by Mirah Dow, Associate Professor, Coordinator, PhD Program, School of Library and Information Management, Emporia State University
Equipped, organized, arranged, primed, willing, and able? I hope so, but to do what?
As a university professor who first experienced work and life in big businesses (Hesston Corporation, now AGCO; and Gulf States Paper Corporation, now The Westervelt Company; and Proctor & Gamble), I am often frustrated by the distance that often seems to exist between the corporate world and academic communities such as the award-winning institutions I have worked in for the past two decades. It seems to me, corporate and academic communities have lots in common, especially when it comes to topics such as “learning (life-long).” I’m wondering if we (librarians) can put aside the typical debate that often divides corporate and academic worlds about whether to be focused on the “bottom-line” or “people” long enough to think about future ready learning. Yes, I know we can.
Special librarians, along with librarians in all types of libraries, today perhaps more than ever before, must be able to posit significant philosophical, professional and technical knowledge. To be future ready, I believe today’s librarians and information professionals must be able to apply philosophy from a variety of cognate disciplines to new problems and issues in virtual and physical libraries. As future ready researchers, we must have the intellectual capacity to focus on the phenomenon of information regardless of the format or context; attend to the entire information transfer cycle from creation to deletion of information; and, recognize the interdisciplinary nature of our field, which draws from scientific and social science disciplines, as well as from information science and library science.
I suggest these future ready learning goals .
Develop the intellectual capacity to connect and integrate several academic disciples or schools of thought, professions, or technologies in the pursuit of a common task. Interdisciplinary studies and skills are needed today more than ever to cross traditional, academic disciplinary boundaries as new opportunities and challenges in the information age emerge.
Know and be able to articulate theory that can potentially be used to construct new theoretical frameworks relevant and useful in the investigation of new information problems and topics. Be able to articulate awareness that out of various paradigms of social science thought develops related assumptions, theories, models, tools and practices.
Be committed to communicating information and knowledge to people. Librarians and information professionals must be moral agents responsible to themselves, others, and society as a whole. Embrace and convey values and ethics of library and information science such as service to society; access to information in many forms and formats; reading and the book are important; respect for truth and the search for truth; tolerance; the public good; justice; and aesthetics.
Think across all cognitive domains, which according to Bloom (1956, 1994) are knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. In doing so, demonstrate abilities to remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate and create, and to use critical thinking and writing skills within a critical, social theory framework.
Use and conduct research. Because information practices are always open to change and always demand responsible, professional services, research in library and information studies addresses many critical issues. How does electronic information change libraries and other scholarly organizations? How do libraries anticipate community needs in the 21st century? What is the librarian’s role in adding value to electronic information? There are many more critical topics and questions to be asked and answered.
Communicate, in writing and orally, clear and concise scholarly and professional knowledge of content and practice. Ensure the accuracy of research through ethical reporting of research results. Use excellent communication skills to instruct others to develop information and technology skills and to work in teams.
Ready? Have you achieved each of these future ready learning goals? If yes, great!
Get set. In case you are wondering, I hope you will consider taking yourself into the future through participation (if you have not already done so) in a Library and Information Studies, Master of Library Science (MLS) and/or PhD degree program. The American Library Association provides a searchable database for programs. There are many programs designed to educate dynamic leaders in the field of library and information science who are prepared to bridge the theory-practice divide.
I hope you will strongly consider applying to Emporia State University, School of Library and Information Management’ s MLS or PhD degree program. We provide an environment that fosters interdisciplinary and multicultural learning experiences, and will help you to achieve these six (and more), future-ready learning goals. We are now accepting applications for a new PhD cohort that will begin fall 2012. We accept MLS applications each semester and offer blended MLS course delivery in Kansas, Colorado, Utah, and Oregon. See our website for program requirements, application procedure, and schedule of new program start dates (by location).
Go . Go into the future able to bridge the theory-practice divide. The Master of Library Science and/or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree program in library and information studies can enable you to be future-ready. Let’s talk.
Anderson, L. W., & Sosniak, L. A. (Eds.) (1994). Bloom’s taxonomy: A forty-year retrospective. Ninety-third yearbook of the national Society for the Study of Education, Part 2. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Bloom, B.S., & Krathwohl, D.R. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals, by a committee of college and university examiners. Handbook I: Cognitive Domain. N.Y., N.Y.: Longmans, Green.
Mirah Dow is an Associate Professor at the School of Library and Information Management, Emporia State University, where she teaches foundations of information science, psychology of information use, organization theory, and research and inquiry to Master of Library Science and PhD students. During the past five years, she has investigated the effects of state-licensed school library media specialists (LMS) on student achievement in Kansas as represented by state assessment proficiency rates at the school level. Dr. Dow currently coordinates SLIM’s PhD program. From 1994-1999, Dr. Dow was director of a special library, The Kansas Resource Center on Autism, at The Teachers College, ESU. She can be reached at Mdow@emporia.edu.
Faculty Profile: http://slim.emporia.edu/