Greek and Spanish undergraduate perspectives on academic librarianship, within and beyond library science curricula
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Library and information science undergraduate programs’ adequacy to prepare new information professionals has become the topic of an ongoing debate, with opposing arguments about curricular structure and focus. Within this context, this study, forming part of ongoing doctoral research, analyzes students’ opinions on how to enhance library school curricula to effectively respond to academic librarians’ new roles and functions. By repositioning the lens on the practical and experience-driven student perspective, away from standard educational practices, the researchers pilot-tested a library science student survey. The mix-methods, student co-developed, survey instrument was tested with a small self-selection sample of future information professionals in Spain and Greece. The study’s goal was to contribute to the limited body of research concerning students´ perceptions and awareness about library science education. Survey participants were providedthe opportunity to critically evaluate their library schoolundergraduate programs’ responsiveness to the changing academic librarianship landscape. Responses, analyzed by using descriptive statistical and inductive thematic techniques, revealed a limited academic librarianship related content in library and information science curricula. Furthermore, results highlighted a reserved optimism with respect to the library’s prospects of upgrading its role in the university, an ambivalence towards librarian’s future roles, and a diffuse skepticism around the system’s potential to grasp the opportunities that the new information and communication technologies offer. The merit of the study resides in both the diversity of participants’ insightful comments and the use of a student validated survey instrument making them active contributors to the library school program’s assessment process. Dissimilar to stereotypical research projects, this initiative opens a different perspective to program evaluation and its subsequent alignment with academic library stakeholders’ needs. © 2019 University and Research Librarians Association (UNAK). All rights reserved.
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