Category Archives: What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

a willingness to get their hands dirty – sometimes books have to be moved and we have to do it.

school children in japanThis 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:

Technical services/systems librarian

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban area in the Northeastern 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?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Library Management
√ Research Methods
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Soft skills, time management, and a willingness to get their hands dirty – sometimes books have to be moved and we have to do it.

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)?

our particular catalog, as long as they have the ability to learn that is fine.

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

√ Internship or practicum
√ Professional organization involvement

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

Not sure, the majority I see here are Simmons.

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

Get some experience – doesn’t matter how, volunteer, intern, filing service job, just get in a library.

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, Northeastern US, Special, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

get some experience even through volunteerism

Rural school children, San Augustine County, Texas (LOC)This anonymous interview is with an academic library worker who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

graduate assistants

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban 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)

3

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

√ Cataloging
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Archives
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Portfolio/ePortfolio
√ Field Work/Internships

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

marketing, instruction, information behaviors, web design, project 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?

√ Other: Important to have the skill, but also theory and best practices behind the skill.

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

specifics or the library organization

 

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Student organization involvement
√ Professional organization involvement

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

n/a

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

n/a

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

get some experience even through volunteerism, learn to present and instruct, gain good technology skills, and join professional groups and interact with other professionals

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

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

Leave a comment

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

Talk to your references and make sure they know who you are!

Library, 1959This anonymous interview is with a public 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:

all

This librarian works at a library with  100-200 staff members in a multi-type cooperative 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)

3

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

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Other: common sense–but you can’t teach that

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

Most of the people I interview think that cataloging is the ideal job. I hate to tell them this, but we’re about public service and everyone works the front desk/reference. We outsource as much cataloging as we can, and that’s no longer a professional level job for the most part. Lacking often are the presentation skills, the ability to speak coherently to a group, the ability to get an idea/s across. Can you tell a story? Can you present budget ideas? Can you write a grant proposal?

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

√ No preference–as long as they have the skill, I don’t care how they got it

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

√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation
√ Student organization involvement
√ Other: Direct public involvement

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

NA

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

No but I hesitate from those who do online programs only as they miss a lot of the intellectual discussion of ideas and theories. These online programs are fine to a point.

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

Get involved in your community. Participate in some of the activities be it book sales, sports team coaching or whatever you’re interested in. And by all means, talk to your references and make sure they know who you are. Lately, I’ve had people use references that have claimed they didn’t know the person. Fatal flaw!

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses to this survey, or specific analysis of the responses discussing online school, the amount of coursework students should take, and preferences/reluctances for candidates from certain schools.

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under 100-200 staff members, Public, Southern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

graduates really should have a better understanding of the various library functions and their interaction.

School Children in Keene New HampshireThis anonymous interview is with a law firm 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:

Various law firm library positions

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area in the Midatlantic 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
√ Research Methods
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

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

I think many graduates tend to lack both specific practical skills and the overall picture of the different elements of library operations. Library operations (including cataloging, research & reference, collection management, and budgeting issues) tend to be remarkably similar no matter the size of the collection. I think there’s only so much that can be done in the classroom to provide practical skills and knowledge, but graduates really should have a better understanding of the various library functions and their interaction.

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

√ No preference–as long as they have the skill, I don’t care how they got it

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

I’m in a law firm. I don’t expect new hires to have specific experience searching the various databases we subscribe to.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum

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

Simmons is probably the only program that stands out for me, although I definitely consider the quality of the candidate far more than the reputation of the school.

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

No.

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

Either have practical work experience from a full-time or part-time library job, or do multiple internships during library school. The real world work experience is absolutely essential in order for me to even consider a candidate.

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

1 Comment

Filed under 200+ staff members, Law Library, Special, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

We are reduced to hiring the most flexible candidate, not the most qualified.

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 member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference and instructional librarians.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban 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)

2

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

√ Cataloging
√ Vocabulary Design
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Outreach
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

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

What we keep coming up against are local candidates who received their degrees online, mostly from UNT. They have zero library experience, practical or theoretical.
With experienced candidates the problems are different. A change in management led to two classes of librarians – a group hired under the old conditions which were M-F, 8-5; newer hires are expected to work evenings and weekends. We are reduced to hiring the most flexible candidate, not the most qualified.

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

√ Other: We expect all candidates to demonstrate the skills needed. Coursework does not suffice.

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

I believe the rigorous theoretical framework of most good library school programs make for a better librarian. But no amount of coursework can prepare a librarian for the vagaries experienced at the reference desk, in the classroom, in the real workplace.
Too much theory is being discarded, particularly with online programs – several non-professional co-workers have received their degrees online and the have little in-depth knowledge of information creation, organization, etc. BUT – they know how to create a blog and a wiki, skills that can easily be picked up OTJ.

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

√ Library work experience

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

Bricks and mortar institutions are doing a better job preparing candidates. Most of our staff graduated from UT Austin’s MLIS program (over the course of some 15 years); one from University of Washington; one from University of Iowa.

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

Unless there is a compelling background (a doctorate in chemistry, for example) we aren’t considering candidates from online degree programs. Their coursework isn’t rigorous enough and not one has ANY library experience.

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

First – get a bricks and mortar degree. The school should have a good graduate placement program like UT Austin’s.

Second – get some real library experience. The General Libraries at UT Austin have lots of part- and full-time non-professional positions available. My classmates who worked for them had no problems finding a full-time professional position upon graduation, most had jobs before they finished the degree.

Third – if you must get the online degree, be prepared to move! There are no jobs available in this city (one of the 10 largest in the U.S.) for new librarians unless they have ample library experience.

Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?

It’s a hard job market and has been for the near 30 years I’ve been a librarian. Sadly the MLIS degree has been oversold, particularly by online programs but ALA has been a willing partner in the deception. Not a one of the librarians I work with is contemplating early retirement and just one is planning to retire at 65. Most are going to be working to at least 70 and some plan to work until the die. Despite what ALA says, libraries are filled with librarians who cannot afford to retire and make way for new librarians.

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

2 Comments

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

How all parts interconnect — perhaps something learned in the real world.

School Children in Keene New Hampshire2This 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:

Librarians and library assistant

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a city/town 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)

3

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

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ 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?

General overall understanding of libraries and how all parts interconnect — perhaps something learned in the real world.

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

√ No preference–as long as they have the skill, I don’t care how they got it

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

Reference interview techniques, how our reference sources work, cost recovery

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?

Take practical courses and do work study

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, City/town, Southern US, Special, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Challenge yourself to improve/expand your skill set, especially with technology

Librarian working at the Pointe Coupee Parish Parish library in New Roads Louisiana in 1936This anonymous interview is with a public 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:

metadata librarians, user experience people, web developers, reference librarians, marketing

This librarian works at a library with  100-200 staff members in an urban area in the  Midwestern US.

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

√ Yes

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
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Marketing
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships

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

User experience

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

√ No preference–as long as they have the skill, I don’t care how they got it

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

Software and other tools specific to the job, meeting facilitation, project management

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum

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

I might take an extra look at candidates from iSchools such as Washington and Michigan but this is certainly no guarantee.

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

No, I would base impressions on the merits of the potential hire, the application materials and the interview.

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

Challenge yourself to improve/expand your skill set, especially with technology.  Don’t wait to do this on the job or on your own.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses to this survey, or specific analysis of the responses discussing online school, the amount of coursework students should take, and preferences/reluctances for candidates from certain schools.

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under 100-200 staff members, Midwestern US, Public, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School