The LIS field encompasses a wide range of career paths and directions, all of which must be considered when preparing new LIS professionals. In addition to more traditional areas such as information organization and collection development, and dispositions like customer service orientation and interpersonal skills, employers are also looking for skills and qualifications in areas like emerging technologies, data management, design thinking, and cultural competency. It is incumbent on LIS schools to ensure that their curricula are meeting the needs of the field. But which skills are core—meaning that all students should have a foundation in those skills, regardless of their area of focus or ultimate career path—and which are specialized, meaning that only professionals in specific positions are likely to need those skills? How are core skills defined by professional associations and employers, and how can LIS programs create curricula that lay a foundation of core competencies while also addressing emerging areas?
LIS programs find guidance from professional associations like the American Library Association (ALA), the Society for American Archivists (SAA), and the Special Library Association (SLA), each of which publishes sets of competencies meant to guide program development and content. In the case of ALA, those competencies form part of the basis by which degree programs are accredited.
Because the MSLIS is a professional degree, and its focus is to prepare students for employment and professional practice, LIS faculty can also look to employers to understand current and emerging needs in the field. LIS faculty and program directors might ask employers directly what skills and qualifications they are seeking. They might also track job postings to identify required and preferred skills and qualifications, as well as new job titles and areas of responsibility.
This interactive presentation will examine and discuss the results of a nationwide survey of over 2500 LIS practitioners and faculty to identify core LIS content and solicit input and from participants. Attendees will identify core content for LIS programs and discuss differences across settings and job functions.
ALA Unit/Subunit: ALA
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.