I would add:

- Not understanding what it means to be a member of a profession;
- how that professional status is grounded in theory;
- how that professional status affords a degree of workplace autonomy;
- the responsibility to use that autonomy to support the goals of the  
profession a whole and fulfill its ethical underpinnings, which have  
some independence from the goals of the larger institutions in which  
professionals work;
- the need to work to defend that autonomy by taking an active role in  
institutional politics;
- the need to work to defend the professional status in which autonomy  
is grounded through professional development in an intellectual sense  
and active support for the requirement of graduate study for entrance  
into the profession.

(Sorry for the bad writing - trying to make it compact.)

Rory Litwin

On Sep 4, 2010, at 6:49 PM, Colleen Harris wrote:

> Thanks for reading my blog, Karen!
> I think there are a number of things at work in Andy's post and in  
> the comments, not the least of which are:
> 1) Frustrated job seekers. Recent posts to the LITA-L email list,  
> discussions between librarians on Friendfeed, and posts similar to  
> Andy's over the past few weeks have re-fired a perennial issue.  
> Notbeing able to find a job makes them question the worth of their  
> degree. This isnt limited to librarianship - English PhDs complain  
> about this all the time :)
> 2) Uneven curricular robustness across programs, making some folks  
> feel they didnt have to work very hard for the MLS. I dont know what  
> a good way to deal with this is, other than overhauling  
> accreditation requirements. More programs are offering (if not  
> requiring) internships, which helps a bit.
> 3) Uneven expectations of entering students regarding job  
> availability. To me, as I mention in my post Karen mentioned ( 
> ), this is a matter of personal responsibility as well as distorted  
> info from the professional associations.
> 4) False expectations of what "working as a professional librarian"  
> means, particularly to MLS students and recent graduates.
> 5) A disconnect between the skills offered in the MLS and the skills  
> needed in the profession. Most MLS grads are unequipped to do  
> research design, data analysis, public administration at the  
> management level, heavy budgeting, or other (what I would call)  
> "professional level" responsibilities in librarianship. Unless  
> students were mindful about selecting their electives to build these  
> areas, they may have missed out entirely.
> 6) Not understanding that the MLS is not the equivalent of an MA  
> research degree in a subject area (at least, in my experience). It's  
> intended to be a professional degree, imparting the theoretical  
> foundations as well as the skills necessary to function in a library  
> with the understanding of how the library as a whole operates and  
> the relationships between its units.
> 7) Not looking outside of libraries for work, despite the fact that  
> many schools have deliberately altered their offerings to make the  
> MLS marketable as information management skills outside of the very  
> limited (and poorly funded!) library world.
> Interestingly enough, while the general trend (at least according to  
> anecdata and discussions) is that librarian jobs are being replaced  
> by parapro positions, at my university library (among others) we  
> find that as we continue to automate and deduplicate efforts on the  
> staff side, we need *more* professional librarians to handle things  
> such as instruction (particularly as we move beyond the  
> undergraduates and into upper division and graduate program  
> curricula instruction), project management, and exploring new areas  
> that the library may be able to contribute to the University. And  
> so, as staff retire or leave, those lines are morphed to faculty  
> librarian lines where we need them most. Slow going, but it's  
> happening.
> You can see my feelings about the issue if you read the comments on  
> Andy's post, but by and large, I would make the argument that yes,  
> not all jobs in a library require the MLS. I do, however, believe  
> that the MLS is graduate work if the student ensures it is through  
> their own effort and in consultation with their professors. There  
> are students who are very happy to pass up research methods/analysis  
> and management courses. I hardly think they're in any position to be  
> claiming they're underutilized if they havent developed the sort of  
> skills their employers need.
> Colleen S. Harris

Rory Litwin
Litwin Books
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Duluth, MN 55803
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