The Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree is widely discussed as a potentially bad investment as a graduate level degree at this time because few programs are funded, it is rather specific, and it is notoriously difficult to actually get a job in the field of librarianship with an MLIS. One of the major reasons I’ve seen cited for this is the number of graduates versus available positions, and lack of practical work experience among new MLIS graduates.
However, I may have the opportunity to work in a library for over a year during my undergraduate degree. If lack of practical work experience is indeed (?) a major factor in the difficulty of the library job market post-graduation, would an MLIS be a more practical investment for me considering I could gain this experience before beginning the graduate program, thus leaving with both a degree and experience? In general, when deciding whether to apply to or enter an unfunded Master’s program in a given field directly out of undergrad, should presence or lack of existing work experience in the field (or a related one) during undergrad be a major consideration?