Archive for May, 2008

Opening a can of worms here, but after two semesters of graduate school, and lots of comments from those who are already librarians, I wonder how necessary my thousands of dollars spent on an MLIS actually are.

So far I’ve enjoyed my library classes, but what I consider to be most applicable to the real life library setting have been things I could have learned on the job. I’m computer literate, very willing to try new programs, and I know how to use reference books and the internet. The basics are really quite simple, or easily enough learned.

If I wanted to go into the technical side of librarianship that would be different. If I had interest in developing new information storage and retrieval methods I would most definitely need extraordinary amounts of classes and training. But to be a librarian? I’m honestly not sure at this point.

I know I have just over a year to go before I get my degree; I’m not even halfway through my courses. But what bothers me is hearing from so many librarians, “Library school is useless. I don’t use anything I learned.” Yet that library degree is, nine times out of ten, necessary for promotion within the field. Librarians get paid higher salaries than paraprofessionals, generally, though we all know the profession isn’t one you get into for the money. You get into it for the passion, generally for books but not always. I’ve known librarians who’ve told me, “I really don’t have time to read.”

That bothers me almost as much as hearing my library degree won’t actually prepare me for being a professional librarian. How can a librarian say that? Then again, try getting help at a bookstore. I was in Barnes & Noble last week and an employee asked a customer “How do you spell Confucius?” WHAT? She also hadn’t heard of ‘The Analects of Confucius,” a major work in the literary canon. She asked how to spell “analects,” too, misspelling it at least twice before she hit on the correct spelling. It took every bit of restraint I had not to spell out both words for her. I wanted to see her struggle, to see how long it actually took her. Good thing the young man she was helping was as clueless and also extremely patient.

At this point I find myself questioning the efficacy of earning my diploma, but I still have a lot of classes ahead of me. It’s possible I’ll change my mind along the way, but it’s also frighteningly possible I won’t. For now I’ll reserve final judgment, but having three children to put through college I worry about the money I’m spending on my own degree, especially when I’m counting on my salary raise post-degree to help pay their way.

The necessity of the degree, added with the somewhat rocky future of the library as an entity in the internet age are both concerning, not just to me but to an awful lot of people. It’s time we examine both these issues. It may even be past time on the latter.

I hate to be a pessimist, but looking at the library from the outside, as I did before I started pursuing my degree, I see a lot of points that need to be addressed in order for the library to stay vital. It isn’t just the books anymore. It’s about an awful lot more than that, staying on the cutting edge, providing more services to specific groups, and hiring people with technical ability.

We all believe in the library. Now we need to take action, shunning ambivalence and striking out in new and vital directions. I don’t know what all these actions should be, at least not yet. And I’ll keep pursuing my MLIS degree with the hope it turns out to be necessary. But if not, that’s a few thousand dollars shot. A few thousand I could have really used. I guess I’ll find out the answer to that question soon enough. In the meantime it’s onward with the game plan, with the hope it all works out in the end.

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Seems too good to be true, but apparently most readers agree with those of us who despise reading in electronic format. Sorry, Amazon. It seems your Kindle is DOOMED (brooo haha hahaha…!!!):

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Sites such as LibraryThing are tremendously popular. I’m on LibraryThing as MissWoodhouse, but my collection, like the rest of my life, is nowhere near updated. No telling how many books I’ve added since the last time I was over there, nor how many I’ve donated to the library (good soul that I am). Then again, also no telling how many I’ve bought BACK from the library sales as I couldn’t live without them.

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Summary Grid : Spring 2007-2008
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Graduate School of Library and Information Science

Class Session Grade Title
L I S 551 Regular A Organization of Information
L I S 571 Regular A Information Sources
L I S 642 Regular A Reading Interests of Adults

Read ’em and weep! Two semesters, perfect 4.0.

For those of you new to my site, I’m normally much more humble. Well, sometimes. Occasionally. From time to time. Errr… Gotta run.

If you’re not nauseated now, you will be after you read the first paragraph:

” The deep waters, black as ink, began to swell and recede into an uncertain distance. A gray ominous mist obscured the horizon. The ocean expanse seemed to darken in disapproval. Crashing tides sounded groans of agonized discontent. The ocean pulsed with a frightening, vital force. Although hard to imagine, life existed beneath. It’s infinite underbelly was teeming with life, a monstrous collection of finned, tentacled, toxic, and slimy parts. Below its surface lay the wreckage of countless souls. But we had dared to journey across it. Some had even been brave enough to explore its sable velveteen depths, and have yet to come up for precious air….”

Read More About It Here…