Jaxadora Who? (jaxadora) wrote in libraries,
Jaxadora Who?

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Library science degrees abroad?

So, I have a question which I've been searching on Google for the answer to no avail.

I'm looking into getting my MLIS degree in the next year or two. Originally my plan was to do the online courses from University of Pittsburgh but now my mind has been wandering. Would it be possible for me to get a library science degree in the UK and come back to the U.S. to obtain a librarian job? I simply have no idea if jobs will accept an MLS (or MLIS) if it's from another country. I'm sure it's not impossible, but I thought I'd ask anyways!

Also, any insight you have to share on applying for a library science degree abroad would be great. :)
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July 10 2012, 19:42:14 UTC 5 years ago Edited:  July 10 2012, 19:43:05 UTC

Look at job ads in the area of librarianship and/or the area of the country you're interested in. A lot of jobs specify in the ad, "Must have MLS/MLIS from ALA-accredited school." Some of them add a clause about "or equivalent," in which case a UK degree should be fine. Some could probably waive the ALA accreditation requirement for an equivalent degree, but you'd have to go to the trouble to ask before applying. Some libraries with more rigid bureaucratic red tape probably can't waive the requirement even if they wanted to, so you would be somewhat limited. However, as long as you're willing to go the extra step of double checking with potential employers in advance of applying, I don't think the restriction would be too bad. I don't have any first-hand experience or know anyone who's done that, however, so maybe others will have better insight.
Thank you for your insight! :)
I think it depends on where you want to work. I have a friend who will be attending library school in BC, but she also wants to work in Canada.

The only major problem I see is that a lot of the curriculum, or my curriculum anyway, deals with ALA ethics and ALA policies which would be different for different countries. It sounds cheesy, but I actually base a lot of my actions on the ALA ethics policy---especially when a book is challenged, unfiltered internet is challenged, or right to privacy comes up.

I'm sure other countries have their own version of ALA though.
I would consider working in the UK after I earned my degree, but I guess I also want to keep my options open in case I decided to return to the U.S.

Thank you for your insight! :)
There is a reciprocal agreement for library science degrees accredited by the UK library association, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). Please see Foreign Credentials Evaluation Assistance – Job Seekers at ala.org/educationcareers/employment/foreigncredentialing/forjobseekers

The United Kingdom is one of the countries that has been identified as having "formal" accreditation processes and an individual who has received his/her degree from an institution in one of these countries is considered acceptable for employment in the United States. A list of the specific UK institutions can be found at cilip.org.uk/jobs-careers/qualifications/accreditation/pages/default.aspx
Ah, thank you SO much for this information! :D
Glad I could help!
As far as I understand it there is an agreement between the American Library Association (ALA) and CILIP (I forget what it stands for but it's basically the UK ALA) that their accredited degrees are equivalent. So as long as the degree is formally accredited by CILIP it'll be accepted as an ALA-accredited degree, and vice versa.

Be warned though, if you are going to attend a UK school you will have to show proof that you have enough to cover the cost of the degree, including housing, to the tune of I want to say $30,000 or more. I had looked into that myself, when I became newly single & was hating my job. Some of the programs sounded really lovely (I was eyeing a program in Scotland) but I just didn't have the funds - most of the programs wanted you to show a bank deposit PROVING you had enough $$. Something to think about :)
Hm, well, that's a bummer as I definitely wouldn't be able to prove those finances. :\ That's not to say I can't afford it, but I was going to look at loans and what-have-you. :( I do have a friend who is going to England for her Masters in Psychology though and she's definitely in the same boat as me financially so I wonder if it just depends on the university? Hmm...

Thank you for your insight though! :)
Be careful if you want to look at countries other than the UK!

In Australia, you can get a Graduate Diploma and work as an ALIA-accredited librarian. Unfortunately, the diploma doesn't count for much in the US or the UK where a Master-level degree is mandatory. I'm currently going through the process of upgrading my GradDip to an MLIS so I can work overseas :-D
Fuck ^ really!!! I'm currently getting a undergrad degree in Librarianship and Corporate Information Management and was planning on going to the UK with that.

I always get confused with what is what.
May I know whether ALA has another meanings beside. ''American Library Association