2008 I(o)LP – May 2008 The MLS Thing

Now that we are at the end of the traditional western calendar year, I am looking back at some posts that were not quite ready for prime time.  I hope they interest you and provide some enlightenment and entertainment these last days of 2008 and first of 2009.

This came out of a conversation on either on blogs, twitter or friendfeed (frankly I don’t remember) and was part of the reason I started the podcast, T is for Training to create a place to have these types of conversations for trainers who happen to work in libraries.

From May, 2008: Lori, both you and another more local trainer friend of mine Tech from the Non-techie have both touched upon a thing that has been sticking in my internal inbox for the greater part of a month.

When I do our first day and our full day customer service orientation, I emphasize to all staff that their friends and family do not care that they are a page, circulation specialist, librarian, manager or anything else. The job designations only matter inside of our doors. To them, they are librarians. Period. I also set up my training programs that way, giving weight do skills needed to work in the library not just as a librarian.

So why, when there are many branches and entire systems nationwide that do not have MLS librarians leading them on a daily basis, are opportunities for professional development, such as the ALA leadership limited to only some leaders?

Personally, I am not an MLS library staff person, but in Maryland, our Maryland Library Leadership Institute does not specify that you <i>have</i> to be a MLS holder but by my observation, it seems to help A LOT in the decision making process.

I hope that ALA and state library systems review and revisit guidelines that limit library professional development to MLS holders, since there are many non-MLS holders leading from many different positions in library land.


About (almost) Bald Trainer

A trainer in Maryland
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One Response to 2008 I(o)LP – May 2008 The MLS Thing

  1. Lori Reed says:

    Our library has already started upon this path. Under our director we have 4 direct reports–only one of those positions requires an MLS. I think libraries are beginning to get it and see that there is value in degrees other than the MLS. The next year will be a struggle for me deciding which masters to pursue.

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