A beleaguered young professional contacted me last week. She has an MLIS degree from Iran. She cannot get an interview… not even for a clerk, technician or on-call position.
She has been told that she does not have an ALA-accredited degree.
However, the American Library Association (which also accredits Canadian programs) has this position:
- ALA policy 54.2 states: “The master's degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association (or from a master's level program in library and information studies accredited or recognized by the appropriate national body of another country) is the appropriate professional degree for librarians.”
Here is the position of the Canadian Library Association, which essentially endorses the ALA position:
She clearly meets these criteria.
She has also had her credentials evaluated independently by a state-approved board. All to no avail.
So, in desperation, she applied to LIS programs to re-do her MLIS degree. They will not take her because – right! – she already has an approved foreign equivalent of an ALA-accredited degree. She considered a Certificate of Advanced Study but it is not accredited and she fears she will be in the same position even though it builds on her MLIS degree.
What to do?
Can this be racism? I do not know her competencies or her interpersonal abilities but neither do the employers who have rejected her, as she has not received an interview. No, it is not because she cannot compete. She is told specifically it is because she does not have an ALA-accredited degree.
Should she sue? Should I help her to do so?
Other than sue, what is her recourse? Sadly, this is not the first time that I have heard this story.