What Ails Library Education?

Gorman, Michael
March 2004
Journal of Academic Librarianship;Mar2004, Vol. 30 Issue 2, p99
Academic Journal
This article assesses the status of library education in the U.S. as of March 2004. Library education is ailing in many parts of the country, dying in others, and dead in yet others. The library education that remains is not accessible to many would-be librarians, for geographic and/or economic reasons. That inaccessibility discriminates particularly against the disadvantaged and ethnic minorities. Library education is under assault from information science and is losing out to that discipline. Library education suffers from the lack of nationally agreed standards and national outcomes assessment. There are two basic models by which a profession can seek to control education for its would-be members. The first is based on a consensus on the core requirements for a person to be educated in that profession leading to agreements on the basic curriculum to be taught in the schools that are certified to educate future members of that profession. The second approach is to accredit each school based not on national standards but on that school's own vision and mission and to judge them on the latter. The lack of ethnic diversity in the ranks of librarians is a pressing problem for the whole profession. Librarians in the U.S. today are overwhelmingly middle class, white, and of a certain age.


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