ALA Councilors Disagree Over Updating LIS Rankings

From Library Journal:

Janet Webster first noticed that the U.S. News & World Report rankings for LIS education were years out-of-date one year ago. Webster, head librarian at the Hatfield Marine Science Center at Oregon State University, is one of the librarians behind a draft resolution floated recently on the American Library Association (ALA) Council electronic discussion list that would have ALA urge U.S. News & World Report to update its library school rankings, dated 1999. Thus far the resolution has been received coolly—mostly owing to Council members’ dismissal of the rankings in general—but Webster wonders if it is unwise to ignore the rankings and assume librarian-like research abilities among those who are only beginning to consider library school ...

Complete article.


By the lack of concern by ALA, the library profession is outdated in the prime method used by perspective students to do research on schools. Whether or not ALA agrees with the surveys methods, it is disagraceful the information is so outdated. I thought the profession would be more concerned with currency of data, since we work in the information world.

I know when I applied to library school back in 2001/2002, I used the rankings to decide who to get info from and where to apply. It wasn't until after I graduated from U of IL that I even heard the ratings were controversial and outdated. Of course Illinois wasn't going to share that info since they were ranked very highly. I think ALA needs to take a stand--either actively support a re-ranking or actively speak against the 1999 US News rankings. Prospective students are using the info to make choices, and the schools aren't going to say anything about it because it's bringing in the money.

I wouldn't have applied for library school if it hadn't been for the U.S. News report. I didn't even know there was such a thing as library school prior to seeing the rankings. ALA should absolutely pursue this.

In general, there is an unpardonable lack of information about library schools. (Quick, where can I find the average GRE scores of LIS students? How long does it take for each graduate to find a job? What are the average starting salaries of graduates from a given school?)

But U.S. News rankings aren't the only option. The American Bar Association publishes the "Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools" every single year. It is even available for free from the LSAC web site.

It is full of detailed information about every law school, far more information than is provided by LIS programs.

If ALA isn't going to pursue U.S. News rankings, at least they should provide an improved means of getting data about schools.

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