[Libs-Or] Letter from Mitch Freedman

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 8 16:11:45 PST 2018

 Dear Colleagues,

I most strongly urge you to vote 'yes' to require a master's degree in
library science.

Yes, ALA is a business— but it is also much more. It deals with,
accreditation, standards, legislation, intellectual freedom, international
relations, diversity, professional and staff training, advocacy and much
more. ALA is the oldest and largest library Association in the world.  The
ALA Executive Director is the continuing face of ALA and represents
America's libraries and librarians to the world.

We fought hard and finally have a highly successful credentialed librarian
as Librarian of Congress.  She manages a budget of over almost $600,000,000
and a staff of more than 3000.  Carla Hayden is but one example of many
qualified librarians with excellent skills and qualifications. Our current
Executive Director, Mary Ghikas is another— as are other Past Executive

When asked, Keith Fiels, our former Executive Director stated that he
believes a library degree is essential for the Executive Director. Former
ALA Executive Director Robert Wedgeworth points out:

"...there must be a reason that the CEO’s of the American Bar Assn., the
American Medical Assn. and the American Nurses Assn. all are managed by
professionals in those fields. The ALA Executive Director manages a sizable
publishing house, maintains an influential office in DC, and manages a
sizeable staff and financial assets, but there are specialists to Head each
of those areas... While it is not required for the Executive Director to
have an MLS to be successful, the members expect the incumbent to
understand the issues, values, and concerns that affect their lives.”

Ages ago (1966-1968), I was Administrative Officer of what was then the
Library of Congress Processing Department which at the time was responsible
for acquisitions, cataloging and other technical services functions. In
1966, the Processing Department budget was $16,000,000.  $16,000,000 is
worth $121,000,000 or $124,000,000 today according to two different
inflation calculators.  In addition to its 1500 employees, the Processing
Department had overseas offices in numerous countries--some just
acquisitions and some both acquisitions and cataloging.

The Department director, John W. Cronin, only hired people with the MLS
degree for the Administrative Officer position.  It was his belief that a
librarian could learn administrative skills; but someone without an MLS
would not adequately understand librarianship and its mission, a necessary
and essential criterion for the position.

To the advocates for the "not-necessary" MLS degree, this is a denigration
of the time and expense of earning a library and information master's
degree.  We must take pride in our profession and the abilities of our
colleagues. A compromise here, a compromise there, will ultimately
culminate with the MLS not being required for library positions.

Maurice J. Freedman, MLS, PhD
Past President, American Library Association
Publisher, The Unabashed Librarian

*Diedre Conkling*

*Lincoln County Library DistrictP.O. Box 2027Newport, OR 97365Phone & Fax:
541-265-3066Work email**: **diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org*
<diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org>
*Home email: **diedre08 at gmail.com* <diedre08 at gmail.com>

“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change
your attitude.”―Maya Angelou
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