Thursday, October 16, 2003

Turning Ph.D.'s into Librarians

Turning Ph.D.'s into Librarians This article in the Chronicle details how Yale University has a fellowship program which is intended to turn Ph.D. holders into librarians in a year. Note that Yale does not have a library school and that this program does not result in a MLS degree. This bothers me.

Check out the following paragraph from the article: "What is so important about this new program is that it opens up a library career to Ph.D.'s after only a year of training in an academic library. The union card for library positions has always been the master's of library science (M.L.S.), and for Ph.D.'s that has traditionally meant two additional years of study and expense after completion of the Ph.D. Understandably, library professionals have mixed opinions about a shortcut for Ph.D.'s that bypasses a library degree. Some are pleased that this shortcut will bring more needed Ph.D.'s into the library, and others are worried that these Ph.D.'s will lack crucial knowledge about how libraries work."

Bothered? You had better believe it. As a profession are we really going to undercut ourselves by saying OK to this? I am going to say no. If I am on a search committee and a "graduate" of the Yale Fellowship program applies, the applicant will be sorted right into the rejected "does not have an MLS" pile with the other librarian wannabees who think an advanced degree and a "love of reading" will get them in.

Perhaps Yale should pursue ALA certification and start offering an approved MLS? How unfair to these Ph.D. holders who really believe the Yale program will get them library jobs. Most libraries just are not going to hire these folks in roles as librarians.