QUESTION: how/where to become a radical librarian

question / pregunta: 


I was wondering if anyone could help me out by telling me what steps I'd need to take in order to become 1. a librarian 2. a radical librarian.

I have a BA and am working on an MA, so I can't repeat either of those steps!

Also, I am in Canada and would prefer to do my studies in the GTA/Ontario, or the East coast.



As far as becoming a librarian goes - with a BA and a subject Masters, you are well on your way to being qualified for a position in an academic library. Public librarians are not typically required to have a second (subject) Masters, but it could be useful in some special collections. The last credential you would need would typically be a degree in Library Science (Masters level is usually the terminal degree for work in the field, though some do pursue a doctorate if they get involved in research). The University of Western Ontario in London and McGill University in Monreal both offer Master of Library and Information Science programs.

As far as becoming a radical librarian - I will leave it to others on the site to contribute their thoughts. In a way, the answer to that question is what some of those involved in Radical Reference are trying to figure out.

Answer posted by:

Just to add on, there are a few other options in Canada. Note that most jobs with the title "librarian" require that your Masters degree be from a program accredited by the American Library Association. The full list is on their website.

In Eastern Canada, there is also Dalhousie University (where I did my MLIS; I can tell you more if you're interested), University of Toronto, and Université de Montréal (French language).

Of course, all of the programs differ in size and academic emphasis, and all have their strengths and weaknesses. In the end, the degrees are pretty comparable; what's more important is what you make of the experience.

I agree that the question of being a radical librarian is personal, depending on how you define “radical” and even “librarian”! We do have a fledgling Radical Reference collective in Montreal, but I’m not aware of any comparable groups at this point elsewhere in Canada.

Please feel free to contact me directly for more info about library programs in Canada.

Answer posted by:

Just to give you a few more resources, aside from programs:

Library Underground

A guide to alternative library culture on the world wide web

These links lead to organizations that support, fight for or actively moblize information professionals and the general public around political, social, and cultural issues.

The University of Illinois

The University of Illinois and many other schools in the US have online programs that allow you to work from any location. I am currently enrolled in U of I's online "LEEP" program. It's definitely worth checking out.

Re: radical librarians

Hi all,

Thanks for all of the information. It certainly helps me to plan out my decisions!

@mfitzgibbons: I am interested in hearing more about Dalhousie-- I am not sure how to contact you, though!

Thanks again.

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