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Title:The government needs more librarians: The applicability of an MLIS education in a public sector setting
Author(s):Trepanier, Cheryl; Samek, Toni
Continuing education
Library and information science education
Library and information science curriculum
Government employment
Public sector employment
Public sector librarianship
Government librarianship
Alternative librarianship
Abstract:Despite seemingly aligned information-related objectives and geographic proximity, the employment intersection between graduates of the University of Alberta’s ALA-accredited MLIS program and the Government of Alberta, a major provincial public sector employer, has been limited. Seeing an opportunity for MLIS graduate employment with the GOA, this research builds from an analysis of recruitment postings complemented with survey and interview findings from MLIS graduates now working at the Government of Alberta. The information garnered addresses how their MLIS prepared them for their work, where there were gaps, and what, if anything, they would have done differently to prepare for a public service career. Discussion focuses on the education, experience, and competencies sought by this public sector employer. Covering multiple job levels, Government of Alberta recruiters often expressed a preference for a “library education” but it was seldom a mandatory requirement, nor was a masters-level education. Every job required additional experience or expertise, indicating that MLIS graduates interested in public sector work may have to develop additional experience elsewhere or be prepared to accept a lower-level entry position. Information work in a government setting is not fundamentally different from traditional librarianship focused on public or academic institutions where, at the core, the aim is to make information accessible for the public good. However, findings indicate that the government employee is often required to further analyze information to support decision-making, requiring skills and competencies that many reported underdeveloped in their MLIS education including project management; business analysis and writing skills; technology; and policy development.
Issue Date:2019-09-24
Information use
Continuing education
Education programs/schools
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-08-23

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