WILL UNWOUND #284: “Any Advice for Just Curious?”November 22, 2010
My letter to you is in part a vent. I admit that. But it is also a sincere request for information.
I am what is called a “Library Aide II” at my public library. I have a B.A. degree in sociology from our state university, but I do not have a Masters Degree in Library Science. Therein is the rub.
I have been a Library Aide II for 20 years. In that time period I have broken in probably 15 or 16 newly minted, wet behind the ears “professional” librarians who have the good fortune to have the MLS degree. Some of these novices have been high and mighty poseurs who have treated me like their ugly step sister, while others have been sincerely appreciative of the help that I have given them in introducing them to the real world of librarianship as opposed to the phoney baloney they got from out of touch library school professors.
I am an honest person. My 20 years of experience easily trumps their graduate library degree and yet their paycheck trumps mine. Am I resentful? Of course. It would be hard not to be.
On the other hand, I am realistic. I know the rules of the game. I did not make the effort to get my MLS. I put family first. As a single mom, I had never the time nor the money to go back to graduate school. I get that. I have paid the price for making a bad husband choice in my early 20s. It’s my fault and I admit it.
Still, I feel perfectly accurate in my assessment of my skills versus the skills of the rookie “professional” librarians.
My question is this: really in this day and age what skills, talents and abilities does library school give you that you can’t learn on the job?
That’s my question. I guess I have to satisfy myself one way or another, and I truly want to hear from all of you with degrees. Did your degree really make a difference in any way other than as a union card that gave you entrance into the grand caste of professionalism?