Stats and Graphs: What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School? 324 Responses

It’s Staturday!

When we last visited the What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School? survey, we had 263 responses.  As of 12/20/2014, we now have 324 responses.  The survey is and will remain open at
http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey,

And now, here are the

Results!

(A disclaimer: Please be advised this is not Science, and you shouldn’t try to extrapolate these trends to the world at large. Be a dear and also forgive the cut off labels on the charts – this is how Google forms deals with verbosity.)

 

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

 

Yes 24    7%
No 42 13%
Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate 230    71%
You can’t teach the job skills I need in library school 8 2%
Other 17    5%

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 5 is practice, 1 is theory and 3 means “both equally”)

 

1 (Theory) 2      1%
2 29      9%
3 (Both Equally) 147     45%
4 111      34%
5 (Practice) 32       10%

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

Reference 249   77%
Collection Management 233   72%
Project Management 211  65%
Library Management 195  60%
Research Methods 193  60%
Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations) 191 59%
Cataloging 184 57%
Web Design/Usability 184 57%
Instruction 176 54%
Field Work/Internships 173 53%
Marketing 165 51%
Outreach 159 49%
Budgeting/Accounting 158 49%
Digital Collections 137 42%
Information Behavior 137 42%
Grant Writing 125 39%
Readers’ Advisory 122 38%
Programming (Events) 114 35%
Metadata 100 31%
Services to Special Populations 87 27%
History of Books/Libraries 79 24%
Other 48 15%
Programming (Coding) 42 13%
Archives 30 9%
Vocabulary Design 29 9%
Portfolio/ePortfolio 16 5%

 

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently? (Example: a candidate who took an instructional design class vs. a candidate who taught library instruction sessions.)

 

Yes–I value skills gainedthrough a student job more highly 155      48%
Yes–I value skills gainedthrough coursework more highly 5 2%
No preference–as long as they have theskill, I don’t care how they got it 135 42%
Other 29 9%

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

Internship or practicum 250 77%
Library work experience 237 73%
Professional organization involvement 133 41%
Other presentation 73 23%
Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience 64 20%
Student organization involvement 61 19%
Other 42 13%
Conference presentation 31 10%
Other publication 17 5%
Scholarly publication 13 4%

Where are you?

Northeastern US 58 18%
Midwestern US 80 25%
Southern US 73 23%
Western US 75 23%
Canada 13 4%
UK 6 2%
Australia/New Zealand 7 2%
Other 7 2%

Where are you?

Urban area 124 38%
Suburban area 61 19%
City/town 99 31%
Rural area 30 9%
Other 8 2%

What type of institution do you hire for?

 

Academic Library 138 43%
Public Library 138 43%
School Library 6 2%
Special Library 26 8%
Archives 1 0%
Other 11 3%

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

 

0-10 58 18%
10-50 121 37%
50-100 60 19%
100-200 35 11%
200+ 46 14%

Are you a librarian?

Yes 305 94%
No 4 1%
It’s complicated 14 4%

 

Are you now or have you ever been:

A hiring manager (you are hiring people thatyou will directly or indirectly supervise) 250 77%
A member of a hiring or search committee 269 83%
Human resources 14 4%
Other 15 5%

Would you like to have information about you or your organization shared ?

No, I prefer to remain anonymous

286

88%

Yes, and I’ll give you my email address on the next page

35

11%

Leave a comment

Filed under Stats and Graphs, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Even if you have library/research experience getting that first library job is going to be the hardest.

Sydney Primary Schools (N.S.W Rep. Team), 1922 who beat Q'ld [Queensland] Reps. 2 Matches to 1This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Tutors, Reference Librarians

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban area in the Southern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

4

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging
√ Collection Management
√ Metadata
√ Reference
√ Instruction

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

Instruction skills – No gimicky/latest technology skills but solid skills such public speaking, how to explain a database etc.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

No preference. Its more about the individual as opposed to a school or program for me.

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Take as many classes in as diverse an area as you can. Internships are also extremely helpful and remember to network, network, network. Even if you have library/research experience getting that first library job is going to be the hardest.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Southern US, Suburban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Truth be told, I haven’t found the hiring process to be that painful

Hunting with Texas Jim Mitchell and friends in the Florida EvergladesThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), and has been looking for a new position for less than six months. This person is looking in academic law libraries at the supervisory or department head level. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I worked as an undergraduate student worker in the library, then worked five years as a library assistant before starting my MLIS program, continued to work full time while in school and did a summer internship in a federal court library.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Western US.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Some level of decision making authority, opportunities for creativity, and a supportive work environment.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, professional listservs (ALA, AALL, SLA) and special interest section listservs, I also have people in my network keeping an eye out – it’s amazing how many positions “fly under the radar”.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

3-4 hours over the course of 4-5 days, longer if I need reference letters. I usually start by combing the job application to get a sense of what they’re looking for, then I make a bulleted list of where my experience matches up, what I may be lacking, and what I add. I use that as my outline to both tailor my resume and draft my cover letter. I usually have one or two people look over my entire packet before asking for references, and finally submitting my application.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Other: Anything. Doesn’t matter.

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

One of the best interviews I had was one where the interviewer was totally straightforward, completely transparent, and directly stated what they were looking for. I think it’s when there’s confusion about what the candidate is expected to know or do that interviewees feel compelled to stretch the truth, or inflate their skill set. Also, if the employers are clear about what they want then it’s easier for the candidate to know if that’s a place they want to work at.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Truth be told, I haven’t found the hiring process to be that painful :)

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I think the secret is twofold:

The first is being self-aware; that is, knowing what skills you have or don’t have (and how you plan on developing those), how you are as an employee/supervisor, what your goals are, AND being able to articulate all of those.

The second is being careful as to which jobs to apply for. I see my friends (new library school grads) applying for everything from library assistant to library director. I don’t see how a person qualified to be a library assistant is going to get a director job, or how a person qualified to be a library director is going to be considered for an assistant. Truthfully I think those friends are wasting their time because they are applying for jobs that they are either over- or under- qualified for. Whatever your background, skills, personality, and goals are, jobs that match those are the ones you have the best chance at getting.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Urban area, Western US

specific sources and behaviors

School at Anthoston. Census 27, enrollment 12, attendance 7. Teacher expects 19 to be enrolled after work is overThis anonymous interview is with a special librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

catalogers, reference librarians, law librarians

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Western US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

3

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Collection Management
√ Metadata
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Marketing
√ Instruction

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

time management

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

familiarity with our collection & patrons (specific sources & behaviors)

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

gain as much practical experience as you can in as many areas as you can

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

Leave a comment

Filed under 0-10 staff members, Special, Suburban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Let us bypass those online fill in the blank applications if my resume answers the same questions.

A hunter and his dog quail hunting De Funiak Springs, FloridaThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for six months to a year. This person is looking in library vendors/service providers, public, and special libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I worked part time while I was in grad school at a public library, then moved to full time at the same library once I got my degree.

This job hunter is in a rural area in the Midwestern US and is looking for employment in two specific areas.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Job duties I enjoy, salary/benefits, location

Where do you look for open positions?

ILA website, I need a library job website, individual websites of libraries I am interested in.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

Read the job description several times, then research the library and position. Update my cover letter and resume to apply specifically to the position. Depending on how much I need to change/update, I’ll spend 4-6 hours on it.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Salary-make it livable and something worth the possibility of relocating. If that’s not possible, have something else appealing–good hours, great benefits, etc. I went into the field because I like the work, but my life outside of work is important too and I think about what my quality of life would be with the various factors of the job.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Let us bypass those online fill in the blank applications if my resume answers the same questions. Give as much info upfront–especially desired starting date.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Applying for what you’re qualified for, being enthusiastic and willing to learn, fitting into the culture, and getting lucky.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

I love that you are doing this. It has been so helpful in my job hunt.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Rural area

I’ve been at the same job 13 years and now I have to find a new one

ConDev5378A Hunting Dog, 1945, Washington County, NCThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field) and has been looking for a new position for less than six months. This person is looking in academic, public, and special libraries, as well as archives, at the following levels: requiring at least two years of experience, department head, senior librarian.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Southern US and is not willing to move but will commute up to an hour each way.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

A position that utilizes my skills
within commutable distance of my new home
that won’t leave me bored or exhausted.

Where do you look for open positions?

Alabama JobLink, which slurps up positions from various sites like ALA Joblist; my husband who is a library director (so I can’t work for his system)

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Other: Yes, but it isn’t a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

Depends on the position’s requirements. For the public library positions I’ve applied for, an email with a cover letter, tailored resume and references is usually only required so it takes less than an hour. However, the academic instructional librarian position that required 2-3 examples of my work in instruction (examples: guides, videos, tutorials, syllabi, etc.) took several hours to pull together and record.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Advertise widely, not just in the local newspaper. Free sites like library associations and/or email lists work great, too.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Keep up the communication. I’ve applied to jobs and you never hear, or hear months and months later, that you weren’t selected for the position. I’ve been on the other side of hiring so I know why sometimes that happens, but it isn’t fair to the applicants.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Be confident but not arrogant? I don’t know. I’ve been at the same job 13 years and now I have to find a new one due to my husband relocating. If only he’d gotten that other job, then I’d have an easier time finding a job that exactly matches my rather specific skills.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Southern US, Urban area

Further Questions: Can we talk about internal hiring?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

Can we talk about internal hiring? What is the process for promotions in your organization? Are there any particular indicators that show you when a staff member is ready for more responsibility? Do internal candidates have to follow the same application procedures as external candidates? Any other advice for succeeding when you’re already an employee?

We go out of our way to promote internally, and we never post the job externally when we intend to do so. (Not every institution is allowed to do that, of course.) Readiness really varies. Sometimes they’re the choice because of related prior experience. We’ve had internal candidates apply for higher-level things less than six months after getting hired, and we don’t hold that against them. They’re frequently successful, in fact.

 

I’ve had cases of losing a staff member to another department. And I’ve had cases of interviewing someone from another department and not hiring them. It’s never as awkward as people fear. Go for it.

 

The one thing I do wish we’d change is pushing people into positions that either they don’t feel ready for or are just not interested in. Sometimes it would be better to go through the extra work of posting and interviewing rather than shoving in a warm, convenient body. Yes, sometimes people lack confidence but are actually ready to shine. But not always. And then we lose them altogether the first chance they get to escape.
- Anonymous

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.

Leave a comment

Filed under Further Questions