The library of the future has been discussed and debated on a large number of blogs, social media, articles, conferences, and in a number of posts on this site. The factors mentioned in these discussions are technology, space, and digitization. These factors are the focus. I will not argue against that. I wish to add and discuss one more factor, the LIS programs. What prompted this post is my continuously growing disappointment, caused from what I read and experience.
What I read is that a number of library programs in the US have been shut down in the recent years. Economic factors have forced Universities to reduce their programs. Usually, the two areas that pay the price of program reduction are Humanities and Librarianship. The decision is quick and easy. Some say it is because of the low enrollment. However, the enrollment is low as compared to sciences programs. I am not trying to take sides. I want to emphasize on the fact that decisions cannot be made based on comparison. There are a lot of people who are interested in these programs. By eliminating these programs we condemn the related disciplines to extinctions. These disciplines, along with the ones in Sciences and Social Sciences, are part of our cultural existence. Are we going to eliminate the Arts and Music? If we do, our civilization, which is still going through the dark ages, will never advance to anything else except from industrialized money counting creatures.
I’m moving on with my personal experience. I am really tired of the struggle to come up with some kind of solution every semester, because my school reduces courses to one semester only or to need-based. I made the decision not to graduate but to extend my degree and have a hard time taking the courses I want. Yes, it is what the student wants. It is what the student has paid for. It is the student’s career and not the University’s. The University gets the money; well, the least they can do is to provide the education they have promised.
Now that I finished complaining, I can go back to the title of this long post and connect it to all this. First, we need to have programs. Shutting down Library Science programs is not going to help the profession and is not going to help other professions either. I would like to see schools running without libraries, due to the lack of librarians. Next, we need to have strong programs. What does strong mean? It means programs with a variety of courses that will be offered frequently inside the academic year, so students can take them without a constant struggle and agony. I really don’t care if a course has five students. If there is such thing as commitment to the education of the people, then five or five hundred should make no difference.