Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.


What's In a Name?

Does "library" matter?

My alma mater, Rutgers SCILS, has decided to remove "library" from its name and become SCI.

A meeting with current students, alumni, etc. is being live blogged at SCILS or SCI.

Personally? I'm both embarrassed and appalled. To me, this is a loud "libraries and librarians don't matter" -- tho, Rutgers will still accept tuition from those who want an MLIS degree. Our money is good; who we are and what we do? Not so much.

About eighteen months ago, Amy at Library Garden said we should "pimp ourselves" -- be loud and proud about our MLS/MLISs.

The library news is full of bad news: libraries closing, hours cut, staff reduced, budgets cut.

And what does SCILS do? The opposite of being proud; instead, they back away from the l-word.

I wonder, if our professional schools don't want to promote libraries, does it matter? Should we just toss the towel in, say it doesn't matter whether or not we are librarians? It doesn't matter if we work in libraries? Heck, if it doesn't matter, why do we need an MLS or MLIS? Maybe we should all go back to school for this type of degree, if libraries don't matter.

Edited to add: The Annoyed Librarian addresses the name change. Her point? Or at least, what I think her point is? That the professors at universities teaching library science aren't librarians: "The permanent faculty at library schools aren't librarians. What they research and teach has only the most tenuous connection if any to libraries or librarianship." So the name doesn't matter, because what goes on at "library school" has nothing to do with libraries; and Rutgers has a captive student audience who won't go elsewhere, no matter what the name is.

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  • At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Recreation administration would probably be very appropriate degree. After all, what libraries are left are being turned into gameroom/computer bays/cafes. Some newer libraries you would never know they are a library, and let's not go into the maybe we should get a Social Work Masters while at it issue. Yes, L-Schools dropping the L is pretty much disgusting to say the least. But what else is new? Not like those schools really have the interest of librarians at heart. It's whoever pays tuition to keep them open.

  • At 9:21 AM, Blogger Cynthia said…

    I graduated from SCILS in May, 2008. I went part-time mostly, so I was there for 2.5 years. Over the course of that time it was increasingly clear that RU culture and focus was changing.

    While SCILS had not a single desk chair that had all four legs sit on the floor evenly, a multi-million dollar stadium was being built.

    The apathy of the student body was amazing--people drove in, went to class, and mostly left immediately. SCILS was a ghost town on weekends. No one seemed invested in the school.

    This was proposed a long time ago, but there was very little discussion of it from current students, faculty, and alumni. Certainly not the outcry we are hearing now.

    I don't know how I feel--I didn't go to RU because of the name, I went because it was affordable, I could continue to work while preparing to change careers, and it was well reviewed by alumni.


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