Ok, here goes, I’m going to wade into this debate with my size 12’s.
Even though I know this has extinguished some peoples careers I’m going to go for it.
But, before you pass judgement on my thoughts remember, they are only my thoughts I put down here. I don’t write them to persuade you to think any different from your own thoughts and I certainly don’t write them because I believe your thoughts to be invalid, or wrong and I certainly don’t write this because I don’t value your opinions, so hopefully in reading this if you disagree you’ll remember that they are just my thoughts.
Now I’m going to admit it, I never went to library school. I have no formal library qualification. I do not have a degree in librarianship neither have I taken a course in librarianship. I do however have degrees in English and Education, I have gained MCLIP status and am working towards my FCLIP.
I also believe that the training I have received, working in the best Schools Library Service in the country, under two of the best librarians, managers and leaders you’re ever likely to meet has provided me with more than I could ever have gained from a library degree.
Now if you have a degree in librarianship I am not rubbishing your degree in the slightest I am merely saying that the experiences I had provided me with an equivalence and more, with an understanding of specifically a school library.
At no time in my school librarian career have I ever felt I’ve missed out from not having a library degree, in fact I feel that my education degree has actually massively benefitted me. I have achieved massive amounts in my school, am an Assistant Head and have impacted on numerous aspects of the school.
Yet when I tell some school librarians that I don’t have a degree in librarianship a sharp intake of breathe is heard, followed by the sentence, ‘really, you mean you’re not qualified?’ ‘Not qualified for what’ I always reply. ‘Well not a qualified librarian.’ At this point I normally just walk away. This, I feel is a massive problem in our profession. It is a locust, a disease that is slowly killing our profession. I feel I’ve been relatively successful in my job, maybe more successful than most and still have lots to give but I am shunned because I don’t have a library degree, what. the. hell. is. that. about?
Who cares about the qualifications someone has? If they are doing a fantastic job then do we stop them from doing it because they don’t have a certificate that says they can do it?
Now some people are going to be fuming at this point.
Remember, I value yours and this is only my thoughts on the matter.
So let’s think about some of the (legit) reasons why people may feel like this. It could be that they feel threatened, threatened that someone potentially that hasn’t had the training that they have had is doing the same job. Does this not devalue their job, their role and their qualifications. Maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t. But I’ll leave you with just one thought. In my experience it is these school librarians, who are most vocal in this area, that would more often than not, describe that in their role, they, are quite often teachers and teaching. Now, again my own opinion, but would you not think that a teacher who has a teaching degree would feel that you are devaluing their degree, training, knowledge and job by saying this?
Just have a moment to think and remember it’s only my opinion.