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Scares me a little

Feb - 16 - 2006
Nicole C. Engard

Being on the verge of going back to school this (very interesting) post by Caveat Lector scares me a little.

The post rants on a bit about how the most poorly taught classes in library school happen to be the core classes – the ones you need to take.

I really hate to say it, but this appears to be a library-school universal. I've never heard anyone express unequivocal satisfaction with the core courses in their librarian education. And before anyone asks, yes, we understand that pedagogical quality is going to vary, and that we're going to like some subjects more than others. I'm not talking about ordinary vagaries of teaching here; I'm talking about library schools falling down on the job. Classes that suck, rather than merely not rocking.

Yikes!!

There is also an interesting theory about why librarians don’t, won’t, can’t code.

Librarians can't code because too many librarians and library schools have their noses so far up in the air about computers that they are neither recruiting coders (which is purest, sheerest madness-why are we not using the exodus of women from comp sci to our advantage?) nor creating them.

Well I have to agree with Jessamyn from librarian.net who thinks there’s a bit more to it than just that.

It's not just that librarians can't code, it's that they can't even agree that coding is what (some) librarians ought to be doing.

And I have to add that there is also the issue of $$ – in the end (once everyone agrees that programmers is needed) it comes down to how much money a library has to spend. Programmers ain’t cheap!

2 Responses so far.

  1. Alison says:

    I haven't read the Caveat Lector post, but I can say that I have experienced a vast difference in teaching quality within my program (I have taken 2 courses and am currently enrolled in 2). Out of 3 core courses, one was terrible, one fine, and one exceptional.

    My best advice to you is that, once you settle on a program, get as much information as you can from *students* about the professors teaching the courses for which you are about to register. This may be a little difficult while enrolling for your first semester, but a call for advice via your blog and perhaps a request through the program to speak with a student could be helpful. The student association at my school does course evals at the end of each semeseter, and those are a good source of information on the quality of the instruction.

    So, all that and what I'm trying to say is “don't worry about that right now!” :)

  2. Alison says:

    I haven’t read the Caveat Lector post, but I can say that I have experienced a vast difference in teaching quality within my program (I have taken 2 courses and am currently enrolled in 2). Out of 3 core courses, one was terrible, one fine, and one exceptional.

    My best advice to you is that, once you settle on a program, get as much information as you can from *students* about the professors teaching the courses for which you are about to register. This may be a little difficult while enrolling for your first semester, but a call for advice via your blog and perhaps a request through the program to speak with a student could be helpful. The student association at my school does course evals at the end of each semeseter, and those are a good source of information on the quality of the instruction.

    So, all that and what I’m trying to say is “don’t worry about that right now!” :)


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