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Time to teach/learn what’s current

Jan - 6 - 2009
Nicole C. Engard

Cliff has a great post over on his blog about what students are learning in library school. Cliff points out that as an instructor in any LIS program you have to keep up with what’s going on in the library world – and then pass that info and those skills (the keeping up skills) on to your students:

If you teach in an MLIS program, stay in touch with librarians to know what your students should be learning to be prepared for the real world. …
If you are a cataloger, constantly strive to improve what you do, and stay in touch with the cataloging community.

My favorite part is one of the comments from Ryan which warns students:

If you are a student: Don’t expect that school will prepare you for the workplace. Look beyond the assignments to learn something about the profession. Better yet, get a B on your assignments so you can make time to learn the real goods of library work. You have to think beyond your profs (most of them anyway) to get a job in this profession. Your real learning *begins* when you graduate.

The problem with Ryan’s comment is that it requires that students already know how to keep up with what’s going on in the library world – and if they’re not being taught that then they’re never going to know what they’re missing.

2 Responses so far.

  1. Lisa says:

    I agree it was a great post, and relate to Ryan’s comment, as I am currently a first year MLIS student juggling two part time library jobs. I love the work experience and think it is far more beneficial to me at this point than the majority of the lectures I’ve attended.

    So…how do students keep up with what is going on in the ‘real’ library world?

  2. Nicole says:

    Lisa, you’re on the right track. The #1 way to keep up is to work in a library. The other way is to keep up with library blogs, library journals, library news sites, and any other library source of library news. Conferences are great if you can afford to attend. Some will even ask for student volunteers – I got to a conference that way in library school.


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