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People, politics and the profession: a view from the Tower


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Professor Forbes Gibb, University of Strathclyde. People, politics and the profession: a view from the Tower.

Presentation given at Glasgow Caledonian University of Friday 5th February, 2010. This presentation was part of a seminar on the history of library education in Scotland.

This seminar was the first seminar in the History of Libraries in Scotland seminar series. This series is jointly sponsored by the Library and Information History Group (CILIP) and Scottish Centre for the Book (Edinburgh Napier University).

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People, politics and the profession: a view from the Tower

  1. 1. People, politics and the profession: a view from the Tower<br />Forbes Gibb<br />
  2. 2. Overview<br />Historical context<br />The Scottish College of Librarianship<br />The Department of Librarianship<br />The Department of Information Science<br />The Department of Computer and Information Sciences<br />
  3. 3. Historical Context<br />1877 - Library Association founded after the first International Conference of Librarians<br />1880 - A motion to “consider how library assistants may best be aided in their training” was proposed at an AGM in Edinburgh by Henry Tedder<br />1880 - A Committee on Library Training was established<br />1885 - The first professional examinations held<br />
  4. 4. Professional Examinations<br />Preliminary : general educational subjects , for any appointment to a library post<br />Second Class Certificate: a knowledge of English literature and one other European literature, bibliography, cataloguing, library management and a cataloguing knowledge of at least two other languages<br />First Class Certificate: advanced knowledge, three languages and two years experience<br />
  5. 5. Professional Examinations<br />“Give a list of Dickens’s works in order of importance”<br />“The numbers of yards of paper required to cover the four walls of a room 54 ft wide and 30 ft high is 880, and the breadth of the paper is 7/8 yard. Required: the length of the room, the cost of the paper at 2s 2¼d per piece of 12 yards”<br />
  6. 6. Historical Context<br />1885 - The first proposal for a “summer school of librarianship” made that year<br />1893 - The first summer school was held in London (delivered by practitioners)<br />1895 - The Library Assistants Association (LAA) was formed who sought classes to help prepare for the LA examinations<br />1896 - The first summer school was held in Manchester<br />
  7. 7. Historical Context<br />1897 - Classes in librarianship organised in London by the LA<br />1898 - The LA was granted a Royal Charter and hence a monopoly on the education, examination and certification of librarians<br />1902 - The LSE offered classes in librarianship within those constraints<br />1904 - The LA introduced correspondence courses<br />
  8. 8. Historical Context<br />1914 - Classes at the LSE were suspended<br />1918 - Proposals were drafted to create a network of librarianship schools<br />1919 - A school was opened at University College London, with support from the Carnegie Trust, awarding its own diploma<br />1931 - Correspondence courses under the LAA<br />1933 - A new, three tier, examination system<br />1938 - A revised syllabus was proposed<br />
  9. 9. Political Context<br />Universities, in general, had withdrawn from professional education<br />The (only) school in London fuelled the perceived north-south divide<br />The Diploma was seen as devaluing existing qualifications (i.e. the Certificate)<br />Pressure for schools elsewhere in the UK, but only to prepare for LA examinations<br />Tensions between practitioners and the LA<br />
  10. 10. Political Context<br />1908 - SLA was founded<br />1931 – The SLA became affiliated to the LA<br />“… throughout the 75 years of its life there has existed in the SLA the belief that, despite denials to the contrary, the LA has never really understood the situation in Scotland”<br />Robert Craig, 1983<br />
  11. 11. Political Context - Scotland<br />Classes in librarianship were being held in the High School, Glasgow in the absence of a local school<br />1933 - W.B. Paton, Chief Librarian of Airdrie, attacked a report criticising the performance of candidates<br />1938 - W.B. Paton won a motion to withdraw an LA survey of Scottish public libraries<br />
  12. 12. Scottish College of Librarianship 1946 - 1964<br />1945 - Heriot-Watt turns down LA approach<br />1946 - Glasgow and West of Scotland Commercial College agree to:<br />Form a School of Librarianship<br />Appoint William B. Paton as lecturer<br />Commence courses on 16th September<br />Set a fee of £25 per session<br />One of five, rising to seven, schools created in the UK to offer FT and PT courses<br />
  13. 13. A Class at the College<br />
  14. 14. Scottish College of Librarianship 1946 - 1964<br />Still restricted to preparing students for the LA examinations<br />Still a strong emphasis on literature and bibliography<br />Staff levels rose from 1 to 6<br />1948 - 20 FT and 39 PT students<br />1949 - 29 FT and 36 PT students<br />1950 - Bill Tyler becomes HoD<br />1957 - Teacher Librarian Certificate introduced<br />
  15. 15. Bill Paton and Bill Tyler<br />
  16. 16. University of Strathclyde 1964 - 1985 <br />1964 - The LA was persuaded that schools should be able to teach and examine<br />1964 - The University of Strathclyde received its Royal Charter, incorporating the College of Commerce and the Royal College of Science and Technology<br />1966 - The first BA degree and PG Diploma in librarianship were approved at Strathclyde<br />1984 - FG arrives as a “new blood post”<br />
  17. 17. University of Strathclyde 1985-1991<br />Courses had gone through minor modifications but still retained an emphasis on bibliography, cataloguing and classification, and types of library<br />Staff levels 8-9<br />1985 - Bill Tyler retires<br />1985 - Blaise Cronin becomes HoD and a period of significant change starts<br />
  18. 18. Blaise Cronin<br />
  19. 19. University of Strathclyde 1985-1991<br />The Department embraces change, technology, business and the digital world<br />1984 - A ten PC lab was created with Computer Science<br />1984 - The Glasgow Herald Indexing Project was initiated with MSC funding with 20+ PCs<br />1986 - A departmental PC LAN was installed with six student machines<br />
  20. 20. University of Strathclyde 1985-1991<br />1986 - Information Science is created as a merger of Librarianship and Office Organisation and enters the Business School<br />1986 - Staff numbers rise (briefly) to 18 and deliver three PG courses and 1 UG course<br />1987 - PG Diploma in Information and Library Studies brought on stream<br />1988 - PG Diploma in Information Management brought on stream<br />
  21. 21. University of Strathclyde 1985-1991<br />1989 - Apple Macs employed in Glasgow Online project<br />1989 - First ESPRIT project (SIMPR) utilising Sun workstations<br />1991 - FG becomes HoD and there are 7 to 9 staff delivering three PG courses and 1 UG course, and contributing to MBA and BITS courses<br />1991 - Blaise Cronin leaves<br />
  22. 22. Charles Oppenheim<br />
  23. 23. University of Strathclyde 1992-1995<br />1992 - Charles Oppenheim becomes HoD<br />1995 - Charles Oppenheim leaves<br />1995 - FG becomes HoD<br />
  24. 24. University of Strathclyde 1995 -<br />1995 - TQA Excellent rating<br />1996 - RAE Grade 4 rating<br />1996 - UG offerings withdrawn<br />2001 - RAE Grade 4 rating<br />2001 - Bespoke course agreed with RBS<br />2001 - Merger with Computer Science and move to Science Faculty<br />2006 - 1000th PG student graduated<br />2007 - Organisation of Knowledge returns!<br />
  25. 25. The Cost of Education<br />
  26. 26. Summary<br />A shift from professional examinations to accredited courses<br />A shift away from UG provision to PG<br />A shift from exclusive curricula to selective sharing of classes<br />A shift to a larger domain of interest and contribution<br />A shift between faculties<br />