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Crisis of professionalism in public services: Addressing challenges to librarianship from a public administration perspective

Glenn S. McGuigan (Penn State Harrisburg Library, Middletown, Pennsylvania, USA)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 16 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address dimensions of crisis as applied to the profession of librarianship from a public administration frame of reference. For librarians to retain professional status, the human element of librarianship must be promoted through an emphasis on their educational mission, inspired by public administration's professional code of ethics. Within this process, librarians must promote themselves as educators, embracing the concept of information literacy as their field of jurisdiction.

Design/methodology/approach

Reflecting an interdisciplinary approach, literature from public administration and library science is used to support these points.

Findings

A robust professional education and affiliation with professional associations reinforces the informational asymmetries of professionals through specialized instruction and knowledge sharing, which will lead to not only a strengthened profession, but also to opportunities for leadership.

Practical implications

To reinforce professionalism, the human element of librarianship must be promoted through an enhanced emphasis on the educational mission of librarians within the ethical framework of the profession. The place for this to occur is within schools of graduate education and professional associations.

Originality/value

This discussion addresses dimensions of crisis as applied to the profession of librarianship from a public administration frame of reference. The rationale for this approach is that library and information science can benefit from elements of the public administration school of thought regarding professionalism, in general, and ethical codes, in particular.

Keywords

Citation

McGuigan, G.S. (2011), "Crisis of professionalism in public services: Addressing challenges to librarianship from a public administration perspective", Library Review, Vol. 60 No. 7, pp. 560-574. https://doi.org/10.1108/00242531111153588

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited