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

ISSN: 0065-2830

Publication date: 17 May 2018


(2018), "Prelims", 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. i-xvi.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited

Half Title Page

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

Series Page

Advances in Librarianship


Paul T. Jaeger, University of Maryland, Series Editor

Caitlin Hesser, University of Maryland, Series Managing Editor

Editorial Board:

Denise E. Agosto, Drexel University

Wade Bishop, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

John Buschman, Seton Hall University

Michelle Caswell, University of California, Los Angeles

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

R. David Lankes, University of South Carolina

Don Latham, Florida State University

Ricardo L. Punzalan, University of Maryland

Lynn Westbrook, University of Texas

Title Page

Advances in Librarianship Volume 44A

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

Edited by

Johnna Percell, Lindsay C. Sarin, Paul T. Jaeger and John Carlo Bertot

United Kingdom – North America – Japan India – Malaysia – China

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK

First edition 2018

Copyright © 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited

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British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 978-1-78754-881-7 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-78754-880-0 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-78754-882-4 (Epub)

ISN: 0065-2830 (Series)


About the Contributors vii
Editors’ Introduction to the Advances in Librarianship Series
Paul T. Jaeger and Caitlin Hesser
Chapter 1 Introduction: Re-envisioning the MLS
Johnna Percell, Lindsay C. Sarin, Paul T. Jaeger and John Carlo Bertot 1
Chapter 2 Imposter Phenomenon and the MLIS
Caitlin McClurg and Rhiannon Jones 7
Chapter 3 A Contract You Have to Take: Debt, Sacrifice, and the Library Degree
Jennie Rose Halperin 25
Chapter 4 The Relevance of ALA Accreditation: An Insider’s View of the ALA Committee on Accreditation
Bradford Lee Eden 45
Chapter 5 Workforce Data and Re-envisioning the MLS
Kathleen DeLong and Marianne Sorensen 57
Chapter 6 Transforming Library and Information Science Education by Design
Eileen G. Abels, Lynne C. Howarth and Linda C. Smith 71
Chapter 7 Exploring Culminating Experiences: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice in LIS Education
Mandi Goodsett 91
Chapter 8 On Teaching Political Literacy
John Chrastka 109
Chapter 9 Student Engagement for Student Learning: Preparing Inclusive and Impactful Change Agents Through High-Impact Student Engagement in Systematic Program Planning
Elizabeth Lieutenant 119
Chapter 10 Swiss Army Degree: Library and Information Science
Dustin Fife and Mary Naylor Stephens 139
Chapter 11 Inside the New Academic Library
Katherine Simpson 149
Chapter 12 Letting go, Holding on, or Re-envisioning? Challenges and Opportunities for LIS Education in Australia
Mary Anne Kennan, Mary Carroll and Kim M. Thompson 161
Chapter 13 Undergraduate Library Degrees: Five Ways Library and Information Science Bachelor Programs Can Revitalize the MLS
Lynn C. Warner 177
Chapter 14 Transitioning from the MLS to the MLD: Integrating Design Thinking and Philosophy into Library and Information Science Education
Rachel Ivy Clarke and Steven Bell 195

About the Contributors

Eileen G. Abels is Dean and Professor in Simmons School of Library & Information Science. She has also held faculty positions at the University of Maryland and Drexel University. Her leadership positions in the field of library and information science include serving as President of the Association for Library and Information Science Education and President of Beta Phi Mu, the International Library and Information Studies Honor Society. She is widely published, including articles, books, and book chapters. Together with Lynne C. Howarth and Linda C. Smith, Abels was co-PI on a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services entitled Envisioning Our Information Future and How to Educate for It. More information about this project can be found at: Email:

Steven Bell is the Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services at Temple University. He writes and speaks about academic librarianship, learning technologies, library leadership, higher education, design thinking, and user experience. Steven is a Past President of ACRL and a Co-Founder of the Blended Librarian’s Online Learning Community on the Learning Times Network. He currently writes at Designing Better Libraries, a blog about design thinking and library user experiences. He authors weekly columns for Library Journal Academic Newswire, “From the Bell Tower” and “Leading From the Library.” He is co-author of the book Academic Librarianship by Design and editor of the book Crucible Moments: Inspiring Library Leadership. Additional information about Steven J. Bell or links to his projects are available at Email:

John Carlo Bertot is Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Professor in the iSchool at the University of Maryland. Prior to becoming Associate Provost, Bertot served as Director of the Master of Library Science (now Master of Library and Information Science) Degree Program in the iSchool when the Re-Envisioning the MLS initiative was launched to rethink librarian education in general, and Maryland’s program in particular. Bertot’s research focuses on information access and dissemination issues – the policies that govern access and dissemination, the media through which access and dissemination are provided, the ability of information users to engage with information content to meet their needs, and the ability of organizations (particularly public libraries and government institutions) to understand access and dissemination issues from both a management and user perspective – all within a public service innovation and evaluative framework.

Mary Carroll is the Course Director in the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University (CSU). Her responsibilities include meeting the needs of students in the school and taking a lead role in the Bachelor of Information Studies and Master of Information Studies Degrees. Prior to employment at CSU, she was an early career development fellow at RMIT University, Melbourne, and she worked for many years in Library and Information Science (LIS) Vocational Education having started her career as a Teacher-Librarian in secondary schools in Victoria, first as a Teacher-Librarian and later as a Special Assistance and Literacy Program Coordinator. She has published in the area of history of librarianship, vocational education, and library education and LIS pedagogy. She is currently Vice-President of the Australian and New Zealand History of Education Society and an associate of Australian Library and Information Association. Email:

John Chrastka is Executive Director in EveryLibrary. EveryLibrary is the first national political action committee for libraries. Since 2012, EveryLibrary has provided pro bono support to 74 library communities with ballot measures and tax referenda, helping to win well over $255 million in stable tax funding. Chrastka is a former Board President of the Berwyn (IL) Public Library and the Reaching Across Illinois Libraries System. Prior to EveryLibrary, he was a partner in AssociaDirect, an association consultancy, and was director for membership development at the American Library Association. He was recognized as a 2014 Mover & Shaker by Library Journal for his work with EveryLibrary. Email:

Rachel Ivy Clarke is Assistant Professor in School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. After an early career in graphic design, Rachel Ivy Clarke turned to librarianship, putting her skills to work as the Cataloging Librarian at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, a private art and design college in Los Angeles, California. She subsequently pursued doctoral studies and is currently an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, where her research focuses on the application of design methodologies and epistemologies to librarianship to facilitate the systematic, purposeful design of library services. She holds a BA in creative writing from California State University Long Beach, a Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University, and a PhD from the University of Washington Information School. Email:

Kathleen DeLong is Interim Vice-Provost and Chief Librarian at the University of Alberta Libraries. As well as her Master of Library and Information Science, Kathleen has a Master’s in Public Management from the University of Alberta and completed her Doctorate in Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions at Simmons College. Her doctoral research focused on women in leadership positions in Canadian academic libraries. Kathleen has been a member of the 8Rs Research Team since its inception. Email:

Bradford Lee Eden is Dean of Library Services at Valparaiso University. He has a Master’s and PhD Degrees in Musicology, as well as an MS in Library Science. His recent books include Middle-earth Minstrel: Essays on Music in Tolkien (McFarland, 2010), The Associate University Librarian Handbook: A Resource Guide (Scarecrow Press, 2012), Leadership in Academic Libraries: Connecting Theory to Practice (Scarecrow Press, 2014), The Hobbit and Tolkien’s Mythology: Essays on Revisions and Influences (McFarland, 2014), and the 10-volume series Creating the 21st-Century Academic Library (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015–2017). He served as President of the Library Publishing Coalition in 2015–2016. He is also Editor of the Journal of Tolkien Research, an online peer-reviewed journal available at Email:

Dustin Fife is Director of Library Services at Western State Colorado University. Before moving to Colorado, Dustin served as Outreach and Patron Services librarian for Utah Valley University and Library Director for San Juan County Public Library System. Dustin studied history and philosophy at the University of Utah and library science, focusing on leadership and administration, at Emporia State University. Dustin was a 2016 Library Journal mover and shaker, the 2015–2016 Utah Library Association president, and is the 2016–2017 ALA LearnRT president. Email:

Mandi Goodsett is Performing Arts and Humanities Librarian at Cleveland State University. Mandi earned her Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013. Since graduation, Mandi has published several peer-reviewed articles, including studies about mentoring new librarians and the experiences of recent MLIS graduates. Mandi’s professional interests include the experiences of new librarians and library school students, critical thinking and library instruction, and serving students and faculty in the performing arts and humanities. To learn more about Mandi, you may visit her website at Email:

Jennie Rose Halperin is Communications Manager in Creative Commons. Jennie Rose Halperin is an Open Knowledge and Communications Professional who has worked in product, community management, analytics, and marketing since receiving her Library Degree in 2013 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her Undergraduate Degree Cum laude from Barnard College in 2010, where she was the John Demos Scholar in American Studies. Jennie has worked with a variety of companies and nonprofits in social justice, culture, and access to research including Columbia University, Mozilla, O’Reilly Media, Creative Commons, and MIT. Email:

Lynne C. Howarth is Professor and Former Dean (1996–2003) at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, having joined the iSchool in 1989. She is a past president of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) and the Canadian Association for Information Science (CAIS/ACSI) and has been awarded the ALISE Distinguished Service Award and the ALISE/Connie Van Fleet Award for Research Excellence in Public Library Services to Adults. With funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, she continues to present and publish findings from research projects examining objects, memory, and storytelling, with a particular focus on marginalized communities. Email:

Paul T. Jaeger is Professor, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, and Director of the Master of Library and Information Science program of the College of Information Studies and Co-Director of the Information Policy and Access Center at the University of Maryland. His teaching and research focus on the ways in which law and public policy shape information behavior, with a specific focus on issues of human rights and social justice. He is the author of more than 170 journal articles and book chapters, as well as more than a dozen books. His research has been funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Science Foundation, the American Library Association, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others. Dr. Jaeger is Editor of Library Quarterly, Editor of Advances in Librarianship, and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Information, Diversity, and Inclusion. He is founder and chair of the Conference on Inclusion and Diversity in Library and Information Science, and co-founder and co-chair of the UMD Disability Summit. In 2014, he received the Library Journal/ALISE Excellence in Education Award, the international educator of the year award for the field of library and information science.

Rhiannon Jones is the Masters of Business Administration and Executive MBA liaison at the Business Library at the University of Calgary. She supports the needs of the professional students by delivering information and instruction in a high-service capacity. Her research interests include how relationship building can optimize student learning, and how librarians can utilize unconventional instruction methods to aid learning. Email:

Mary Anne Kennan is Associate Head in the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University, where she is also Higher Degree by Research Coordinator. Mary Anne principally teaches foundations for information studies, data management, and data curation subjects. Her research interests focus broadly on scholarly communication including open access, institutional repositories, e-research, data management, citizen science, and various aspects of Library and Information Science education. Her previous experience includes working 25 years in libraries and the information world, including serving as Director of the Frank Lowy Library at the Australian Graduate School of Management. She is Co-Editor (with Dr. Gaby Haddow of Curtin University) of The Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association and serves on the editorial board of Webology and the International Journal of Actor-Network Theory and Technological Innovation. Email:

Elizabeth Lieutenant is Consultant to the National Forum on Education Statistics as Education Program Analyst at Quality Information Partners. Previously, she completed a Graduate Research Fellowship Program at the University of Michigan, School of Information. She holds an MS in Library and Information Science (LIS) from The Catholic University of America, where she was employed as the Graduate Assistant to the LIS Department Chair and a Graduate Library Assistant. Her research on LIS education investigates how higher education structures, systems, and processes can be used to promote reflective praxis, educational equity, student agency, and organizational change. She has remained engaged with LIS education through her service to the American Library Association’s Task Force on the Context of Future Accreditation (2016–17) and the Association for Information Science and Technology’s Education and Professional Advancement Committee. (2016–18) Email:

Caitlin McClurg is the current Liaison Librarian for Engineering, the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, and Performing Arts. Her previous role was the Undergraduate Medical Education Liaison Librarian for the University of Calgary. Her areas of focus included information literacy for medical students and residents in courses such as Applied Evidence Based Medicine, Population Health, and Family Medicine Clerkship. Email:

Johnna Percell is Children’s Librarian for the DC Public Library’s Department of Outreach and Inclusion. Prior to joining DCPL, she was the Communication Coordinator for the University of Maryland’s iSchool where she earned her MLS with a focus in information and diverse populations. As a student she had the opportunity to work with Dr. John Bertot and Lindsay Sarin on the Re-Envisioning the MLS Initiative. Johnna is in the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Information, Diversity, and Inclusion, and she was a founding member of The Political Librarian, EveryLibrary’s open access journal, and is currently in charge of the editing, design, and layout. She has a background in community corrections and served as the 2015 Google Policy Fellow at the American Library Association’s Washington Office.

Lindsay Sarin is Director of Academic Programs at the College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, College Park. She was formerly the MLS Program Manager in the same program. She helped lead the Re-Envisioning the MLS Initiative along with Dr. John Bertot and Johnna Percell. She continues to participate in the project with current program staff and faculty. Lindsay has published on the topic of Library and Information Science education and on advocacy and funding of libraries, including the book Public Libraries, Public Policies, and Political Processes (2014). As part of her focus on advocacy and funding in libraries she serves as an Advisor to EveryLibrary and was the Founding Editor of The Political Librarian, an open-access journal dedicated to expanding the discussion of, promoting research on, and helping to re-envision locally focused advocacy, policy, and funding issues for libraries. Lindsay earned her BS in History and English from Eastern Michigan University and her MLS at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Katherine Simpson is the Director of Strategy and Communication at the American University Library, where she coordinates strategic planning, assessment, and marketing. She has previously served as the Associate Director for Organizational Development, and in various public services roles. Katherine has presented at a variety of conferences on strategic and space planning and presented at the American Library Association Annual Conference on talent management. She holds an MS in Human Resource Management from American University. Email:

Linda C. Smith is Professor and Associate Dean for academic programs in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she joined as faculty in 1977. She is a past President of the Association for Library and Information Science Education, the Association for Information Science and Technology, and Beta Phi Mu; a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Section T: Information, Computing, and Communication); and a University of Illinois distinguished teacher-scholar. She has made numerous contributions to the library and information science literature, including serving as co-editor of Reference and Information Services: An Introduction, now in its 5th edition. Email:

Marianne Sorensen: is Owner and Principal of Tandem Social Research Consulting. Marianne has a PhD in Sociology, Majoring in Labor Markets and Postsecondary Education. She was an original member of the 8Rs Research Team and with her 8Rs colleagues she designed and executed the three-year study and wrote the reports. She has conducted a number of studies on libraries and on labor market- and university-related topics, has developed numerous research plans and questionnaires, and wrote a course on human resource selection and recruitment. Email:

Mary Naylor Stephens has worked with public and academic libraries for the past five years. After graduating from the library science program at Simmons College, she moved into the academic library world. She currently works at Utah Valley University as a reference and instruction librarian, art and design liaison, team lead for the executive research service, as well as the library’s assessment coordinator. Mary studied interdisciplinary humanities with an emphasis on literature and a minor in print and web design at Brigham Young University. Email:

Kim M. Thompson is a Senior Lecturer in School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University. Dr. Kim M. Thompson received her MS and PhD Degrees in Library and Information Studies from Florida State University and her BA in English from Brigham Young University. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the Library and Information Science Program at the Universidad Pedagogica Nacional Francisco Morazan in Honduras and an Affiliate Faculty Member of the Information Policy and Access Center of the University of Maryland School of Information, USA. Kim’s research and teaching draw upon a background spanning information studies, library science, and international consulting with a focus on the physical, intellectual, and sociocultural supports for and barriers to information access and digital inclusion. Her work primarily focuses on underserved and disadvantaged populations and is based mainly on qualitative techniques, policy analysis, and theory development. Email:

Lynn Warner is a Library Informatics Professor and Advisor at Northern Kentucky University (NKU). She has been a member of the Library Faculty at NKU since 2012. In her role as Library Informatics Advisor and instructional services librarian, she works with students in the Bachelor of Science in Library Informatics program and teaches a three-credit hour course, LIN 175 Information Literacy. Email:

Editors’ Introduction to the Advances in Librarianship Series

Through a combination of economic changes, political forces, and technological changes, libraries now are in a position of meeting the ever-increasing community needs and filling roles that otherwise would go unmet in key areas of economic and workforce development, health and wellness, education, civic engagement, and fostering and supporting open governments, among much else. Despite the often decreasing financial support, the growing political pressures to reduce support for public goods such as libraries, and the voices claiming that Google has made libraries obsolete, libraries of all types – public, school, academic, and special – have never been more innovative, more community focused, and more in demand than they are now.

Libraries play significant roles in digital literacy and digital inclusion, online education, provision of social services, employment skills, and even emergency response. They are creating partnerships with local government agencies and nonprofits to address local needs. They adopt and innovate with new technologies and expand their services and materials through new channels provided by emerging technologies, from online reference to the curation and management of digital resources. At the same time, libraries serve as a primary support structure for social justice and human rights by fostering and promoting inclusion, access, and equity for individuals, for their communities, and for society as a whole.

The Advances in Librarianship book series offers a completely unique avenue through which these major issues can be discussed. By devoting each volume – often in the range of 100,000 words – to a single topic of librarianship, the series volumes devote a great amount of consideration to a single topic. By including contributors who are library professionals, administrators, researchers, and educators from many different places, the series volumes bring an unparalleled range of voices to these topics of librarianship. And by exploring these topics as broad issues with a wide range of societal impacts, these volumes not only inform those within the library profession, but also community members, policy makers, educators, employers, health information professionals, and others outside of libraries who are interested in the impacts of libraries.

The ability to address current and future issues from both practice and research perspectives at great depth makes this series uniquely positioned to disseminate new ideas in libraries and to advocate for their essential roles in communities. To ensure the most current and future utility, each volume includes contributions in three areas: (1) current best practices and innovative ideas, (2) future issues and ways in which they might be prepared for and addressed, and (3) the large-scale societal implications and the way in which the focus of the volume impacts libraries as a social institution.

This volume of Advances in Librarianship is the first part of a two-volume set exploring innovative approaches to library and information science (LIS) education. Bridging the voices of educators, professionals, and current students, these two volumes offer a wide range of perspectives and cover a variety of educational issues. This first volume examines issues of degree accreditation; outcomes assessment and measurement in programs; preparing and supporting new professionals; and new approaches to the incorporation of theory, advocacy, and political engagement into the LIS curriculum. Across these two volumes, each reader will find some views they agree with and some they disagree with, but all of the chapters offer many important points to consider as the curriculum of the field continues to evolve along with the people, institutions, and societies that our field serves.

Ultimately, volumes in this series share innovative ideas and practices to improve overall library service and to help libraries better articulate their vital and myriad contributions to their communities. The range of library impacts can be seen in the recent volumes in the series, which have explored such important topics as library services to people with disabilities, libraries as institutions of human rights and social justice, the unique roles and contributions of rural and small public libraries, and efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the field. Forthcoming volumes will be devoted to library services for LBGTQ populations and the pedagogical roles of academic libraries, among other vital issues. As fewer venues publish materials related to library practice, education, and research and many of the journals formerly devoted to library research have shifted their focus to information issues, the Advances in Librarianship book series is an unwavering venue devoted to documenting, examining, exchanging, and advancing library practice, education, and research.

Paul T. Jaeger, Advances in Librarianship Series Editor

Caitlin Hesser, Advances in Librarianship Managing Editor

University of Maryland