Monday, May 28, 2007

Virtual Hallways, Simulated Classrooms, Titles, and other Made Up Things

Well, I got great news this week: I've been accepted to my grad school of choice - UW. This fall I will start working on my Masters in Library and Information Science. w00t! I'm psyched and nervous to be re-entering academia. I hope that I quickly find the right balance between work, school, and life. One of the things I'm most excited about is that even though I'll be getting my degree through a distance program, I won't be alone. I'll be joined by a few great local librarians, including D! I loved getting my English Lit degree, but I've waited years to be studying this. I'm interested to see if the theory we learn will actually be relevant and useful.

I've often wondered (quietly of course, to avoid being shunned) how much an MLIS really affects your abilities as a "librarian". Will I really learn more in school than I do on the job? Will it really allow me to tap into SuperLibrarian abilities I've had to do without up till now? One of the things I already know I don't like about our profession is the rampant elitism. People are always asking, "Where did you get your degree?" So many people are so careful to distinguish between "librarians" and "library support staff" or what ever phrase is in. I find the whole thing really confusing as I never know what to call myself. If I say I'm the Teen Center Assistant it sounds like there's someone else higher up that I'm assisting, even though I am Teen Services. If I say I'm the Teen Center Librarian...well I don't, because I've been made thoroughly aware by other librarians that I would be over stepping my bounds - but that's what the public thinks of me as. I guess one definitely good thing that will come along with my degree is a little less ambiguity.

1 comment:

Dylan said...

I'm right there with you, Anna! How cool is it to have the best of a distance program (being able to work and live where you want) along with the best of an on-campus program (knowing some of your classmates in real-life)? I say it's pretty darn cool!

I totally agree with you on the "rampant elitism" bit (and I doubt I'm going to feel any differently after I have my degree and I'm part of the "elite" crowd). The public thinks that anyone who works in a library is a librarian -- why can't the rest of us get behind that? The folks who argue that you can only be called a librarian after you have a degree are missing the forest for the trees. A degree is nice, but it sure isn't everything.