MOOCing up Librarianship

07/08/2013 § 5 Comments

During my final month of library school I decided to add one more item to my to do list: take the New Librarianship MOOC. The massive open online course (MOOC) was offered by Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies for graduate or continuing education credit, or just for fun. MOOCs can be a great way to supplement your library school education, so I enrolled just for fun as a final library school experience.

Previously Topher introduced the topic of new librarianship to Hack Library School readers, and Micah wrote an unbook unreview of Atlas to New Librarianship. The MOOC builds off of Atlas and primarily asks the question, What is librarianship when it is unmoored from cataloging, books, buildings, and committees? It explores the core of librarianship and seeks to generate discussion about the future of librarianship.

The mission of New Librarianship.
I’ve seen countless mission statements for libraries and information organizations, but not one for librarians. Do you agree with this mission statement? Do you have your own?

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Evaluating the MLIS Degree

18/06/2013 § 11 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Matthew Gunby.

Recently an editorial was published in Library Journal titled “Can We Talk About the MLS?” As a recent graduate from Syracuse University, I wanted to reflect upon my education in an honest manner. On one hand, I have had some of the greatest experiences of my life while at Syracuse, but on the other hand I have been searching unsuccessfully for a job for over five months. I think the mistake of this article is that it assumes a zero sum game, as do many who have responded to it: either an MLIS is valuable or it is not.

If these are the options then I absolutely believe it has value, but at what cost? I recognize that the costs of a degree vary extensively from institution to institution, and while I know Syracuse ranks fairly high in its cost, it is sufficient to say that its cost is generally on the same per credit cost scale as degrees that generally lead to jobs that pay far more.  It may ultimately also cost the same as a humanities focused degree that may lead to far less. The point is not that our degree is uniquely overpriced, but instead that it is a relevant question to ask if we should be paying so much.

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Hack Your Program: Indiana University-Indianapolis SLIS

25/05/2011 § 15 Comments

*Disclaimer: These are my personal opinions and are not representative of the student body. I started in Fall 2010 as a full-time, out-of-state student. All criticism is meant to be constructive.

SLIS classrooms are on the first floor and the basement.

I go to the  School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University-Indianapolis (a.k.a. IUPUI). It’s a nice campus that located just west of the downtown area. Overall, I would say that my program has a very traditional approach to the LIS education. For example, we graduate with an MLS, not an MLIS. Students can either take classes online, on-campus, or long-distance, via satellite classes, although long distance learners are required to take at least one class in person. I moved here from CA because I wanted to attend a school in person, so I mostly am taking on-campus courses, which works best for me personally. I really have connected with the student body and the professors here, which has made my experience really awesome.

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Don’t Like Your Curriculum? Change It!

14/03/2011 § 11 Comments

You’re scanning your program’s course schedule, and see no classes being offered in your specialization.  Or you attend a conference, and realize that there is a gaping hole in the way your school addresses this important issue in the field.  The good news: you’re an engaged learner who is conscious of the resources being put into your coursework and your degree.  The bad news: graduate schools have finite money, faculty, and flexibility for adding courses to the register.  What can you do to make sure your curriculum meets your interests and educational and professional needs? Take charge!

In 2003, the Student Diversity Action Group came to the faculty of the UCLA IS program, and submitted a proposal for two courses, one being a core course that addressed cultural diversity and activist thoughts, tools, and resources for the contemporary information professional.  The result?  An existing class was dropped from the core curriculum, and Ethics and Diversity became a graduation requirement.  As of 2009, UCLA is the only program that requires a course on diversity for information professionals*.

Looking at the motivations for this addition to the curriculum, it’s easy to see why UCLA students asked for such a course.  Serving the diverse population of Los Angeles, working with indigenous populations, and designing information access structures for communities across the world, MLIS students recognized the need to be aware of cultural and community differences in approaches to information.  The UCLA MLIS program is an incredibly diverse one itself, hosting more ALA Spectrum Scholars than any other.  IS students deserved (and demanded) that their education meet an important concern for their research, practice, and development as professionals.  If you feel your curriculum doesn’t do the same, here are some ideas to make it happen:

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