Gavia Libraria

Resolved: All LIS students should not take that course.

Kindly do not tell the Loon that a course should be “required of all MLS candidates” unless you are prepared to make a case for every single aspirant to any of the following positions taking it:

  • Reference librarians in public, academic, and special libraries
  • Instruction librarians
  • Youth librarians in public libraries
  • Records managers (everywhere)
  • K-12 librarians and media-services folk
  • Systems librarians
  • Music librarians
  • Corporate librarians
  • Law librarians
  • Art librarians
  • Government-document librarians
  • Library administrators in all types of libraries
  • Archivists (all types, all stripes, all organizations)
  • Cataloguers
  • Digitization librarians
  • Scholarly-communications librarians
  • Emerging-technology librarians
  • Library developers
  • Metadata librarians
  • Human-resources librarians
  • Outreach librarians
  • Research-data managers
  • Physical-plant librarians
  • Usability and user-experience design librarians
  • User-support librarians who work for vendors

Et cetera; the above does not pretend to be an exhaustive list. If it does not convince, then consider your own library-school experience, and the worst and most useless course you were forced to take: someone just like you thought everyone should take that course, and that someone was wrong.

The Loon is much less likely to ruffle her feathers over statements that limit the universe of librarians to whom they are applicable. Should all would-be academic librarians take an info-pedagogy course? The Loon would be willing to argue about it, at least. (She thinks not, incidentally—she never had one and has never felt the lack—but as this post suggests, the Loon is a fan of flexible curricula combined with adroit advising.) Moreover, as the Loon has noted before, library-school curricula work on units both smaller and larger than whole courses. “Students should know the basics of X” is a much easier sell than “students should take a whole course in X.”

Suffice to say that anyone offhandedly telling the Loon “all students should take Course X!” immediately loses roughly one-quarter of their previous credibility in the Loon’s mad red eyes. Please think before you offhand, information professionals. The Loon, who (she would bet quite a lot of fish) spends considerably more time thinking about LIS curricular issues than you do, thanks you.