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Inside the New Academic Library

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 – The purpose of this chapter is to examine the changing talent practices in academic libraries, the environment in which they occur, and the ways in which library and information science (LIS) programs can prepare new librarians to work with the variety of professionals they will be encountering as they enter the workforce.

Design/Approach – The chapter draws on research about hiring and management practices in academic libraries, disruption theory, and the current state of higher education. Observations made by commentators in the library science field about professionalism are considered, and opportunities and threats to the profession posed by professional nonlibrarians are discussed.

Findings – Academic libraries are increasingly hiring professionals from disciplines outside of LIS to fill current and emerging knowledge and skill gaps. LIS schools cannot expect to fill all of these gaps, as programs would become unwieldy. Therefore, the professional nonlibrarian provides unique opportunities for librarians that enable them to focus on areas where their knowledge and expertise can best move the profession forward and augments and complements the work librarians are doing.

Originality/Value – This chapter provides a more nuanced viewpoint about what constitutes professionalism in academic libraries and encourages LIS programs to prepare students for the changing talent landscape by embracing the skills that other professionals bring to accomplish the library mission.



Simpson, K. (2018), "Inside the New Academic Library", 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. 149-159.



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