There is good news this week for a brilliant and committed cadre of information professionals, aka librarians. The basic announcement is brief and to the point:
January 12, 2011
The Master of Library and information science (MLIS) Program faculty and staff of St. Catherine University are delighted to announce that we have received initial accreditation from the American Library Association. We want to thank all of our students, alumnae/i, friends, and colleagues for their ongoing support and encouragement. To say that we are ecstatic would be an understatement. All of the St. Kate’s community has worked hard to make this happen for all of us. Please stay tuned for more.
Not mentioned here is that essential fact that this is also great news for this community that appreciates and needs the contribution these professionals will make. The St. Catherine University Master of of Library and Information Science program is the only graduate professional library school in Minnesota. As of now, the program and its graduates are accredited and recognized by the American Library Association. To some, that is a blip on the screen, to the students, graduates and the profession — not to mention the community — this is good and essential news.
For several years I served on the Committee on Accreditation of the American Library Association. I know what an accomplishment accreditation is. I applaud those who played a role and appreciate the work they have done to create a solid and sustainable program that deserves accreditation. Most important, the St. Catherine University program looks to the future of life in the information age.
My primary concern is that we might well perish for lack of the skills, attitudes and deep understanding that the graduates of this program will contribute to this community. It means clashing with the outrageously outdated stereotype of librarianship, carving out a niche in overpowering information age, understanding the organization of information and, far more important, the needs (today and future) of users.
Traditionally, the graduates of the SCU Library Science program have set a pace of excellence and service. The graduates of this accredited program will have an easier row to hoe because they will have “the accredited degree.” This augurs well — they’ve accomplished rung one, and from that vantage point they will rise high and contribute essential wisdom and class to the information age.
Full disclosure — I was once a librarian, though not a graduate of the St. Catherine University MLIS program. I fell into the profession, a plummet I have seldom regretted.