Educating Special Librarians

Category: Education

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Educating Special Librarians James M. Matarazzo and Toby Pearlstein MAHSLIN July 27, 2013

Educating Special Librarians:

Our graduate library science programs are simply not offering enough in the way of special library tracks aligned with employment placement opportunities. Today’s theme

Today’s theme:

Turbulence: the new constant Used with permission of Crab Apple White Water, Inc 3

Turbulence: the new constant:

Retirements Enrollments down New librarians leaving the workforce Negative publicity about the profession Salaries Budget cuts Snapshot of the profession

Snapshot of the profession:

Average Age =48.7 Average Age =52.0 Number & Ages: Librarians in US

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Jobs Advertised Confirm Turbulence 23% Business/Management/Insurance 22% Subject Specific including Medical 18% Library Services (vendors) 17% Law 11% Other (news, pub, IT, etc.) 9% Finance & Banking 6

Jobs Advertised Confirm Turbulence:

No. 1 Worst Master’s Degree for Jobs: Library and Information Science. Mid-career median pay: $57,600 Projected employment increase of common jobs associated with this degree: 8.5%

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1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2012 1960 $1,064 $1,310 $1,818 $2,788 $3,635 $4,415 $5,148 $5,187 $6,818 $8,851 $9,208 $1,000 Source: UBS/ Wall Street Journal 1960-2006 2006-2012 – James M. Matarazzo Salaries not keeping pace with inflation

Salaries not keeping pace with inflation:

“ [The special library] contains all useful aspects of the organization which maintains it, and can obviously contribute to the organization’s success…. It is…informative, thought-provoking, habit-disturbing, ambition-arousing library [which is] eagerly sought and used by all men and women on the organization’s job.” John Cotton Dana, 1919 Educating for alignment

Educating for alignment:

Driving priorities & roles Source: SLA Alignment Project

Driving priorities & roles:

A “special library” is not an entity; it exists as an integral part of a highly specialized kind of organization whether it be an industrial corporation, research, or service institution, a trade association, a government agency or a museum. Since it exists to serve the members of that organization, it is necessary to provide in the training program an orientation to the structure, functions and activities of the varying types of organizations. —Ruth S. Leonard (1950) Deconstructing how to achieve alignment

Deconstructing how to achieve alignment:

Does it hold a pragmatic education model for the future? If the past is prologue…

If the past is prologue… :

Path to employability

Path to employability:

Competencies Foundational knowledge Job-related (functional) Learning outcomes aligned with professional standards Transferable skills and knowledge in a wide range of settings Academic subject preparation and general library education

Academic subject preparation and general library education:

Tracks by type of library Job-related and functional Taught by practitioners or those with at least some practical experience Cross-disciplinary courses Training with special content and methods

Training with special content and methods:

Mandatory internships Practicum On-site visits Training through experience

Training through experience:

Specialized full-time faculty Fully developed targeted curricula A community of practice that seeks to improve the preparation of future librarians An association that supports these groups The Model

The Model:

MOOCs Multiple learning options are the future Address need for on-demand CE Professional associations Information related Industry related Continuing education

Continuing education:

Today’s MLS programs need to increase their commitment to preparing employable special librarians Model for Medical/Health Sciences preparation should be adapted Change or become history Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways:

Toby Pearlstein & James Matarazzo “Survival Lessons for Libraries: Educating Special Librarians – ‘The Past is Prologue.’” Searcher , Vol. 19, No. 2. March 2011, p.30-39. “Survival Lessons for Libraries: Educating Special Librarians – Part 2: In Search of a Model.” Searcher , Vol. 19, No. 8. October 2011, p.32-41. “Survival Lessons for Libraries: Continuing Education (CE). Take Advantage or Lose the Advantage.” Searcher , Vol. 20, No. 2. March 2012, p.24-33. “Schools of Library and Information Science: Some Thoughts on Vision to Purpose.” Portal: Libraries and the Academy , volume 12, number 4, October 2012, p.351-353. Bibliography 20


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