Rather more than a year ago, on 26th November 1962, Mr Patrick read to an Aslib evening meeting a paper entitled ‘Some implications of the new Library Association syllabus from the special library viewpoint’. The situation which he discussed there was known to be causing some concern to special librarians. The new Library Association examination syllabus gave students far more opportunity to specialize than had ever been possible before, and to this extent it went a long way to meeting the demands that special librarians had been voicing for many years. But as the arrangements for teaching it became known, many aspects of them seemed likely to cause difficulty to special libraries. In future the main emphasis of professional library education was to be on full‐time study, and the majority of recruits to the profession were expected to go to library school straight from school or university without previous experience of work in a library. What part‐time instruction was available would mainly be organized on a day‐release basis, instead of evening classes as in the past. Furthermore, owing to the difficulty of providing instruction in the wide choice of alternative papers proposed, it was expected that teaching would be concentrated in a small number of library schools. As a consequence of this it was anticipated that libraries would reorganize their staffs so as to separate professional from non‐professional duties, and there were plans—far from definite at this stage—for a separate Library Assistant's Certificate to cater for the training of non‐professional staff. For a number of reasons it was feared that these arrangements would hit special libraries particularly hard. There seemed little prospect that libraries would be able, under the proposed arrangements, to recruit staff with the scientific knowledge or the familiarity with industry which many special librarians felt to be essential. It seemed quite out of the question that the majority of special libraries would ever be able to release staff for full‐time education, and for very small libraries, which were known to be numerous, even day‐release presented almost insuperable difficulties. Moreover, in these same small libraries, the separation of professional and non‐professional duties was also difficult, and many special librarians felt that it would be difficult to organize work if the supply of librarians in training were to dry up. The discussion that was aroused by Mr Patrick's paper, both at the meeting and in correspondence after, made it clear that the doubts and fears about the new syllabus were widely held by members of Aslib, although there were also those who held that these doubts were largely based on misunderstandings, and that when the new arrangements came into operation it would be found that special libraries would not suffer. The Aslib Education Committee decided that more concrete information on the actual situation in special libraries was needed, and so it was decided to send to all members a questionnaire designed not only to find out what special librarians felt about the new arrangements but also to assess as far as possible what would be the actual effect of the new arrangements on member libraries and their existing staffs. Accordingly a questionnaire was drafted and tested, and sent to all members in the summer of 1963.
BIRD, J. and Patrick, L. (1964), "TAKING STOCK—A FRESH LOOK AT EDUCATION FOR SPECIAL LIBRARIANS IN AN AGE OF EXPANSION", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 16 No. 7, pp. 216-222. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb049973Download as .RIS
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