I’m writing a post for YALSA’s The Hub about YA novels in which social media plays a large role in the plot.
Here’s the list I have so far, but I wanted to see if anyone else knew of others?
Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar
blog about gossip
Great by Sara Benincasa
Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley
daughter of mommy blogger
Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
shuns technology after discovering boyfriend has secret online girlfriend
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Macker
kids in 1996 see the future via an AOL disc
Unfriended by Rachel Vail
drama on social media
#scandal by Sarah Ockler
drama and cheating on Facebook
#16thingsithoughtweretrue by Janet Gurtler
twitter obsessed girl
Followers by Anna Davies
Feed by M.T. Anderson
internet/social networking implanted in brain
Free to Fall by Lauren Miller
app that makes all your decisions
Extras by Scott Westerfeld
social media as currency
To Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora
I haven’t read this, but it seems like an internet campaign to get a town excited about books, possibly inspired by that Trent Michigan banned books/library funding social media campaign?
Any others I’m forgetting?
I’m just like:
As much as I’m inclined to say…meh, not that much (like I just did), reading pieces like this and considering the frank lack a discussions around these topics in library school make me think/wish I should say differently. Hiring trends suggest otherwise and library experience IS paramount, but we also know we need the degree. What we learn in library school SHOULD matter. Curriculums should mattter. Class discussion should matter.
What to do?
I think about these questions a lot — both “does library school matter?” to which the consensus seems to be “yes if you want to get a job but no if you want to actually learn” and the “what to do?” which doesn’t seem to produce lots of actionable answers.
I’m getting my MLS from a not-top-tier school, mostly because it’s 1) cheap 2) geographically convenient and 3) where the degree is from doesn’t seem to matter as much as having one.
But I tell you, going to class and participating in online discussion (I’m in a blended on-site and online program) is PAINFUL.
Even worse, it’s unproductive. I’ve learned more tangible knowledge that applies to work in libraries in my previous careers in social work and finance than I have in library school. I’ve learned more about librarianship from the network of librarians online than any professor.
And of course, actually working in a library is the best library education. I’m lucky to have a professional level library job prior to finishing my degree and I’m only getting it in case I ever want to move or get another promotion.
But how can we make library school more than meaningless busywork?
In my opinion, the first thing that needs to happen is to tighten admissions standards and admit fewer candidates. My school recently got rid of the GRE requirement, and let me tell you, there are lots of people in my class who can’t hack it academically in a more rigorous program. Some people are just plain lazy. Some didn’t get a decent undergraduate education. Some lack basic social skills. I cannot believe that they got into the program at all.
I understand that people come to librarianship from all different backgrounds. Some are just out of undergrad, some are retirement age transitioning into a completely new career. Some are like me, in their late twenties/early thirties and have already been to grad school once before and worked in a professional setting for several years. But the bottom line is that library schools are producing more graduates than available jobs. And lots of people with the same degree have vastly different abilities. If library schools had more competitive admissions standards, not only would the quality of the education increase, because of the better discussion in classes, but the degree would have more meaning without all that dead weight.
The second problem is that there is so much diversity within the profession, yet the focus of instruction (at least in my program) has been overwhelmingly from an academic standpoint. While the theories and principles that underlie the profession may be universal, their application and relevance to actually working in the profession is not. I’d be in favor of more specialized tracks within library programs, certificate programs, digital badges, whatever. Paying someone to tell me what book to read and to have an online system grade quizzes and for someone to skim papers I’ve written and give me a grade that is not that different from someone else who produces work of much lower quality is a broken system. Forcing me to complete projects that fit a rigid system rather than to use classroom time and instructor feedback on projects I’m actually doing for work is a waste of time.
I’d also like to be able to quiz out of the basics. For those who have worked in libraries for years or have previous professional experience that could take the place of these foundation courses, a lot of library school is embarrassingly easy and rudimentary. I’d like the option of taking education or technology related coursework, even marketing coursework, that will be much more meaningful for the type of librarian I want to be than some of the required coursework.
I also think that those in positions of power — ie, those doing the hiring — have a vested interest in using the degree as a prerequisite because if not, it means that qualified people from other professions could potentially take their jobs. The stigma that some people attach to those working in libraries is inflicted out of fear. That’s what makes change difficult.
The worst part is: library school is killing my love of learning. The system really does need change.