SOIS UWM Responds to "Recent Job Postings and Discussions"

The School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has posted a formal response on WISPUBLIB to recent questions about "the professional status of the Master of Library and Information Science degree." Excerpt:

"We urge those making personnel and budgetary decisions to maintain the professional status that communities expect and deserve in their libraries by providing a living wage that recognizes the value of trained librarians."

Not specified by name in the UWM-SOIS post: Marathon County Public Library. In February 2008, the Wausau (Wisconsin) Daily Herald reported that Marathon County Public Library demoted three librarians because "librarians today do less complex work."

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Not Enough

It's nice to see an information school taking a stand on this. Yes, libraries are valuable to communities, but what does that have to do with librarians' salaries? There are lots of reasons public librarian salaries are low, including more MLIS graduates than there are public library jobs and shrinking budgets. Raising the status of librarians is important, and information schools should be participating in that effort, but it will take more than that to raise their salaries.

additional reasons for wispublib post

Also in recent weeks, two professional librarian level jobs have been posted at the Mequon-Thiensville Library in WI with very low wages. The UW-Madison SLIS director Louise Robbins and Jane Perlmutter also posted a strongly worded message about 2-3 weeks ago condemning the low wages. Certainly the Wausau situation has been a catalyst for professionals in the state and I think many see that this is a wake-up call to let communities know that professional librarians are a vital part of librarianship (not the only part - but a very important part!)

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