“I appreciate your no-nonsense takes:” Adjunct Instructors and the Future of the MLIS

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Gammons, Rachel, Emily Drabinski, Shanti Freundlich, and Nicole Pagowsky. “’I appreciate your no-nonsense takes:’ Adjunct Instructors and the Future of the MLIS.” Panel presentation at the bi-annual meeting of the ACRL Cleveland, OH, April 10-13, 2018.


A master’s degree in Library and Information Science, or MLIS, represents much more than the credentials needed to become a librarian. It is also the primary point of entry into our profession, in which graduate students learn the cultural values, expectations, norms, and standards of behavior of librarians. As of 2019, the American Library Association (ALA) has accredited 60 MLIS programs across the nation. Over the past decades, many of these programs have shifted their curricula and faculty away from traditional librarianship and toward the intersections of information and technology, more broadly. As a result, MLIS programs often rely on adjunct instructors who are also librarians to supplement the curriculum, and lead courses on topics such as academic librarianship, reference, teaching and pedagogy, and collection development and management.

This panel examined what it means to be an adjunct and a librarian, and how these roles may reinforce or resist one another. Rather than exploring the logistics of adjuncting and course design, our panel encouraged participants to consider how our work as adjuncts may impact the pipeline into the profession; what we, as practitioners, bring to our work with graduate students; and what graduate education contributes back to our work as librarians.