Professional Principles and Ethics in LIS Graduate Curricula

Martin Garnar


As a degree, the master of library science is regularly questioned as to whether it is still effective as preparation for professional roles in the field. Concerns range from a lack of technical proficiency and practical skills in graduates to whether a graduate degree is even necessary to be a librarian. Defenders of the degree talk about the theoretical foundation given to graduates of library and information science (LIS) programs, including a grounding in the principles and values that undergird the professional work of a librarian. If that is one of the primary justifications of the degree, then it is important to understand how those principles and values, including professional ethics, are taught in library and information science programs. More than twenty years have elapsed since Shelley Rogers conducted a comprehensive review of ethics education in LIS program, so the American Library Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics decided to undertake a survey of all accredited LIS programs to ascertain the current state of ethics education in graduate programs, compare it to historical approaches, and discover how the committee can best use its resources to support the teaching of ethics to future librarians.

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