What school offers the fastest, cheapest distance MLS program?

Anonymous Patron writes "I'm looking for the fastest, cheapest, easiest to earn distance MLS. It must be ALA accredited. It should be as close to completely online as possible and it should require the bare minimum of on campus time. I do not care about prestige just the quickest cheapest MLS available. Surely I'm not the only one who has embarked on this hunt."

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Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

No you didn't say stupid but I certainly do not agree with your viewpoint. Interviews are not about how hard you worked in school. They are about how well you present yourself. Interviews are about selling yourself. No matter how hard the academic work, the candidate with better verbal communication skills has an edge. Why do you equate those seeking an easy program with not being able to excel in an interview? It’s a different skill set that most library science programs don't offer significant opportunities to develop. Most faculty that I’ve encountered aren't capable of providing the necessary instruction.My advice to someone seeking the cheap, fast, and easy is to attend Dale Carnegie in some of your spare time.
 

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

I do not think I said anything about being "stupid." I said the slackers many not be prepared or demonstrate the same abilities as those that have done extra. Getting hired is all in the perception you portray in an interview.

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

I don't think the Constitution says you are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of hard work vs. laziness.There is nothing wrong with wanting to choose a program based on cost or time, or even "easiness" (define easy. It may mean they are looking for something that works with a flexible schedule, etc.)However, if any of these are your sole determining factor, then I question whether you value the degree, or the time and money you put into it. Considering something as important as a graduate program that is a big investment of time and money, as well as having a huge impact on your future, should involve more than these factors.

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

You are revising your point and adding aditional assumptions. Undue toil is not a quality I see a particular need to respect or admire. Just because someone works harder doesn't mean they are any better at the task. I tend to assume, yes I'm assuming, that the person taking the easier route will work smarter not harder. The MLS is the same no matter how hard you work or don't work.

Re:Look for the best program for you

There are no ALA accredited programs outside the US and Canada. Unfortunately the ALA is the professional accrediting body. As hard as it is to get a good job as a librarian convincing them that some foreign institution is comparable to ALA certification of the programme.

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

From my very first post, I have always taken the same stand.

Unless you already have library experience, participate in professional activities, or have a job already lined up, I would worry about limiting your choices to "fast" and "cheap". Fast & cheap will do little to distinguish you from all the other recent grads out there that cannot find jobs.

Everyone has the MLS. I have said several times now, it is how you distinguish yourself the will lead to employment. If all someone does is the "easy" degree program, and does nothing to supplement their education, how have they made themself any different than all the other unemployed MLS graduates?

Re:FSU

Having just graduated from USf I would like to offer a few words about Dr. McCook from a library student's perspective. She obviously needs no one to defend her as she is a most outspoken person. She is the absolute best professor I encountered in the 2.5 yrs it took me to complete the degree program. Every one of Dr. McCook's classes fill up on the first day of registration. She teaches a seminar in public libraries, a course in Adult Services and an incredible course on Libraries as Cultural Heritage Institutions. She is online and available 24/7. You feel as if you were in a graduate seminar online and one develops an amazing rapport with the other online students thanks to herskill with teaching in an online environment. She respects the diversity of student opinions and treats opposing views with curtesy. Her classes remind one of why we wanted to bother to get the degree and to work in libraries to begin with. My one regret is that I have never had the pleasure of meeting her in person, a minor drawback of distance education.

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

I do not think you read all my comments.

I said someone seeking out the "easiest route" in school, may not be on equal ground of someone that seeked out a harder or more thorough program. From my experience, most (not all) that seek the easy route for school, do little to increase there chances in getting employment. They may have equal or better interview skills, but usually take the easy route in everything they have done to prepare.

People should think about preparing for a career in the same way that athletes prepare for competition...there is always someone preparing more.

It is not the school choice I question, but the attitude of looking for the easiest way instead of the best opportunity to get employment.

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

Uh, why he heck do you wnat to be a librarian? There is no money in it.


I think I knew the same thing but I went to library school and worked full time as well (albiet without children or lawn work).


I have other graduate degrees and speak other languages as well. I would have assumed that I would have been a good librarian at some academic library in one of the red states. Apparently they thought otherwise.


I do wonder if being a white guy had anything to do with it as I have seen any number of minority internship opportunities for which I am qualified. I was not selected for an internship at a health sciences library (after being an RN for ~13 yrs) because it was designed for minority librarians. I thought men were minority librarians.


Quit now and become a CPA, at least people respect CPAs and pay them a living wage. And the AICPA is not full of left wing nutjobs who propose that they come out with policies on terrorism.

Re:UIUC LEEP

As an out of state grad of LEEP, I can attest to the expense, but as far as prestige and longevity of program goes, LEEP rises to the top.

I got more IT experience than I ever dreamed!

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

Being a crank has a downside.

Re:Time to use some critical reasoning

Using efficiency as the basis to evaluate your life and life choices? Hmmm... sounds just like Melvil Dewey, which you would know if you took a History of Libraries course. You wouldn't do that though, because it's not essential and wouldn't be the most efficient use of your time.Yes, use your critical thinking skills. I applaud and value efficiency in the operation of a library or other organization. But I would evaluate success by other more human, less machinistic criteria, like the overall vibrancy of the Library Friends group or of the library itself. You can behave as if you are a machine if you want to - it's your life.Why go the extra mile? There are those who value experience and knowledge for its own sake, for its ability to test and strengthen our character, to show us the limits of our capabilities, to know ourselves and our lives fully. Working hard can be a worthwhile experience. Working smart and working hard are not mutually exclusive. I suppose on this we can agree to differ.Incidentally, I worked full time for a publisher while I attended library school full time, while I parented my daughter full time, while I also volunteered for about 3 different local grassroots/charity groups. I didn't get a whole lot of sleep for those two and a half years and I didn't watch TV. I was hired within 4 weeks of my graduation at a decent salary ($40K in a rural area where housing costs are about $400 a month) to create a brand new school library for a three-year-old private high school. I'm very happy with the choices I made to get to this point and I enjoy 99% of my job. Would I have gotten to this point if I had put in less than my best effort? Doubt it.

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

One mans' crank is another mans' freedom fighter :>

Re:Time to use some critical reasoning

You missed the point in your self-righteous soliloquy. Isn't that the case with so many passionate arguments? On the surface history of libraries sounds pretty easy. I bet that would gravitate it to the top over many other elective choices.Your argument is pretty easy to invalidate. One only needs to find someone who spent less effort for a higher salary adjusted for inflation and cost of living. I wonder if those without jobs feel the same way about the effort they spent.PSSorry your library educational experience was so arduous, however it appears that was personal choice. Bet your still waiting for the Trivial Pursuit library history category.

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose. Sorry I bet Janice is a little to liberal.

Re:Time to use some critical reasoning

Well, no. I wouldn't say History of Libraries was especially easy or especially difficult. It required a lot of reading (1700 pages over the semester plus the textbook), self-direction (we chose our own library history books to read), and discipline (we had to keep a journal in which we explored ideas and concepts addressed in the books we read with a minimum of one typed page of journal for every hundred pages of reading and due at the end of the semester) in addition to a few other assignments. Obviously the subject matter is either interesting or not, depending on the student.And I'm afraid in your eagerness to *invalidate* my perspective, you missed my point altogether. My "high" salary is not the reason I am happy. It demonstrates that I was externally rewarded for my effort, yes. But my point is that I made the choices I did because of internal "rewards": a tremendous sense of accomplishment, deep knowledge of my realized personal power, the satisfaction of having tested my limits and succeeded without compromising my standards, a fuller, richer, more profound experience of my own life... these were my reasons for expending my best efforts, along with wanting to know as much as I can know. These things are not quantifiable. I simply do not live my life as if I were a machine.So while you can't *invalidate* my perspective or my experience of my life, you could illustrate wide diversity in experience if you found someone who spent less effort for a higher salary and who also experiences similar internal rewards. (I think I know someone like that - someone who was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.)
 

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

The constitution has nothing to do with this discussion. Check your EEO law. Refusing to hire someone who went to a school you view as easy is about as defensable as not hiring based on race. Its a prejudice.

Re:Time to use some critical reasoning

Yawn I can't imagine a more boring subject than history of libraries.

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

Thanks. I appreciate your comments. Unfortunately, the person to whom I was responding with my post paints everyone who attends my school (or one similar) with the same brush: To this person, we're all stupid and lazy and looking for a free lunch. And not worthy of careful consideration when applying for a job. I just wanted to emphasize to this is not the case. Each person/job candidate should be examined on his or her own merits, and not be the victim of some deeply insecure person's prejudices and misplaced arrogance.

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

Isn't the MLS a hoop? Theoretical librarianship? Wow! finally a term to compliment knowledge mentor and information archictect. It can be lots of work to earn a MLS, but the theoretical work in library science is very week. Most of the arguments and discussions end in pretty obvious conclussions. The MLS could be a whole lot more practical and still qualify as a masters program. A greater emphasis on accounting and practical management issues would truly improve most programs.

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

Thats a big assumption. Give the slackers credit, lazy doesn't mean stupid.

U.N.T.

I'm not sure how this one program compares to others price wise but try the University of North Texas - www.unt.eduhttp://www.unt.edu/slis/

Fastest, Easiest, Cheapest?

Just remember you get what you pay for.

Re:Fastest, Easiest, Cheapest?

Exactly. I got my MLS following the fastest, cheapest, and easiest route. One of the brighter decisions I ever made. If you have library experience why follow any other route. An MLS is an MLS. I've been a librarian now for 10 years. Not once have I felt less a librarian for my decision. In fact I really do not believe the profession has a true prestigious institution.

Cheapest

I compared commuting two hours to paying out-of-state tuition with distance education programs. The only ones I found (as of 12-04) with reasonable out of state tuition that did not require residencies were Texas Woman's University, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Clarion University of Pennsylvania Clarion specializes in rural libraries, but they have not announced additional cohorts.

Other universities offer DE, but either require face-to-face time or out of state tuition is stiff. For example, OoST at Pitt is more than $900 per credit hour.

I think a lot depends on what you are looking for. I decided to commute two hours to Indianapolis for classes and (other than the drive) I'm not regretting my choice.

FSU

You might try FSU, it can be done completely online. If you are a resident of one of the academic common market states ( here ) you pay in state tuition.


The University of South Florida also has a program that can be done online, but I am not certain if it is completely online. Dr. de la Pena McCook if she is on could probably answer that.


Both are high quality programs so I'm not sure easy applies.

Re:FSU

High quality program FSU? You jest.No better than any other program. There is no marquee name in library science education.-FSU require 42 hours, which by my calculation is 6 hours longer than the minimum it's out.-USF requires 39 hours. 3 hours over the minimumBoth affordable via academic common market, but both drop the ball on the fast portion of the equation.

Re:Cheapest

Texas Woman University: a possibility to study further.Wisconsi-Milwaukee: nope a thesis/comp requirement not going to do something that is not required to meet the minimum. If you could take the comp and kill all your requirements in one fell swoop that would be one thing but to have to do 36 hours then a thesis or a comprehensive examination is nothing to consider.Clarion: over priced, but it certainly meets the easy requirement. As a graduate of Clarion I can attest to it being fast and easy. It was cheap when I was a resident. Really liked my Clarion experience, but trust me there is no easier degree.

Re:FSU

"Dr. de la Pena McCook"

Wha?? Makes Fang-face look tame. Very scary thought to have to have her as advisor or professor or whatever.

Now, what's with all the anon patrons posting in this thread? If you want to talk smack about a school, do it proudly.

Re:FSU

It makes you a librarian. In my opinion there is no high quality MLS program (and most probably needn't be). I agree with Greg that library science could be a fine undergrad degree. In fact I have an undergrad degree in Information Studies and some of the classes were no different than the graduate program.


If you are in school to be a librarian you are probably not challenging yourself with difficult courses because you don't plan to go on to the PhD or do research. If you are using the MLS as a stepping stone to an advanced degree you will probably be more CS oriented than Info Studies oriented so the MLS would take more of a data management track than an info sources & services track.


That said the MLS is not a very rigorous degree in my opinion. I have 2 other degrees that were harder (MS in Chemistry and MBA) for me. I am getting another MS in Irish Cultural Heritages which is not as hard as the first 2 I got... it seems on par or a little harder than my MLS.


However being a librarian did teach me one thing, I can direct you to the resource, in this case here.

UIUC LEEP

University of Illinois - Graduate School of Library and Information Science

Best is a relative term - I'm satistifed with LEEP so far, but I've heard some positive and negative things from outside our little community. The focus is on both asynchronous coursework (bulletin boards, emails, etc) and synchronous coursework (the lectures are given online where you can chat with the other students and the instructor). You also have to attend the on campus day each semester, and a 10 day 'boot camp' at the beginning of the program.


You need 40 credits to graduate, and since most classes are 4 credits you need approx. 10 classes to graduate. It is pretty fast - some students complete the degree in a single year, about 2 years is average taking 2 classes a semester and one class in two summers.


As far as cheap, for in-state students, its about $1400 for 4 credit class. For out of state studnets, tuition is about three times as much and because you have to be resident on campus every semester you'll spend a significant amount of money on travel.

Career Plans

Unless you already have library experience, participate in professional activities, or have a job already lined up, I would worry about limiting your choices to "fast" and "cheap". Fast & cheap will do little to distinguish you from all the other recent grads out there that cannot find jobs.

Re:Career Plans

I disagree. Hmmm... spend lots of money and effort and not get a job? Spend less money and effort and still not have a job? Well there fast and cheap wins. It's the MLS that matters, nothing else.

Re:Career Plans

Everyone has the MLS, so it can not be all that matters. The ones with the extras (experience, professional involvement, and/or additional skills) are finding jobs and succeeding faster.

If the person's main goal is to attain the MLS, "cheap, fast, & easy" is probably the best criteria. If the person is looking for the best opportunity to find employment, they should consider all criteria and schools as well.

fastest? cheapest? easiest?

I am disgusted and appalled at this question. I hope you are not interviewing for a job at my library. Because if I found out that you were the type interested in the fastest! cheapest! easiest! way of doing things, I'd pass you over in a moment in favor of a candidate who believes in hard work and investing in the future.Clearly you view the MLIS as a hoop to jump through, no more.1. Are you interested in an MLIS as a path to a better-paying job? If so, it makes sense that it should require an investment (of time, energy, money, etc), and should involve learning something.2. This whole issue points to a disagreement among library educatees over what an MLIS is. If it's viewed a trade degree intended to teach ACTUAL JOB SKILLS - along the lines of many technical schools - then grumbling about the impracticality of research-oriented programs may be justified. On the other hand, if it's viewed as an academic degree along the lines of an MA, then grumbling about too-easy programs may also be justified.I say "may" because, imo, the purpose of the degree is to learn theoretical stuff that may not be immediately useful to one's immediate job, but which is (again imo) essential to understanding the whys behind things, and seeing the bigger picture. I see this as the same sort of question as kids asking "Why do we need to learn history? It's not USEFUL!", or the issue of memorizing math formulas versus understanding why they work.And thank goodness it's a master's degree, since how many of us who came to librarianship later in life would have been willing to go back to undergrad for it?Sorry for being anonymous; I just discovered this site and don't have a user account.

Look for the best program for you

When I went to library school (Columbia University, 1979-80) I wanted to specialize in rare books and special collections. Columbia was really the only place to go. A degree from any other place at that time would have meant very little. No matter how fast or how cheap, it would have been a waste of money.

So my advice is to look for the best program in whatever subject you want to specialize, more than just the cost or the reputation of the school as a whole.

Re:FSU

Very scary thought to have to have her as advisor or professor or whatever.

How very reactionary of you to respond in this fashion; Mdoneil wasn't recommending Dr. de la Pena McCook as an advisor or professor, although I suppose "whatever" might apply since she was used as a reference. I don't see what political affiliations and personal beliefs might have to do with information about whether or not her employer offers distance learning programs, however. A fact is a fact and should not be confused for mere opinion anymore than you should confuse your opinions for facts. I guess when some librarians were studying information sciences they failed to learn how to differentiate between information and barnyard excrement.

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

concur.

It's not fast food, for heaven's sake. Don't bother doing any graduate program if you're not going to wring every bit of learning from it.

Online programs take a lot of discipline and commitment. I've heard they are harder than in-person ones. Don't think you're going to get a free ride. If it's really an accredited school, you'll have to work.

BTW - don't bother applying where I work, either.

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

And I probably wouldn't want to work for someone so full of him or herself as you.I'm a student at TWU, probably the "cheapest, fastest" of MLS-granting institutions. While I'm not thrilled with the program, I am getting a good education. I chose TWU's distance ed. program because I am a husband and the father of a three-year-old. I hold down a challenging full-time job. And I also have to get out and mow the lawn once a week. Nonetheless, I want to be a librarian, and I believe that I will be quite good at the job. I would like to have have gone to a full-time, campus-based program, but that simply isn't possible. This is the option that is available to me.Despite having chosen the 'fastest, cheapest' alternative, I work quite hard at my studies. I've also try to bolster my education where I can: by taking on extra-curricular projects at Houston-area libraries, by reading up on dataabses and libarry technologies, and by installing a running copy an ILS on my home computer. My choice of school reflects circumstance, not drive or intellect.Furthermore, I've spoken with numerous librarians, all of them very successful (directors and assistant directors of large academic libraries), very competent, and very bright. Whenever the subject of library school has come up, it has elicited a laugh, a shrug, and a deprecating comment. Everyone agrees that it has value, just not much. Most of what you learn is done on-the-job. Why else do you think recently-minted grads are having so much trouble finding work? It doesn't much matter where you go, but what you do with your time.By the way, I have a subject MA and speak a second language, as well. How about you?Sorry I'm logged on as anonymous.Barry Barancik

Re:Cheapest

Clarion Grad here, too. Easy? Well, you get out of it what you put into it. Fast? Well, if having a core requirement come up as a DE class once every three years is fast, I guess so. To do it in just two years I had to get permission to take a class elsewhere and transfer it.

Re:Look for the best program for you

Also consider other things like opportunities for co-op education, because if you are earning money (in your field!) while at Lib school, then the additional tuition $$$ is more than worth it.Have you thought about going overseas? Even paying international student fees might be less $$ then some colleges in the US. Canada for example?As for not being able to find a job, I was working part time only 4 months into library school (yay co-op!) and full time within 2 months. Employers will hire people from schools they know are good (often their fellow alumni), so quick, easy, online may seriously limit your job prospects. This may not matter if you are already in a unionized position at a library where you can not advance without that MLS, but heaven help you if you ever get laid off, or if other reasons stifle your advancement (hello Harvard!)

Time to use some critical reasoning

Cheap equates to affordable or economical. Less debt is usually better. Spend sometime amortizing cost of education versus earning potential. I’m betting affordable wins most times.Quick, does everybody believe quick negates prestige? Efficient is how I see this portion. This profession needs more who do. We can really safely eliminate those who think about doing something.Easy? That seems to be the apple cart tipper. I'm of the camp that believes giving the maximum of the required minimum. Takes 100 hours of work to earn a B versus 175 hours to earn an A? Then in my mind 100 hours is a reasonable investment, unless you really need the A. Work smarter not harder. We really need to have more strategic thought from graduates than is currently in evidence. If the degree is the same why put forth extra effort academically? Prestige that’s silly. Spend your effort on things that will distinguish you. Spending time working in a library while earning your MLS is more impressive than watching the cashbox at the student chapter ALA bake sale. A few hundred hours of your time working with the public and shelving several miles of books will make you stand out more than academic achievement. So much better if the degree doesn’t get in the way of the time to earn experience.

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

Illeagal. If ever I lost a job because of your silly prejudice I'd have perfect grounds for an EEO complaint against your institution. Besides who would want to work for, or with you. My guess is your not allowed to offer much input on such matters.

Re:Cheapest

That negates the fast portion. However I doubt you will find an easier program.

Re:Fastest, Easiest, Cheapest?

I fail to see the correlation.I expect that a library school in Boston or Chicago will charge a higher rate of tuition even to distance ed. students because, being in a large urban area, the school and its parent institution have much higher fixed costs and higher salaries to pay (not necessarily because they draw better staff, but because the cost of living is higher). Another institution--for example, Texas Woman's University or University of North Texas, both in Denton, TX--may be in a largely rural area where land and other costs are lower. These costs drive up tuition in urban universities without necessarily corresponding to a better quality of education.All this can be said before getting into the issue of public versus private schools. The latter generally charge more, but not all private schools necessarily provide a better education.I go to Texas Woman's University, a public institution. If it converts itself to a private university tomorrow, loses state funding and raises tuition accordingly, with all other factors remaining as they are, will the quality and prestige of the program automatically increase in your eyes?Barry Barancik

Re:Time to use some critical reasoning

My MLS was far from challenging. The biggest gripe I have about the work is being locked away during a really pretty summer trying to squeeze 12 credit hours into 8 weeks. The classes were not really hard but the time spent making the minimum instructor contact hour requirements was horrendous.I finished by MLS in 1996, got a job before I graduated at 38k. Cost of housing was around $400. My job was extraordinarily rewarding got to do more than I ever expected. My director prepared me extraordinarily well for my later career. Learned everything from fund accounting to reading blue prints.My library school experience provided an MLS nothing more. If there was a shortcut I took it. I spent time learning the profs and the mechanics of the classes I took. By doing that I spent less time with the actual class work. That time paid off over and over again by taking the same instructors each semester. Know your audience.Why did I get a decent salary and a great job? It wasn't because I suffered for education. I'm great in an interview. Very few of my classmates understood the importance of self-confidence, charisma, and the ability to effectively speak. The better employers covet those skills.
   

Re:FSU

Good grief. I'm no librarian and haven't studied to be one. What's your excuse?

Re:fastest? cheapest? easiest?

Not all programs are created equal. Yes there are easier programs which are fully blessed by the ALA.
     

Re:FSU

I'm no librarian and haven't studied to be one.

Oh, well, thank you for admitting that your comment about Dr. de la Pena McCook was, indeed, pure reactionism, then. After all, if you have absolutely no qualifications in the field, then by your own rules how can you possibly be in any position to judge what kind of an advisor or professor of L.I.S. she would make?

Re:FSU

I have to be "in the field" to be in a position to judge "what kind" of advisor or professor the good Dr. would make? No I do not.

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