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A study of Master of Library Science candidates and librarians at a practicum site library

Ignacio J. Ferrer‐Vinent (Auraria Library, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA)
Karen Sobel (Auraria Library, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 19 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to augment knowledge about perceived benefits and drawbacks of practicum programs in academic libraries.

Design/methodology/approach

Many library science programs require or encourage practicum experiences. The paper surveyed past practicum students and site librarians about experiences with their practicum program.

Findings

Practica in librarianship that balance structure and independence were reported to be beneficial, both for practicum students and for the libraries that host them. Students enjoyed the theory‐to‐practice aspects and the diverse populations of the academic library. The Auraria Campus's student body displays great diversity in terms of race and ethnicity, socioeconomics, age, and prior educational experiences. Practicum participants also made constructive suggestions for changes in terms of structure and content. Students and site librarians valued their interactions with one another, even though the librarians were aware that mentoring and supervising practicum students consumes time.

Practical implications

Master of Library Science (MLS) programs, students, and libraries should consider these results when evaluating or considering practicum programs.

Originality/value

At present, the library literature contains very few examples of evaluation strategies for library practicum programs. This article presents an easily adaptable model for assessing practicum programs in order to make improvements to their own programs.

Keywords

Citation

Ferrer‐Vinent, I.J. and Sobel, K. (2011), "A study of Master of Library Science candidates and librarians at a practicum site library", New Library World, Vol. 112 No. 7/8, pp. 365-376. https://doi.org/10.1108/03074801111150486

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited