Friday, August 25, 2006

Demise of LIS?

The recent announcement of the dissolution of the School of Informatics at the University of Buffalo is another example of the marginalization of the profession and discipline of Library and Information Science. Its abandonment isn't the first, nor will it be the last.

Why are library schools still being closed down even though the need for information specialists continue to rise? Is it the stale image of the librarian? Is it the measly wages? Regardless of the reasons, academia seem to enjoy pushing LIS programs around. (Michael Lorenzen's "Education Schools and Library Schools: A Comparison of Their Perceptions by Academia" offers a fascinating analysis). In the ugly case of the LIS program at Buffalo, it was first the merger with the Department of Communications in 2001, then now, the arbitrary insertion into the Faculty of Education. It's gotten so bad that the library school barely passed ALA accreditation (it's been given a "conditional" status).

When will the madness stop? It's time for information professionals to stand up and do something.

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