Misinformation re: library school

The infamous question that follows my answer to “So what did you study?”:

1) You need to go to school for that?

Why yes, you do. In fact, depending on which certificate you choose you may need an undergraduate degree. There are actually two library certifications.

Master of Library (and Information) Science/MLIS = fully certified librarian

Library and Information Technology (LIT) Diploma = fully certified library technician.

The difference? We’ll get to that in a second.

There are a select number of schools in Canada and worldwide that offer the MLIS program. Canadian schools that offer the LIT Diploma program can be found here. I personally went to Western University because its MLIS program offers an internship program and a wide variety of courses (traditional library services, technology courses), listed below to give you an idea:

[T] = Designated Technology course.

  • 9001 Perspectives on Library and Information Science
  • 9002 Organization of Information
  • 9003 Information Sources and Services
  • 9004 Research Methods and Statistics
  • 9005 Managing and Working in Information Organizations
  • 9006 Online Searching
  • 9101 The Shaping of News and Information Through Technology
  • 9102 Professing the Popular: A Midbrow Introduction
  • 9104 Publishing, Media and Librarianship
  • 9107 Special Topic – Libraries and Democracies: History, Rhetoric, Action
  • 9130 Information Policy
  • 9133 Information Equity
  • 9134 Privacy and Surveillance
  • 9135 Political Economy of Information
  • 9152 Information Literacy: Theory and Practice
  • 9154 Advocacy and Library Issues
  • 9158 Legal Issues for Information Professionals
  • 9200 Descriptive Cataloguing Theory and Practice
  • 9201 Classification and Indexing
  • 9202 Subject Analysis and Thesaurus Construction
  • 9203 Records Management
  • 9314 The Place of Folktale/Myth Collections in Public, School, and Academic Libraries
  • 9315 Collection Management
  • 9316 Government Information
  • 9318 Legal Information
  • 9319 Science, Technology and Medical Information
  • 9320 Consumer Health Information
  • 9322 Evidence-Based Health Care for Information Professionals
  • 9323 Business and Industry Information
  • 9326 Genealogy and Local History Reference Services
  • 9350 An Introduction to Information Behaviour
  • 9351 Library and Information Services for a Diverse Society
  • 9353 International Librarianship: Issues and Innovations
  • 9354 Information and Development
  • 9356 Storytelling
  • 9357 Community Development
  • 9361 Children’s Materials (Birth – 7 years): Evaluation and Use
  • 9362 Materials for Older Children (8-12 years)
  • 9364 Young Adult Materials
  • 9380 Genres of Fiction, the Reader and the Public Library
  • 9382 Readers’ Advisory Service in the Public Library
  • 9410 Individual Study
  • 9411 Guided Research I
  • 9412 Guided Research II
  • 9413 Major Research Project Part 1
  • 9414 Major Research Project Part 2
  • 9415 Major Research Project Part 3
  • 9416 Major Research Project Part 4
  • 9503 Knowledge Management
  • 9504 Strategic Planning
  • 9505 Program Evaluation
  • 9508 Marketing and Public Relations for Information Professionals
  • 9514 Information Management
  • 9610 Public Libraries
  • 9630 Academic Libraries
  • 9650 Special Libraries
  • 9670 Introduction to Archives Administration
  • 9671 Conservation and Preservation Management in Libraries and Archives
  • 9672 Archival Reference Services and Outreach
  • 9673 Archival Description
  • 9701 Information Retrieval: Research and Practice [T]
  • 9705 Information and Communication in a Digital Age [T]
  • 9706 User Experience Research [T]
  • 9707 Technological Society: Inequality, Power, and Social Networks [T]
  • 9712 Evolution of the Internet [T]
  • 9713 Internet Broadcasting for the Public Sector [T]
  • 9720 Digital Libraries [T]
  • 9721 Information Visualization [T]
  • 9723 Web Design and Architecture [T]
  • 9726 Second Life and Other Virtual Worlds: Critical Perspectives and Applications [T]
  • 9731 Database Management Systems [T]
  • 9732 Language and Computer Technologies for Libraries and Beyond [T]
  • 9761 Managing Information Technology in Libraries [T]
  • 9763 Social Software and Libraries [T]
  • 9766 eBooks for Libraries [T]

Certain of these courses cater directly to a type of library, whereas others are of general interest or are applicable across all types of libraries (ex. managing information technology in libraries):

-academic libraries (university or college. Often, each school in the university will have its own library)

-public libraries (different branches of the library system, each with different departments such as the children’s, adult’s, outreach, etc.)

-school libraries (public or private elementary, middle, high school)

-special libraries (government, music, business, medical, archives, etc.).

Why such diversity in courses? Library work is no longer limited to the traditional library services (checking items in/out, reference service, suggesting reads aka readers’ advisory…), especially considering the evolving needs of the communities that libraries serve.

As technologies evolve and become more accessible, so do the information needs of library patrons. Libraries are continuously updating themselves and their services to better satisfy their patrons’ interests–subscribing to vendors, for instance, in order to provide eBook, audio book, and digital magazine collections.

Just like any profession, there are a variety of different services and tasks for which trained personnel are responsible. And THAT’s why we have to go to school for that.


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