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Library Program Honored
Accreditation gives graduates a competitive edge.
Jessica Bies, Mankato Free Press, 8-17-2014
Mankato, Minn. -- Minnesota State University, Mankato is turning out a new breed of librarians this year with a new type of degree: nationally accredited.
Minnesota State Mankato’s School Library and Information Studies Program, a graduate program, recently earned “National Recognition” from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and the American Library Association.
The designation raises the visibility of graduates of Minnesota State Mankato’s School Library and Information Studies Program and also encourages greater interest in the program from prospective students, said its coordinator Deborah Jesseman. It takes two years of review to earn.
“It’s actually a wonderful thing for our students because the national recognition is from the American Library Association,” Jesseman said. “It means we have the ALA’s stamp of approval.”
It also means the university will be listed on the ALA’s list of accredited colleges and will be one of several the association recommends future school librarians attend to earn their master’s degree.
Currently, the only other Minnesota college included on the list is St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul.
The school librarian program is one of the smallest in Minnesota State Mankato’s College of Education but is thriving nevertheless, Jesseman said.
“We have on average about 50 students a year, and it’s growing, which is nice,” Jesseman said. “It’s a small program within the College of Education, but within the field is a decent size.”
Jesseman said contrary to popular opinion and the advent of technology, school librarians are in high demand. Many students pursuing their teaching licenses choose to also get certification as a librarian. Many are hired as school districts’ technology and research experts and are responsible for teaching students to search safely and effectively online.
Those that graduate from ALA accredited college are often given preference, Jesseman said. Which means Minnesota State Mankato students will have an advantage when it come to getting hired.
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