Category Archives: What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Get to know people in your field, and make connections.

School Children In AlgeriaThis 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:

Adult Librarians
Children’s Librarians
Teen Librarians

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a suburban area in the Midwestern 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?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ 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?

The ability to see a library as being about more than books! It’s amazing to me how many Librarians say they want to work at my library because they like to read. Sorry, but I need someone who not only likes to read, but also solve problems, work with technology, plan and implement programs, interact with people, and be innovative.

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)?

How to use our ILS, what kinds of programs to plan for our Library, and how we market programs and events.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation

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

University of Wisconsin, Madison (or any Wisconsin school)
University of Illinois
Drexel University

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

University of Phoenix

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

They should become involved in the type of library where they want to work when they’ve graduated. Get to know people in your field, and make connections.

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 50-100 staff members, Midwestern US, Public, Suburban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Don’t get locked into a self-defeatist rut while searching for your first job

aaron dobbs
Aaron W Dobbs is the Scholarly Communications, eResource Development, & Web Librarian at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, a library with 10-50 staff members in a rural area in the Northeastern US. In addition to librarianating, he was elected to two consecutive years as University Curriculum Committee Chair, facilitating development and approval processes supporting the Shippensburg University curriculum. He has served on or led 11 hiring committees over 20 years in academic libraries and has presented on leveraging prior experiences when launching a library career. He hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Instruction and Reference Librarians (with an extra specialty or two). Everyone at MPOW is Instruction and Reference first, plus extra responsibilities as library needs change.

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
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Programming (Events)
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√Field Work/Internships
√Instruction
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Other: The remaining category choices are also good, if one can fit them in somehow

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

For straight through school (UG straight to MLIS) grads, there seems to be some lack of perspective. Perspective meaning experience working a full-time, 35+ hour per week job. To anyone anywhere I would say work a job doing anything manual labor or customer service oriented. Work a crappy job and learn just how crappy it can be – and learn how to succeed on that job. It will suck, but that experience will help when you go for a library job.

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 the applicant has the skill, and the drive to improve at it, 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)?

Customer service, treating people well, professional demeanor (not worried about looks so much, but hygiene and respectful/respectable public persona count for a lot). We will be happy to sharpen people skills, but the applicant also needs to bring some basic humanity to the position.

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

√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation
√ Other publication
√ Student organization involvement
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Other: library experience and teaching experience (for academics) is a major bonus

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

It’s not so much the school as what the student can demonstrate understanding about and/or experience with through coursework and related experience. There are LIS school rankings available (take them with a grain of salt; “top 10″ is more indicative than “number 5″ for example). Ditto on coursework delivery mode (f2f vs online); it’s more about the understanding than the delivery mode. The student who is wildly successful at any library school will likely be wildly successful on the job, too.

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

I’ve met a billionty graduates from most (if not all) the LIS schools. Those from the “top 10″ or upper half have generally been impressive, those from the middle and lower end of the pack have generally been quite good, too. There are exceptions in both directions – duds from top 10 schools and stars from the bottom of the pack. I believe it depends more the individual than the school.

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

Take time to relax and socialize with your peers. Use the local public and your academic library. Join the student ALA chapter and the state library association. Go to the local conferences and the local extracurricular educational trips. Apply for the ALA Student to Staff program which gets you to an ALA Annual in exchange for 10-20 hours of conference-related work. Apply for travel grants from vendors. Work in a library somehow, if you can – internships, practicums, volunteering, job shadowing. Keep track of your class projects and see if they can become something publishable. Anything helps.

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

“Librarian” jobs are increasingly hard to find. It’s easier if you can relocate (often to very “out of the way” places or to large urban areas) a couple times. “Librarian” skills are not limited to working in actual libraries – the skill sets are compatible with all sorts of information-industry jobs (which often pay more than library jobs). Don’t get locked into a self-defeatist rut while searching for your first job (I did this and it was really all from my perception of failure from not getting interviews nor offers – it certainly did not help me) the library job market is brutal – more brutal than it was in the mid-1990s which was bad enough.

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/reluctance 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 10-50 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, Rural area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Practice listening – It’s the most important skill you will need to work on a team

Alstead School House and Students, Alstead, New Hampshire

 

This 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:

adult services librarians, library clerks (who sometimes have their masters degrees).

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 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?

√ No

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?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ 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?

Interpersonal skills, knowledge of government agencies and budget planning, booktalking.

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)?

ILS management/use, Reference

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

√ Library work experience
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

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

UCLA

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

No – I’ve had both good and bad from the other major library school in California.

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

Work or volunteer while you are in library school. Try to find a working mentor or manager to work alongside. Practice listening – It’s the most important skill you will need to work on a team to help the public and respond to your community.

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 100-200 staff members, Public, Suburban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Budgeting, general management

School Children in Keene New Hampshire

 

This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been member of a hiring or search committee.

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 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)

4

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

√ Vocabulary Design
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Archives
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ 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?

- Project Management
– Budgeting, general 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 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)?

University of Michigan
University of Illinois

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

San Jose State

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

Get practical experience!

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 50-100 staff members, Academic, Southern US, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

I am actually quite hopeful about the future of librarianship when I interact with library school students.

School Children In Anzac AlbertaThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Youth Services Librarian
Adult Services Librarian

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a rural area in the Midwestern 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?

√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ 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?

Time management and prioritization of tasks.
Ability to see big picture – although I see this as a problem with veteran librarians as well so perhaps unfair to ask new graduates to have that skill.

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)?

Work flows unique to the particular library

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

√ Library work experience
√ Professional organization involvement

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

Do both your classes and get hands-on experience.
Consider classes outside of the regular library science program (business, marketing, HR – if you want to go into management)

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

I am actually quite hopeful about the future of librarianship when I interact with library school students. Most seem to get that public libraries are about people NOT about books these days. Most seem to be willing to try new things, experiment, and bring energy and enthusiasm to the workplace.

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, Midwestern US, Public, Rural area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Local processes

Westmoreland School House Number 9, New HampshireThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

All professional, paraprofessional and clerical staff

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in Australia/New Zealand.

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?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Outreach
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships

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)?

Local processes

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

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

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, Australia/New Zealand, Public, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Focus on understanding your patrons and managing your collection.

Alma Public School - opening of new playground for infants departmentThis anonymous interview is with a school librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Library paraprofessional

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban 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)

5

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

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ 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?

Book repair

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)?

How to handle their particular population, task/time management

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

√ Internship or practicum

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

Emporia University

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

Focus on understanding your patrons and managing your collection.

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