Why the MLS matters
In the news today, education professor Bill Ayers was turned away at the Canadian border. Professor Ayers noted that such seemed to be a violation of his academic freedom. While never tried and convicted in the United States for any Weather Underground related events, Canadian law cares not. Canada's counterpart to our USA PATRIOT Act can be somewhat more draconian and goes places that would scare Americans. The notoriety picked up during the campaign as well as his lack of repentance likely led the Canada Border Services Agency to exclude him as an undesirable alien. While he would have let himself into Canada, Canada's standards are different from those in force in the United States.
In the United States, we often don't ascribe much meaning to the MLS. This has been a lovely topic over the past couple years. Once you exit the United States and cross a national border, the MLS means everything. In far too many English-speaking realms, the lack of the MLS cannot be compensated for by position let alone position title. Whether you head up a hospital library or make great pieces of software that means nothing in too many realms when it comes to border crossings if you attempt to cross as a librarian instead of as a library paraprofessional if you lack the MLS. Even though I am notionally in private practice, I am able to be recognized for border-crossing purposes as a librarian while those lacking the MLS cannot. No amount of action to make paraprofessionals feel more respected will change the rules of foreign governments in terms of professional recognition. The MLS is the sole recognized credential that says librarian.
Speech that was okay in the United States was deemed undesirable abroad. Such isn't a violation of the First Amendment because that only applies to the US government and not foreign administrations. Recognition of professional status in the United States does not export abroad easily as the MLS matter shows.
Globalization can be interesting. Who really thought Pax Americana was even possible? This shows that we're hardly there at all.