The aim of this paper is to examine the versatility of the MLIS degree through the lens of special libraries in terms of education, core competencies and benefits. Special libraries show the value of the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree in preparing professionals to work across institutional boundaries in non-library and non-educational organizations and bring their services to the populace in sometimes unexpected places.
The authors first conducted a literature review of special librarians and their skillsets, as well as how to properly define “special library”. They then examined different MLIS programs geared toward special libraries and how library schools prepare special librarians to benefit their organizations.
The conclusion drawn is that possession of an MLIS degree lends a special librarian more credence in the execution of their duties because they have been educated in how to best benefit their institution. While additional subject expertise is an advantage to the special librarian, the skills learned in MLIS degree programs provide an essential foundation.
This is a collaborative view that brings together outside research regarding various types of special libraries and the librarians that work in them in an effort to illustrate the value of the MLIS degree in an original way.
Crumpton, B. and Porter-Fyke, E. (2016), "The special library: applicability and usefulness of the MLIS in non-traditional library settings", The Bottom Line, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 151-165. https://doi.org/10.1108/BL-04-2016-0017Download as .RIS
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