Wednesday, November 01, 2006 need a degree to do this?

True story:
As I was wrapping up a reference interaction with a patron a couple of months ago, she asked, "By the way, how did you get a job working here? I love this library and I'm here all the time. Maybe I should start working here too." I said, "Well, I started off by first going to graduate school...." She interrupted me there and said, "Oh, you need a degree to do this?"



The Editor said...

Of course you do! :) Gary you remember all those classes we took that talked about interactions with patrons and other practical library needs?


Gary S. said...

There's an interesting thread happening right now on the PubLib listserv called, "answering reference questions without MLS."

Meghan said...

I find this little story funny because as an aspiring MLS student, I hear that same line ALL THE TIME. "I thought you just had to apply to be a librarian! You need a Master's degree?" Yeah, ask me that the next time you're finishing an essay in the eleventh hour and can't figure out how to access the electronic databases at your university's library.... (I suppose I will benefit from any "diplomacy with patrons" classes offered at school).

Gary S. said...

Thanks for the input, Meghan. I have an MLIS and I consider myself a very competent librarian. I also understand why it is required and I fully support that reasoning. However, I have also been witness to some absolutely phenomenal librarianship being practiced by non-degreed para professionals. I also think that graduate school provides an invaluable introduction to the theoretical framworks that guide our thinking. But like all things in life, practice always makes better, whether you have MLS or not. P.S. Congratulations on choosing the best career ever!