Exploring Culminating Experiences: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice in LIS Education
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 – Research shows that new graduates of Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) programs often fail to understand and appreciate the connection between library science theory and practice. In other fields, culminating experiences often serve the function of combining theory and praxis for students. While notably different from the current structure of the MLIS curriculum, other disciplines provide a model for how the culminating experience component of a degree program can be facilitated successfully. This chapter examines the culminating experiences of other fields in order to provide guidance for how American Library Association-accredited MLIS programs could adopt or integrate similar programs.
Approach – The study explores four culminating experiences commonly used in other fields: fieldwork, apprenticeships and residencies, service-learning, and creative exhibitions. For each culminating experience, recommendations for potential applications to MLIS curricula are provided.
Findings – Culminating MLIS experiences that bring students into the communities they will serve – for example, fieldwork, residencies, and service-learning – may better prepare them for the new world they will face as LIS professionals and may better introduce them to the experiences of their patrons. Exploration of these alternative culminating experiences may help students bridge the gap between theory and practice during and beyond their MLIS degree programs.
Originality/Value – A thorough literature review revealed no similar examination of culminating experiences in MLIS programs’ curricula in particular. Combined with other studies that make recommendations for updating the MLIS curriculum, this exploratory study can serve as a useful resource for MLIS programs hoping to redesign their curricula.
Goodsett, M. (2018), "Exploring Culminating Experiences: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice in LIS Education", 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. 91-108. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0065-28302018000044A010
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