Results from the 60-Second Survey: What is the Value of an MLIS to You?

Over the last two weeks of May, librarians, library staff, and library school students weighed in on the LRS 60-Second Survey “The Value of an MLIS Degree to you.” Almost 2,500 people from every state and 15 countries, representing all library types, responded. Around 1,300 respondents left comments, sharing additional thoughts on the value of the MLIS degree today.

When asked if they thought their MLIS degree was/is worth the money and time invested in it, just over three-fourths of respondents (76%) agreed or strongly agreed that their degree was worth the investment. Seven percent of respondents disagreed with the statement that their MLIS degree was worth the time and money they invested in it, and another 4 percent strongly disagreed. Ten percent indicated neutral feelings toward the value of their MLIS degree.

My MLIS degree was/is worth the time and money invested in it:*
*3 percent of respondents indicated N/A and the question was skipped by 11 respondents.

Respondents who have had their MLIS degree the longest were more likely to indicate that the time and money invested in the MLIS was worth it. Nine out of ten (92%) of respondents who have had their MLIS for 16+ years agreed or strongly agreed that the degree was worth the time and money they invested in it and only 8 percent disagreed, strongly disagreed, or were neutral. Almost 90 percent of respondents who have had their degrees for 11-15 years agreed or strongly agreed that the investment in the MLIS degree was worth it, as did 80 percent of respondents who have had their degrees for 6-10 years. While over two-thirds of newer professionals agreed or strongly agreed that their investment in the degree was worthwhile, they were less likely to strongly agree and were more likely to select neutral or to disagree or strongly disagree. Respondents who completed their degree 1-5 years ago were the most likely to indicate that the degree was not worth the time and money they invested in it, with 21 percent selecting disagree or strongly disagree.

My MLIS degree was/is worth the time and money invested in it, by when degree was completed:

Survey respondents also indicated whether or not they would recommend pursuing an MLIS degree if asked today. Almost two-thirds of respondents (63%) would recommend pursuing the MLIS degree, with one-fourth of respondents indicating they would “highly recommend” the degree. Close to one in six respondents would not recommend pursuing the degree, and 8 percent would actively dissuade others from pursuing it. Around 14 percent of the respondents said they were not sure if they would recommend the degree if asked.

If asked TODAY, would you recommend pursuing an MLIS degree?
In addition to being more likely to agree that the investment in the MLIS degree was worth it, respondents who have had their degrees the longest were also the most likely to indicate they would recommend pursuing the degree to others, with three-fourths of those who have had their MLIS for 16+ years indicating they would recommend or highly recommend the degree. Around two-thirds (65%) of those who have had their MLIS for 11-15 years and 6-10 years would also recommend or highly recommend the degree to others. Those who have had their degree for 1-5 years were the least likely to highly recommend or recommend the degree (49%) and were also the most likely to indicate that they would not recommend (22%) or actively dissuade (13%) others from pursuing an MLIS.

If asked TODAY, would you recommend pursuing an MLIS degree, by when degree was completed:

Stay tuned for a more in-depth report on the survey results, including a comparison with the 2008 survey results and analysis of the comments left by respondents. Until then, we’d love to hear your thoughts so far – please leave any comments below!

~Lisa

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LRS is part of the Colorado State Library, a unit of the Colorado Department of Education. We design and conduct library research for library and education professionals, public officials, and the media to inform practices and assessment needs. We partner with the Library and Information Science program at University of Denver's Morgridge College of Education to provide research fellowships to current MLIS students.

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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