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Transforming Library and Information Science Education by Design

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 – In January 2015, a diverse group of stakeholders engaged in a planning forum on “Envisioning our Information Future and How to Educate for It.” Focused on shaping a future by design, not by default, information educators, professionals, technologists, futurists, and others proposed proofs of concepts for larger-scale implementations. This chapter reports on four pilot projects using steps in the design-thinking process to frame the discussion.

Design/Methodology/Approach – The stages of (1) empathize, (2) define, (3) ideate, (4) prototype, and (5) test in the design-thinking process facilitate moving beyond what is and breaking fixedness to build a representation of what might be. Applied to library and information science (LIS) education, design thinking can lead to transformative change.

Findings – Creative collaborations yielded actionable outcomes from projects that identified the following: (1) the knowledge, skills, and abilities that employers seek in graduates of LIS programs, (2) curriculum options for developing and launching artist-in-residence programs, (3) how a Library Test Kitchen course enables students to apply design thinking, and (4) how a short-term faculty residency in a particular institution connects LIS educators with trends in the field and informs curriculum design.

Originality/Value – The value of tangible outcomes from pilot projects informing future innovation in LIS education is augmented by the originality of their framing within design-thinking processes.




The initial forum and subsequent pilot projects were made possible, in part, by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Grant no. RE-65-14-0032-14.


Abels, E.G., Howarth, L.C. and Smith, L.C. (2018), "Transforming Library and Information Science Education by Design", 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. 71-89.



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