The Future of the MLIS

Imparting enduring values with changing instruction models

At ALA, we know that the future relevance of libraries and library professionals will depend on what we do for people rather than what we have for people. What isn’t entirely clear is what this evolution means for library education. A 2014 paper from Deloitte LLP’s Deloitte University Press, “The Lifetime Learner,”(PDF) offers a revealing look at higher education that may help us find some answers. It describes a new landscape in which individuals must weigh the increasing costs of a traditional education against the uncertainty of a future payoff; and the emergence of “a rich ecosystem of semistructured, unorthodox learning providers” to meet the “disparate needs and expectations of individual learners.” Is it worth it, they ask, to achieve a four-year, campus-based degree when technological advancements reduce the lifespan of specific skills and the globalized, automated workforce must constantly learn and retrain?


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