal changes.
Pawley, Christine. “Unequal legacies: Race and multiculturalism in the LIS curriculum.” The Library Quarterly 76, no. 2 (2006): 149-168. pdf
Race remains poorly understood and inadequately represented in library and information science (LIS) education. Educators tend to avoid the term “race,” preferring the more inclusive “multiculturalism.” Yet these terms are far from equivalent: the various dimensions of multiculturalism, including race, ethnicity, class, and gender, have different histories and different theoretical explanations. Four models dominate LIS research and teaching: science/technology, business/management, mission/service, and society/culture. Each has left its own racialized legacy, invisibly influencing the field’s current concepts of race. Drawing on recent research into “whiteness” and racial formation, I show that although each model transmits an inheritance that perpetuates white privilege, each also carries the potential for positive transformation. Arguing that courses in all four areas have the capability to foreground race, the article outlines ways in which faculty, students, and library practitioners together can make curricular changes that contribute to the creation of libraries as “nonwhite” or “race-neutral” spaces.
Saunders, Laura. “Core and More: Examining Foundational and Specialized Content in Library and Information Science.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 60, no. 1 (2019): 3-34. pdf
A master’s degree from an ALA-accredited institution can prepare graduates for a wide range of job functions and career paths, but the variety of jobs raises some questions about how LIS programs are meeting the wide range and evolving needs of employers in order to best prepare students for professional positions. What knowledge, skills, and aptitudes (KSAs) are necessary for practitioners? What are common competencies and foundational areas of knowledge that apply across information settings and job functions, and which skills and competencies are specialized enough to be relevant only to certain positions? This study reports on the results of a nationwide survey of over 2,000 practicing information professionals and LIS faculty who were asked to rate 53 skills and competencies as core or specialized. The findings identified 11 core KSAs but also suggest that areas of emphasis vary by type of information setting. The findings have implications for LIS programs and faculty.
Turner, Deborah, and Tim Gorichanaz. “Old skills and new practices mean radical change for library education.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 57, no. 3 (2016): 239-248. pdf
Technological advances and other societal change have resulted in public libraries’ increased reliance on online resources when providing access to information. However, a portion of those served by public libraries includes members of urban poor populations who may prefer to interact with information by talking. How can library educators ensure graduates are prepared to serve these populations? Using the participatory action research method this paper reports the Oral Present research project. This project is part of an on-going study conducted to identify how public libraries studied meet the information needs of this constituency. Results reveal how current service practices involve a radical twist on using traditional collection development skills. Discussion includes recommendations to ensure library education curricula can better prepare graduates for applying age-old professional practices in radical new ways.
University of Illinois School of Information Sciences. 2018. Self-Study of the Master of Science in Library and Information Science. [A report for purposes of ALA accreditation]. August 6, 2018. pdf
Wiegand, Wayne A. “Falling short of their profession’s needs: Education and research in Library & Information Studies.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 58, no. 1 (2017): 39-43. pdf
By taking a “library in the life of the user” rather than the conventional “user in the life of the library” perspective in his research on Part of Our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library (2015), the author concludes that Americans have loved their public libraries for three reasons: information access, the library as place, and the commonplace stories that libraries supply by the billions. It is the view of the author that library and information studies research and education concentrate most attention on the first, hardly any on the last two, and as a result, fall short of meeting their profession’s needs.
Xue, Chunxiang, Xiuzhi Wu, Lei Zhu, and Heting Chu. “Challenges in LIS Education in China and the United States.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 60, no. 1 (2019): 35-61. pdf
For decades, library and information science (LIS) education has been producing LIS professionals to serve people in all walks of life. But there are challenges to LIS education as society advances. This study performed quantitative and qualitative content analyses of data collected about LIS education in China and the United States. Four categories of challenges in LIS education are identified: (1) identity and accreditation, (2) survival and thriving, (3) curriculum update and enhancement, and (4) course delivery format and content. The challenges that each country encounters in LIS, as expected, are not the same, although some appear similar. All the challenges are discussed and contrasted in the context of each country’s traditions and practices in LIS education. Some suggestions are also made regarding how to successfully meet the challenges this study has explored. The findings of this study can help all constituencies (i.e., educators, practitioners, and students) to better understand the challenges of LIS education in China and the United States so that feasible measures can be developed to meet them. In addition, each country can benefit from this study by learning from what its counterpart has done in LIS education with regard to barriers and challenges.