British Columbia Library Association

Survey question 5: Any additional comments about your education experience?

By Various

Question five was intended as a grab bag – to solicit final thoughts after considering the preceding questions. The variety of responses made it impossible to graph; the feedback included everything from comments on the profession to people’s assessment of their own academic program experience, to reiterating ideas from questions one-through-four regarding what should or should not be part of education. 

This is also a good place to point out that a few responses commented on the type of education specifically – whether the profession might be served by a bachelor’s degree, and whether there’s a future for both the master’s degrees and tech diplomas. 

Responses from Library Technicians:

> “Mostly I felt prepared when I came out of school, but in the 13 years I’ve been a library technician, so much has changed about my job.”

> “I started my library technician diploma in 2007. One of the courses I took included a unit on using overhead projectors and cassette players. I remember thinking at the time that it was ridiculous. Programs need to keep up.”

> “The number of electives required makes it difficult to finish the program in a timely manner. I would prefer the program to focus specifically on library related skills and material, and not require additional non-library specific academic courses. Non-academic courses focusing on computer skills and business communication skills are the exception: these are very useful in the workplace.”

> “A longer practicum would have been appreciated.”

> “More production tutorial videos for online software, such as how to produce a podcast, etc.”

> “All my professors were amazing and were quick to answer any of my questions. For an online student, that is the best thing we can ask for.”

> “Not diverse enough in faculty and cohort.”

> “Wanted more practical work experience, especially dealing with difficult people and at risk groups.”

> “I enrolled in a library technician program with a particular position in mind. During the program my eyes were opened to the wider range of positions available and I discovered halfway through that my diploma was unlikely to qualify me for my new goal (director). I wonder about the need for both LibTech diplomas and MLIS degrees when the content is nearly identical. The main difference is the cost and time of acquiring a Bachelor’s degree. Perhaps it is time for library schooling to consolidate, remaining as financially accessible as possible for all.”

> “The UFV LIbrary and Information Technology program did a great job of preparing me for my job. Although I do not work in a traditional library setting, I use the skills I learned every day.”

Responses from Librarians:

> “I enjoyed the degree. It was challenging but not as grueling as others made it out to be. I did notice that lots of people seemed to regard it as a pointless hoop to jump through so that they could get a job they wanted. Going through the degree didn’t seem to change their minds much. But I found it valuable. It doesn’t replace on the job experience, but it does enhance it.”

> “I wish there had been a clearer discipline-related mentality and classes where we all worked in different capacities in different libraries, not a professional experience, but a class where you do a week at one library, a week at another etc.”

> “The best professors I had were also adjuncts with recent, lived library experiences. Library school had the most value inasmuch as it caused me to look outside of the school and its courses for the knowledge and perspectives that I find most useful.”

> “I feel that, for someone who did archival studies and library studies, I did not learn much about libraries because of how generally libraries were treated. I ended up working mostly in archives in part because I did not feel I had the necessary knowledge to work in a library.”

> “It never ends – we’re a tribe of lifelong learners :)”

> “I’ve said this numerous times in feedback to SLAIS but will add here: experience needs to be more valued in the acceptance of potential students. As someone with nearly 25 years of experience in the field, 17 of which were spent as director of a library in small interior city, when I applied, it seemed like my 30 year old academic grades were of more importance and I had to stand my ground on refusing to take preliminary course work to prove my ability to succeed in the program.”

> “My library education was useful as an introduction, but most of what I needed to know to be a successful working professional I learned on the job, and through colleagues/mentors.”

> “I was extremely pleased with it and it gave me a most rewarding career for 30 plus years.”

> “If I had to do it all over again, knowing what I know now and experiencing the decline of the profession, I would choose a different path.”

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