Published in New Library World, Vol. 111, No. 9/10 (2010) at 10.1108/03074801011089323


Purpose – The purpose of this case study is to summarize a task force's efforts to change the educational degree requirements for open librarian positions at a large university in the Midwestern USA.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews the literature on degree requirements in academic libraries and the nature of LIS degrees from countries outside the USA. It analyzes 136 position advertisements for academic librarians by required terminal degree and the type and Association of Research Libraries (ARL) status of the institution.

Findings – The paper concludes that, while most position advertisements do not specifically address foreign Library and Information Science (LIS) degrees, many advertisements, especially those at ARL libraries, contain flexible language that allows for degrees that are “equivalent” to the American Library Association (ALA) accredited LIS degree.

Research limitations/implications – The data collected from the relatively small sample of 136 job advertisements for academic librarians posted on the ALA Joblist and Chronicle of Higher Education web sites were largely meant to be anecdotal.

Practical implications – The paper provides useful information for academic libraries in the USA, receiving applications for professional positions from applicants with foreign LIS degrees.

Originality/value – Although the literature on the ALA-accredited Master's of Library and Information Science (MLS) degree is extensive, no study considers the availability of positions to those with MLS degrees from other countries.