“What do librarians need a master’s degree for?” he said. “I mean, they just reshelve books.”
This question isn’t surprising, of course. Lots of people ask it. So my companion and I pointed out various things librarians do which are not reshelving books — keeping abreast of new technologies, say, teaching people to navigate the huge piles of information they can find these days, research process, et cetera. He specifically called out school librarianship as requiring no skills, so we told him you need to know the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks (they’re not light reading) and pointed out the piles of awesome that school librarians can do.
Now, that’s clearly more than reshelving books, but do you need a master’s for it? We ducked that question a little and my personal jury’s still out; since I’m still looking for my first professional job I don’t know how much I’ll need the degree to do it. I do feel that the MLS equipped me to join in the conversation, which I have found very valuable. I also feel that it was a very expensive way to purchase the right to apply for certain jobs, which I don’t approve of. We’ll see.
At any rate, getting the MLS means I wasn’t surprised to hear someone ask the question.
What did surprise me was that he was working the tech support desk at a library.
So, about that articulation problem…