Library "educators" are in a tough position in some ways. They don't have a natural audience the way scholars in traditional academic fields do, because the MLS especially is a professional rather than an academic degree. That's why it's easier in some schools to find a class in rapid-response informatics or distributed cognition environments than in reference or collection development.
If you're a scholar in an academic field, then theory and practice usually join together. Take history, for example. Academic historians usually write for other academic historians. Obviously there is a broad demand for popular history among educated people, and entire subfields of history that have active non-academic historians (particularly military history and the history of the American Civil War), but historians generally don't write for a popular audience. Here's a recent book from CUP, for example: Capitals of Capital: A History of International Finance Centres, 1780-2005. Considering the press, it's probably a great book, but most likely only specialists and students in economic history will ever read it. Historians are practitioners, and in their field theory and practice are one. Even teaching, the other activity of most historians, is training a new generation of historians, a new generation of practitioners. The scholar is also the practitioner, and what they practice is scholarship.
And obviously this is true of many areas of scholarship. Even in Education, a justly maligned academic field, the professors of education generally might have shoddy research methods and an intellectual laxity strengthened by their stranglehold on state educational licensing boards, but they are at least teachers training teachers.
But what happens when we move to fields where the theoreticians are not also the obvious practitioners, such as in LIS. When I was in library school, I was training to be a librarian, not, God forbid, a library school professor. And without fail, the most useful classes I had were taught by librarians at the university library who adjuncted as LIS professors. Some of the professors were very intelligent and productive and perfectly nice people, and some of them had even at some point been librarians, but it was clear they weren't librarians.
The absolutely worst LIS professor I ever had had never been a librarian, but had gone straight from college through an MLS and LIS PhD program. With his new PhD, he was now a real professor, but he knew nothing about working in a library. It's possible the class I had with him was even his first real class. He was terrible. Not only had he never been a librarian, but he'd never even been a teacher. I was at least ahead of him on that score. Frankly, he wasn't very bright, either, but he was well meaning. As an experienced teacher and scholar who wanted to become a librarian, what was I supposed to learn from this fellow?
A library school professor I know has often complained (and cited some statistics to prove) that librarians don't read the work of library educators. Library educators write mostly for themselves in a vacuum divorced from the practice of librarianship. It only makes sense. Historians write for historians. Economists write for economists. Physicists write for physicists. And LIS professors write for other LIS professors. They do write for practitioners, but their practice is the practice of being LIS professors. It's not the practice of being librarians. It doesn't even have a proper name like historian, economist, or physicist. Librarianist? Informationist?
I've told this library professor that the reason I rarely read any of the scholarly output of LIS faculty is because it has almost nothing to do with my work and I don't find it intellectually interesting. I have wide-ranging intellectual interests in the humanities and social sciences, but LIS isn't one of them. Their concerns are not my concerns. I'm not concerned with what a library school professor has to say, for example, about collection development in a research library. Without being immodest, I think I can say that I know a lot more about the subject than most library school professors. And unlike a lot of librarians, I could actually articulate that knowledge. The same can be said for reference as well, though in reference there are some very knowledgeable professors. I may have a lot to learn about these subjects from excellent and thoughtful practitioners, but I have very little to learn about them from LIS professors.
(I will except from my discussion techie subjects where theory and practice might be more aligned. But programmers aren't running libraries. I will also except from this criticism the occasional LIS professor who writes intelligently on issues of genuine concern for librarians.)
This also helps explain why the bulk of the library literature written by librarians is so dull, even if it's sometimes useful. They don't have the time or the inclination to do good theoretical work; they're writing as librarians for librarians and trying to come up with something useful.
I just looked through the faculty research interests website at a highly ranked library school, and not one professor had an interest in collection development (though a couple had interests in digital collections), and only one had a research interest in reference (and she's actually done some good work). LIS professors just don't find those courses interesting, which is understandable because reference and collection development are practices of librarians, not LIS professors. If I want to build library collections and teach people how to use them, there's little I need to know from LIS professors.
And those academic subjects that I do need to know about, and in fact know something about, have nothing to do with LIS. If I were an LIS bibliographer, then I would need to know what they're doing and keep up with the work in the field. But I'm not and never will be. As a research librarian, I need to know about actual academic subjects, not library science.
I see this as a great divide in library education. The further LIS professors gravitate away from the practice of librarianship, the less they offer to the profession. Academically, this isn't necessarily a problem, since some professors produce excellent work. There are a number of outstanding library historians. But while their work may be interesting historically, it doesn't help me in my practice. There are all sorts of LIS professors who write about exciting topics like human rights and race relations. But while their work might be interesting to people bored by librarianship and excited by politics, it doesn't have anything to do with the practice of librarianship, unless librarianship ceases to be about running libraries and serving library populations and instead becomes an exercise in romantic revolution.
But it does raise the question of what library schools are for? Are they for training librarians? Or are they for LIS professors to expand scholarship on various areas of information that is of little use or interest to librarians? Keep in mind, I'm not saying this work doesn't have scholarly value. I'm only saying it has no value for the practice of librarianship. These are two very different things, and it becomes a problem only when the library schools staffed by library professors are supposed to be training librarians. Isn't that what gets them accredited by the ALA?
Finally, I suppose that's one reason I'm so critical of library school. The professors don't want to teach the mundane subjects that will actually be useful in running libraries, with good reason. They're not librarians, they don't understand librarians, and they couldn't possibly speak with the authority I can on those issues. And they think that their area of LIS scholarship should be interesting for people who want to be librarians. Well, it's not. They teach for LIS scholars, but I don't want to be an LIS scholar. I'd rather be a librarian.