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external image 338242040_b7617260d7.jpg Future of Library Science Programs

The twenty-first century librarian is faced with many modern technologies. These technologies have become day to day tools for librarians in their service to patrons. This is why Master's and Doctoral degrees in librarianship are needed more than ever. Higher education in the field of librarianship is needed to provide knowledge and skills for future library professionals. The issue of education for librarianship was one of former ALA President Michael Gorman's biggest interest. He sought out council from many (400) during a forum at the 2006 ALA Midwinter Conference in San Antonio, TX to gain answers on the crisis he believed was destine for the field of librarianship. The MLS degree has not been around that long so the programs are continuously growing to better serve library patrons through preparing future librarians. Today Indiana's SLIS program is in full swing with educating students via distance education, which seems to be the eave of the future.

It all goes back to 1888 when Melvin Dewey suggested correspondence courses for libraries that could not afford for one reason or another to send their staff to on-site course instruction. This method of thinking was not fully accepted by professionals until centuries later. Indiana was actually one of the first university’s to offer distance education. In 1970 Indiana offered courses via television. Indiana’s SLIS program offers students of today and tomorrow degree opportunities despite geographic locations which years ago would limit a student’s educational growth. SLIS program are continuously evaluating their curriculums to design future on-line courses. Dr. Rachel Applegate PhD, Assistant Professor at IUPUI believes that the future of their MLS program will see change in, “specific technology but overall, the fundamentals of the profession will remain the same.” Her statement validates a 2005 study on Gen-Xers by Arthur Young, Peter Hernon, and Ronald Powell. Young, Hernon and Powell conducted a survey on the leadership attributes of the Gen-X generation (1965-1979). Eighty attributes were examine to find out what was thought to be the most essential to librarians representing the Gen-X generation. Some of the attributes listed were: good interpersonal skills, staffing, building partnerships, passion for libraries, etc. Technology was ranked #2 behind securing resource funding. This study demonstrates the need for future technology related courses in addition to the current curriculum in library science degrees. Library Science programs most keep up with society’s needs to produce qualified librarians. Just think, the Gen-X generation does not include all the students currently represented in library science programs. The Net generation (1980-2001) will demand even more technology resources. Young’s survey also points out that one of the least ranked attributes was technology driven “does not like to be left behind when it comes to new technologies (Young, page 491).”

In conclusion, the futures of library science programs are promising. These programs are always on the move to develop and implement curriculums to better serve future librarians.
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Young, Arthur, Peter Hernon, and Ronald Powell. Attributes of Academic Library Leadership: An Exploratory Study of Some Gen-Xers.
Journal of Academic Librarianship, Vol. 32 Number 5, pages 489-502.

Future of Indiana's SLIS Program