Library Journal released it’s annual salary survey for graduates from ALA-accredited programs and there was the usual mixture of trumpeting and excuses. Regional differences explain most of the variance but of course JESSE was used, as always, as a vehicle for self-aggrandizement from some quarters. San Jose claimed great success but in so doing annoyed Michigan by claiming the wrong tuition rates, resulting in a public airing of indignation and so it goes. The data come from recent grads of all the programs, most of whom (in my experience) just don’t complete the survey. For grads who don’t end up working in libraries, the motivation to complete the LJ survey is hard to assess but I know from our program that returns are low. Since it is often the folks going into these other careers who earn the largest salaries, the resulting data set is limited in value.
The bigger problem here is the continual ranking push that has LIS programs shouting from the rooftops about their ‘rank’ (no matter the scale, the method, or the lack of established correlation between any measure of rank and real program quality). And on top of this, US NEWS has just circulated a survey ranking all LIS programs in which people get to rank their own program! JESSE has become a vehicle for telling everyone else in the tiny community just how important you are, how connected you are or how some minor award given by your friends is really an index of your excellence- all submitted under the pretense that you are just sharing info. The rest of the time it’s an excuse for the true believers, the self-selected protection squad to find some trumped up reason to berate the infliltrators (info-traitors?) from the dark side. Real, substantive discussion among educators has taken a back seat to the shrill shouting. Where are you, Jesse Shera, when we need you most?