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
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