Although it seems that the question of whether librarianship is a profession might have been settled when Melvil Dewey declared it to be one back in 1876 (the same year the American Library Association was formed), the debate goes on. In The MLS Project: An Assessment after Sixty Years, Boyd Keith Swigger enters the conversation, beginning with the ALA Council’s approval of new standards for accrediting library education programs in 1951. This change shifted standards away from the bachelor’s degree to the master’s degree in library science, making that the credential for entry into the profession, and limiting ALA accreditation to master’s degree programs. Improving the lot of librarians in terms of status, income, and prestige were among the goals of “the MLS project,” but Swigger argues that the results have been mixed, partly because we have never really managed to convince others of our value, and partly because our “jurisdiction over information access” is being undermined. The question we should be asking is not whether librarianship is a profession, but whether it should be.
Indexed. 170P. PBK $50 from Scarecrow Press (978-0-8108-7703-0).