So What Does an MLIS Get You?

At this point, I am clear about one thing and it is important. An MLIS degree allows you to enter into a professional community as an official and honored member. Regardless of your specialization or predilections, despite your interest in social media or rare books, the degree, creates a space at the table of librarianship. And because, librarians love swag, you will be able to purchase a range of items to accessorize this formal identity: tote bags, bookmarks, coffee mugs, USB drives, bumper stickers and screen-savers. Space at the table is no small thing. Many terminal graduate degrees, including doctorates in the humanities and some social sciences, and I speak from personal experience, do not provide the same sense of community and shared professional future. A shared future is everything. It gives you room to breath, to experiment, to talk about dreams and to think big. You may disagree about what skills a twenty-first century librarian should have or whether or not s/he should be actually be called an information professional but all people with an MLIS degree agree on the core tenant of a profession that is more than a hundred years old: that providing efficient and equitable access to well-organized and credible knowledge resources is critical. In this increasingly fragmented world, sharing a professional raison d’etre is gold.

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