Transitioning from the mls to the mld: Integrating design thinling and philosophy into library and information science education

Rachel Ivy Clarke, Steven Bell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

7 Scopus citations


Purpose – As change creates more uncertainty for library practitioners, graduate library education needs to explore how best to prepare students to manage ambiguity through new approaches to identifying and solving challenging problems. We advocate for incorporating design into graduate library education. Design/Methodology/Approach – First, we discuss the need for a design approach to librarianship. We then introduce the nature of design thinking and philosophy and discuss the ways in which it is already present in librarianship. We review past developments and recent trends with a special focus on the ways in which design thinking, methods, and philosophies are (or are not) incorporated into library and information science (LIS) education. Findings – We synthesize these findings to propose recommendations and suggestions for an alternative degree program to the traditional Master of Library Science (MLS): the Master of Library Design (MLD). This includes the presentation of a new model of library education that blends design philosophy with traditional library science content. Originality/Value – This is the first compilation in the library literature to propose the development of a new type of library degree that we refer to as the MLD; hence, it has a high level of originality. While the library literature has examples of practitioners applying design thinking to improve library services, this chapter’s value is that it promotes the integration of design thinking and philosophy more broadly in order to better equip future library professionals for a rapidly changing information landscape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Librarianship
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameAdvances in Librarianship
ISSN (Print)0065-2830


  • Design
  • Design philosophy
  • Design thinking
  • Library education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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