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Librarians need training in library skills, but it is not graduate-level education
LIKE MOST library schools, the School of Information Resources and Library Science (SIRLS) at the University of Arizona solicits input from the potential employers of our graduates. We hope this will help us continue to improve our master's program.
Recently an employer asked if our library students are interested in learning how to catalog books. We do not offer a course that teaches students precisely how to catalog books. We offer courses in subjects like classification theory and the theory of information retrieval, but no courses in cataloging practice.
The practical skills problem
In fact, many SIRLS students are interested in cataloging courses. Our employer colleague also pointed out that she and many other employers would like prospective employees to know how to catalog books. SIRLS students graduate without the practical skills they would like to have and that employers would like them to have. Cataloging is just one example. Surely a library school should be training library students in the practical skills that they will need on the job.
The obvious solution to this practical skills problem would be for SIRLS to offer courses in cataloging practice and other skills. In reality, the solution is not so simple.
Like most library schools, Arizona proposes to educate information professionals of all sorts, not just librarians (evidenced by those of us in the schools typically referring to ourselves as "library and information science departments" rather than as "library schools"). With limited resources, the …