After three weeks in Germany, I returned to an alarming 600 emails in my Inbox. It is telling that over 150 of them were from the North American JESSE listserv and all of them in reaction to a single topic: the ALA's new recommendations for Core Competences of Librarianship - which I wrote about for this blog when they were first announced - and the impact of these on the criteria for library school accreditation, which are also being revamped. That the discussion became so very heated is no doubt a result of the ALA not only being a professional organization, but also the accrediting agency for library schools as well.
The American Society for Information Science and Technology started the discussion with an open letter to the ALA . They stated their concern that the ALA's recommendations narrow the profession at a time when „almost 30% of LIS graduates do not enter library jobs“. „The requirements for faculty educated in LIS and library-centric curricula strongly restricts the diversity and interdisciplinary of LIS programs.” Moreover, as instruments of change, standards are far too rigid; guidelines would better provide the necessary flexibility. And finally, „many other groups are stakeholders in the LIS program“, that is, the ALA did not take into account the „perspectives of allied organizations“.
The discussion went back and forth: are the recommendations too narrowly focused, given that graduates with a library degree often work in other fields? On the other hand, the recommendations only apply to librarian education within a Library and Information Science program.
Library Journal has a good overview of the discussion. For those who are interested in the discussion in its entirety can follow it in the JESSE archive .
In an email to all ALA members, ALA President Jim Rettig called on colleagues to participate in the discussion on a blog that was specially set up for this topic.
Monday, 22. June 2009
Friday, 19. June 2009
An article about NYC budget negotiations in the New York Times lists what types of institutions were prioritized and therefore spared from the most drastic cuts: firehouses, child-care workers and libraries! (This news should be of particular interest in Germany, where child-care workers are currently striking for higher salaries.) However, health care, police training and the arts fell victim to the budget cuts.
Finally some good news: the mayor's proposed budget cuts to the three New York library systems apparently will not come to pass. The Brooklyn Eagle was first to report that the cuts, which would have resulted in significant layoffs as well as reductions in library hours and services, have been avoided. The Queens Library and New York Public Library have also been spared. Although the three library systems function independently from one another, the City decided the fate of their budgets collectively. To protest the suggested budget cuts, concerned library patrons had forwarded a petition with over 8,000 signatures to members of City Council.