in General, Libraries/Info Sci

Town Hall

Just got back from an interesting meeting.

While in the SIS (School of Information Sciences) building this morning, I noticed a sign that there would be a “Town Hall Meeting” tonight to address a number of student concerns raised recently re: the library science program.

The result was a discussion of some issues that I’d be willing to bet affect a number of library schools right now.

Primary issues discussed included class size and the lack of technology classes. The deans’ response to every concern raised was “we’re working on it”. So in the end I guess I’m not sure what the meeting accomplished – 90% of students there will be graduated and gone before any of the proposed improvements go into place.

A concern I’ve raised in the past, and I was pleased to see others do likewise, was the diversity of technological experience crammed into each class. I’m not being egotistical when I say that my technology skills were a few levels above most other people in my Digital Libraries class last semester. Its what my bachelors is in, after all. As a result, we spent so much time on remedial material that it took away from the planned curriculum of the class. I had to do a lot more outside class work on my own to make up for it.

I had similar experiences in every technology class I’ve taken. If my experience at Pitt is typical of your average library school, then we have a big problem here. Not only are technology beginners not being brought up to par, but students with the potential for advancement to more complex topics are being underserved.

As a solution, more professors need to be hired. With them in place class size can be reduced and content more specialized and level-appropriate.

To qualify, I’m not saying that I haven’t received a great education. I’ve just had to do more work towards it myself than I expected.