This article looks back at the origins and development of professional training for librarians. It looks at how a specific body of knowledge developed and became a discipline in its own right in the nineteenth century. This then developed into an autonomous structure in the twentieth century, almost exclusively thanks to the efforts of librarianship professionals working in specific institutions. The process of integration into the university system began in the late 1980s, at a time when questions were being raised about the identity of the profession, torn between conflicting needs for unity and the diversification of professional duties. The necessary renewal of training methods resulting from this shift will have to take into account the reversal of the relationship between initial and life-long training, while promoting an ongoing dialogue between librarianship practice and research.