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Workforce Data and Re-Envisioning the MLS

Re-envisioning the MLS: Perspectives on the Future of Library and Information Science Education

ISBN: 978-1-78754-881-7, eISBN: 978-1-78754-880-0

Publication date: 17 May 2018


Purpose – Canadian library workforce data were used to explore recent graduates’ perceptions of their MLS programs: their ratings of the competencies acquired, satisfaction with the overall quality of education, and suggested improvements.

Design/Methodology/Approach – Surveys of libraries and practitioners were conducted from 2003 to 2006. These data were used as a baseline in replicating the survey with the staff of Canadian research libraries in 2013/2014. Recent graduate librarian data were extracted from the two data sets and comparatively analyzed.

Findings – The profile of recent graduates did not change appreciably between 2004 and 2014. Graduates surveyed in 2014 more favorably rated generalist skills and were more likely than the 2004 sample to indicate that they were provided with the range of skills and abilities required to effectively perform their jobs. Management, leadership, and business skills continued to rank lowest. Roughly half of 2004 and 2014 graduates continued to indicate satisfaction with the quality of education received overall. Similarly, half of 2004 and 2014 graduates felt that they could apply what they learned to their current jobs and fewer agreed that they were provided with a realistic depiction of what it is like to work as an academic librarian. Suggestions for program improvement were mostly stable over time, with greatest importance attached to making programs more practical/practice-oriented and improvements to the relevance and currency of the curriculum.

Originality/Value – Studies of the Canadian library workforce had not been conducted previously. This study should be of interest to MLS schools who are re-envisioning their programs with the experiences of recent graduates/new professionals in mind.



DeLong, K. and Sorensen, M. (2018), "Workforce Data and Re-Envisioning the MLS", Percell, J., Sarin, L.C., Jaeger, P.T. and Bertot, J.C. (Ed.) Re-envisioning the MLS: Perspectives on the Future of Library and Information Science Education (Advances in Librarianship, Vol. 44A), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 57-69.



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