Thursday, April 19, 2007

WAAL 2007: Understanding, Courting, and Educating the Next Generation Subject Specialists

Louise Robbins and Phoebe Chiu

There were supposed to be two other panelists for this program (Diane Barlow and Pat Fisher) but only Louise and Phoebe were able to attend. Fortunately, they're Louise and Phoebe and so, did an outstanding job all by themselves.

My random, quickly typed notes are below. You should look at the website above to get the real story.

UMd and UW got a 3-yr grant from IMLS to study...
Research Objectives
  • To answer questions regarding the supply and demand of subject specialists in academic and research libraries;
  • To discover successful approaches to recruiting subject specialists in various academic disciplines in university;
  • To craft and test a curricular structure that is responsive to the future needs of libraries and librarians.
They used interviews, focus groups, and content analysis of job descriptions and job ads.

ARL demand for subjspec:
sciences, esp. engineering and phys.sci.

projected demands in 2010
science, esp. biology, then physical sci, then humanities

versatility and adaptability in professional practice
knowledge of scholars and researchers in the field
versatility and adaptability in intellectual work
fluency in the language...

attraction to librarianship?
intellectually rich environment
experience of working in lib
nature of lib work

courting:- develop targeted recruitment brochures- issue of subspecialties- include joint/dual/minor degree opportunities- include testimonials
curricula- need for group projects- practica

- shortage of potential subject specialists in certain areas (sciences)
- agreement on the most important curricular aspects
- need for flexible masters curriculum which requires core as well as practica
- value of internship
- consensus on importance of versatility and flexibility
- attractiveness of librarianship as a career path for people who enjoy the academic world -- phds in some areas "have nowhere to go" -- but scientists tend not to use libraries so they don't have the warm feelings...
- difficulty of raising awareness of librarianship as a career

learning how to learn the structure of a discipline -- then you can punt...

Larry Jacobsen example: english major who became a world figure in primatology...

Questions for further consideration...
- generalists vs specialists
- educational programs for holders of advanced degrees
- workplace culture issues
- differentiated career ladder?

Limitations of the study:
- Out of 56 programs, they got 30 responses
- Student info protected by FERPA
- Many LIS programs don't collect info on students with other advanced degrees

Still got 500 responses from students

Title 6 centers required to have subject bibliographers

Many subject bibliographers move from job to job within a limited number of space

Most apps to SLIS from english and history majors

Undergraduate degree specialties tracking into MLS programs? how can we get scientists onto the track?

How do you get a raise in our economy? take your expertise and go elsewhere...

Spousal hiring? In two academic couples, it can be an advantage for one of the pair to have a library degree

It helps to get faculty in phd programs to direct new doctorates to librarianship...

There are several joint/double/dual degree programs (all mean different things) that could be attractive to people with subject specialties...

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