Re-Envisioning the MLS: The Next 50 Years

Re-Envisioning the MLS: The Next 50 Years

The needs of our communities – to ensure access to information, to ensure equity, to ensure that we preserve our cultural record, to ensure an open and transparent government, to ensure that all students are ready to read and ready to learn – are great, if not greater, than they have ever been. At the same time, changes in technology, the nature of information and data, communities, learning, demographics, economy, and the policy environments create both challenges and opportunities to rethink MLS education in general and our MLS program in particular.

As the iSchool celebrates its 50th Anniversary, we have launched our “Re-envisioning the MLS” initiative. Our focus on information in an information economy is our competitive advantage. But what does the future MLS degree look like? What should it look like? More importantly, how do we ensure that our program prepares students to:

  • Inform, by serving as vital conduits to the information resources that people need when they need them.
  • Enable, by actively providing our communities with opportunities to succeed through the information, resources, and services we provide.
  • Equalize, by insuring that – regardless of background, ability, means, or any other factor – our communities have access to the information resources, services, and skills necessary for today and tomorrow.
  • Lead, by taking leadership roles in our communities around access to and the availability, dissemination, preservation of information.

These values have served the College and our MLS program well for 50 years. The journey we are taking is about the next 50 years, and I hope that you will join us as we “Re-Envision the MLS.”

Throughout the year, we have a number of events planned to solicit feedback, promote discussion, and engage our stakeholder communities.  Below is our Fall 2014 schedule – please do join us!

More information on our “Re-Envisioning the MLS” initiative is available on our blog:, tag: Re-Envisioning the MLS.

Defining the MLS: History, Origins, and Foundations

Led by Drs. Paul Jaeger and John Bertot, this session discusses the foundations of the MLS, its purposes, and roots in the iSchool. Join us as we discuss how MLS degree programs got their start, why MLS programs exist, the American Library Association accreditation context, and how MLS programs and accreditation are changing.

When: Monday, October 20
Where: Hornbake 2119
When: 4:30PM-5:30PM
Please RSVP at
Streaming: online via Adobe Connect at

Dr. Paul Jaeger is associate professor and co-director of the Information Policy & Access Center in the iSchool. He also serves as the assistant director for the Information and Diverse Populations (IDP) specialization within the MLS Program, and the iSchool’s Diversity Officer. Dr. John Bertot is professor and co-director of the Information Policy & Access Center in the iSchool. He also serves as the MLS Program Director and assistant director for the Community Analytics and Policy specialization within the MLS Program.

Burn the Libraries and Free the Librarians

Dr. R. David Lankes discusses: The days when there was a single model for a library, if they ever existed, are gone. The idea that the library is a storehouse of books and materials is gone. The notion that a library can serve off to the side of the mission of a community is gone. What’s left: the centrality of librarians in meeting the needs and aspirations of the community. This presentation presents a librarianship unencumbered by buildings or a fealty to traditions. It talks about librarians as facilitators of knowledge creation in libraries, and offices, and schools, and classrooms, and the wide reaches of the Internet.

When: Thursday, November 6
Where: McKeldin Special Events Room, 6137
When: 4:30PM-5:30PM, reception to follow
Please RSVP at
Streaming: online via Adobe Connect at

R. David Lankes is a professor and Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and director of the Information Institute of Syracuse. Lankes is a passionate advocate for libraries and their essential role in today’s society. He also seeks to understand how information approaches and technologies can be used to transform industries. In this capacity he has served on advisory boards and study teams in the fields of libraries, telecommunications, education, and transportation including at the National Academies. He has been a visiting fellow at the National Library of Canada, the Harvard School of Education, and the first fellow of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy. His book,The Atlas of New Librarianship won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature. More information on Lankes is available at

Libraries and Archives are Information Technologies

Wikipedia tells us that “technology is the collection of tools, including machinery, modifications, arrangements, and procedures used by humans.”  If we accept this definition, then both Library and Information Science and the study of Archives and Records Management are, and have always been, the study of technologies. As the first word in this abstract makes clear, we now live in an era with a vastly greater number and range of technologies to be harnessed in service of those who seek to keep, find and use information and evidence.  Harnessing that potential is, and always has been, the mission of what we today call an iSchool.  Where, then, does our Master of Library Science degree fit in this brave new world? How should we respond to new challenges and opportunities that emerging and evolving technologies provide? These questions are not just about how our profession will evolve, but also how we here at the University of Maryland will lead in that evolution. This session is led by Led by Drs. Brian Butler and Douglas Oard.

When: Wednesday, November 12
Where: Hornbake 2119
When: 4:30PM-5:30PM
Please rsvp at
Streaming: online via Adobe Connect at

Dr. Brian Butler is professor and director of the Master of Information Management program in the iSchool. He also serves as director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Communities and Information. His research combines theories and methods from organizational theory, information systems, and information studies to better understand how emerging technologies affect teams, communities, and organizations.  Dr. Douglas Oard is a Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, with joint appointments in the College of Information Studies and the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. Dr. Oard earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. His research interests center around the use of emerging technologies to support information seeking by end users. Additional information is available at


YX: Youth Learning in a Digital Context: Implications for Library, Information, and Education Professionals
Today, we live simultaneously in physical and digital environments. This is particularly true for children and youth. In this presentation, Dr. Mike Eisenberg discusses digital youth, learning, and how to rethink the MLS in a context of physical and digital living. The presentation focuses on how digital technologies are reshaping learning, services, and programs — and the significance of librarians, archivists, curators, and information professionals as critical contributors to learning and human flourishing.

When: Tuesday, December 9
Where: Margaret Brent Room, Stamp Student Union
When: 4:30PM-5:30PM, reception to follow
Please RSVP at
Streaming: online at

Dr. Mike Eisenberg is the founding dean of the Information School at the University of Washington, serving from 1998 to 2006. Known as an innovator and entrepreneur, Mike approached the iSchool as a startup—transforming the school into a broad-based information school with academic programs on all levels (bachelors through doctorate), increasing enrollment 400%, generating millions in funded research, and making a difference in industry, the public sector, and education on all levels. Mike’s current work focuses on information & technology literacy, virtual worlds, and library information and technology programs, K-20. For example, he has been co-PI with Alison Head on Project Information Literacy studies, the most extensive set of research studies ever conducted in that area. Mike is co-author of the “Big6 approach to information problem-solving” – the most widely used information literacy program in the world.