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  • Education for librarianship

    Education for librarianship in the United States and Canada generally consists of a master's degree program in library science. In Germany, the first step for an academic librarian is a Ph.D. in a subject field, followed by additional training in librarianship. There are also bachelor's, associate, and certificate programs in library science, which provide formal training of paraprofessional library workers, library technicians, and clerks—as well as preparation for graduate study in library science.

    Until the 19th century, the librarian in charge of an academic collection was normally a scholar, often a university professor with a special interest in the library. There were no training programs, and the new librarian was expected to follow the practices of other similar libraries. (Popular libraries in the modern sense had not yet developed.) In the 19th century, although some librarians followed this older pattern, others prepared as apprentices under the direction of established librarians.

    A library school is an institution of higher learning specializing in the professional training of librarians. The first library school in the United States was established by Melvil Dewey (the originator of the Dewey decimal system) in 1887 at Columbia University. Since then many library schools have been founded in the United States and Canada, with Canada's first formal librarianship program established at McGill University in 1904. The development of library schools in other countries began in 1915, when librarians' schools were founded at Leipzig and Barcelona (currently, as a faculty of the Universitat de Barcelona, the latter is the oldest library school in Europe). Many others were founded during World War II. The University of Chicago Graduate Library School became the first library school to confer a master's degree in library science, which is now the standard professional degree, and later became the first to give a doctoral degree in the field. Other prominent American library schools are located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Most library schools in North America offer graduate programs only. Accreditation of these programs is granted by the American Library Association. The bachelor's degree in Library Science (or Library Economy as it was called in early days) was, for the most part, phased out several decades ago. Librarians in North America typically earn a master's degree, typically the Master of Library Science (MLS) or the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS). This degree allows one to work as a practicing librarian in public libraries, academic libraries, school library media centers, and special libraries, while many individuals with the MLS credential work with major library vendors. The degree is also applicable to related sectors such as publishing.

    Master of Library Science programs are typically structured to offer a combination of required and elective courses in library science and information science. The required courses focus on core library skills such as cataloging, reference, collection development as well as related areas such as the philosophy underlying the profession, information technology and management. Elective courses may include information management, children's literature, genealogy and archives as well as specialized courses related to different types of libraries.

    In recent decades, many schools offering librarianship education have changed their names to reflect the shift from print media to electronic media, and to information contained outside of traditional libraries. Some call themselves schools of library and information science (abbreviated to "SLIS", hence the term "SLISters" for their students), while others may have dropped the word "library" altogether. This trend began as early as the 1960s with the recognition that information and access to it was shifting to electronic resources with the development of telecommunications and computer networks and away from the traditional definition of librarianship. This shift led a number of library schools to change or broaden their mission to be more inclusive of information sciences across many disciplines including library sciences, archives, computer sciences and more, and led to the development by a number of schools of an iSchool organization, to advance the field of information as a whole.

    In the United States and Canada, a professional librarian normally has a one or two-year master's degree in library and information science, library science or information science with abbreviations such as MLS, MSLS, MIS, MS-LIS, MISt, MI, MLIS, or MILS. Many professional librarians have degrees obtained from programs accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) and can have specializations within fields such as archives, records management, information architecture, information policy, knowledge management, public librarianship, medical librarianship, law librarianship, special librarianship, academic librarianship, or school (K-12) librarianship. School librarians often are required to have a teaching credential and school librarian license in addition to a library science degree. Master's degree programs for school library media specialist initial preparation are also accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), which ALA recognizes. Many, if not most, academic librarians also have a second, subject-based master's degree.

    Distinguished service to education for librarianship in the U.S. and Canada is recognized by the annual Beta Phi Mu Award sponsored by the International Honorary Society, Beta Phi Mu. The first award was made in 1954 to Rudolph Hjalmar Gjelsness Dean of the University of Michigan's Library Science Department from 1940 to 1964.

    In 1914, the University of the Philippines offered the first courses in Library education in the country. The University would later establish the first separate library school in the country in 1961; the Institute of Library Science, a former department of the now defunct College of Liberal Arts. Librarians usually have a four-year bachelor's degree in library and information studies, or a master's degree in LIS or one with a concentration in Library Science. It is also not uncommon for librarians to possess a degree in Education, with a specialization or major in Library Science. With passage of the Republic Act No. 6966 (Repealed in 2003 with the passing of R.A. 9246 or "The Philippine Librarianship Act of 2003") in 1990, graduates of library and information science are required to take the licensure examinations for librarians in order to practice librarianship in the Philippines or countries which have reciprocity as regards the practice of the field.