Category Archives: What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

I’d like to have applicants with credentials from various schools because schools have different strengths and weaknesses.

Westmoreland School House Number 9, New HampshireThis 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:

4 positions here – Director, Assistant Director, Youth Services/Outreach, and Adult Services/Reference.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a rural 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
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Metadata
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Reference
√ Marketing
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Other: Library Law and legal issues

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

Management/budgeting/accounting, library law.

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)?

Our particular computer system, our hierarchy, staff interaction.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Other: A grasp of the theory and history of libraries and librarianship coupled with practical experience in using libraries and library work.

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

We are located near Baton Rouge, so we see a lot of LSU applicants. I have four professional positions in the library; two have LSU degrees, one from elsewhere, one position is currently vacant. I’d like to have applicants with credentials from various schools because schools have different strengths and weaknesses; mixing it up gives us different strengths.

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

I would look carefully and investigate unfamiliar and unaccredited programs before hiring their graduates just to make sure the degree is not from some diploma-mill that doesn’t teach much. I need librarians who bring every skill and strength possible to the workplace because we are small – but mighty!

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

Open your head and LEARN everything you are exposed to. Get practical experience either before or during library school to go with the theoretical coursework you’ll have. Know your direction and pursue it avidly. Libraries are complex entities which offer the perfect jobs for many kinds of personalities – match yourself to the type of librarianship where you can thrive and enjoy your work – you’ll be working for a long, long time!

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

Prepare public librarians for the business side as well as the library side of the profession, especially if they have administrative aspirations (and even if they don’t, because the earning opportunity is far greater). Accounting basics (you can hire an accountant, but you’d better be able to understand what they do) and library law are MUSTS.
Also, accepting candidates to library school should screen potential students more carefully – I hate getting super smart candidates who are lacking soft skills and can’t function successfully in a public environment!

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

Participate in conferences and Network

Alma Public School - opening of new playground for infants departmentThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

General (technical, IT and Public Services

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

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
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Archives
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Instruction
√ 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)?

Circulation
ILL
Liaison activities
instruction
management
Budget/Accounting

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

√ Internship or practicum
√ Conference presentation
√ Scholarly publication
√ Professional organization involvement

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

Make sure you do an internship
Participate in conferences and Network

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

You need to be the one to take the initiative to turn yourself into someone we feel we can’t live without.

School Children In Anzac AlbertaThis 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, research, contractors, interns

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
√ Vocabulary Design
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ 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?

Everyone will already tell you this, but more technology and systems experience. If our systems librarian is away, our candidate should be able to do maintenance on a website in a variety of content management systems and also be able to use our ERM. Instruction is key for us, so they need to have the confidence, grace, and humor to present in front of large groups of adults. This can be practiced more in library schools. If you’re a wallflower during your own interview, I’m going to assume that I can’t be safe putting you in front of 60 adult learners.

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)?

Anything having to do with our unique operating procedures – how we handle the details of our client interactions, our systems, etc. But they should be prepared to know the basics and to know how it all fits together.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum

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

Internships, internships, internships. Take as many techie classes as you can. Join a club where you’re required to do a lot of public speaking. Library school is painfully easy, so you need to be the one to take the initiative to turn yourself into someone we feel we can’t live without.

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

Try and actively work in the profession as a paraprofessional

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

3

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

√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ 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?

Soft skills, research methods, instruction skills, grant writing, management skills

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: There has to be a theory between balance and practical. Many student jobs still don’t give the student necessarily the skills needed to function as a librarian. Conversely, many theory based approaches don’t give you the hands on and interpersonal skills that are needed. Typically, I find the best librarians to be people who have had full time adult jobs in libraries or some other education/customer service based setting.

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

Library specific rules and procedures. Some software specific to the position. There should be some growth in soft skills, but some basis in these is needed prior.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Conference presentation
√ Other presentation
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

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

Try and actively work in the profession as a paraprofessional, regardless of your ultimate goal (academic librarian, public, etc); participate in professional events; take research methods courses and basic project management courses; practice your web development skills

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, Academic, City/town, Midwestern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

stop focusing so much on technology

Keene High School (old) Students, Keene, New HampshireThis 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:

Reference & instruction librarians, cataloger, subject liaisons, assistant director, archivist

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town in the Midwestern 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)

3

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
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ 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?

how to teach, a basic understanding of cataloging and the organization of information, an understanding of how all the departments of the library “fit” together.

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 the ILS system, how to weed a collection

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)?

not sure

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

Yes — any school that does not require students to take a reference course and a cataloging course.

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

Don’t focus just on technology — be well-rounded

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

For library schools — stop focusing so much on technology. There are other things that are more important, like the ability to conduct a good reference interview, or to understand how to organize information

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom 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, City/town, Midwestern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

get involved with the library community- it’s who you know

N.S.W Primary Schools' Rugby Leauge Football Team v Queensland Brisbane, 1932This 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:

Senior Information Assistants- generally new professionals with emphasis on staff supervision, cataloguing and serials management.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town in the UK.

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
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Research Methods
√ Information Behavior
√ 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?

Skills surrounding computing and technology.

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)?

The workings of specific library management systems, general staff management and appraisal skills.

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)?

Robert Gordon University is quite focused on people management as well as skills such as cataloguing, but it’s nowhere near perfect. I suppose it would really depend on the position.

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

I’m not sure if I’m still familiar enough with all of the programmes. I do remember UCL’s course being quite dated.

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

Get relevant work experience while you’re there and get involved with the library community- it’s who you know.

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, City/town, UK, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

We have lost a number of reference librarians because we are too small to have promotional opportunities all the time.

Keene High School (old) Graduating Class of 1875, Keene, New HampshireThis 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:

children’s librarians, reference librarians. Hope to be hiring managers as several existing managers prepare to retire

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a

retirement county with rural agriculture and tourism

in the Southern US.

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

√ Other: sometimes

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
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Other: people skills–like working with people

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

People skills–both internal and external. Common sense (HR keeps pointing out that common sense depends on your definition). Realistically looking at purpose of public library; what to expect, local politics. Building/renovation project management. Change 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?

√ 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)?

Specifics of local area. (our new hires are generally from outside region.)

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

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

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

Those from the Midwest. Have had recent good hires from Tennessee, Minnesota, Indiana.

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

Not really. But those schools outside US.

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

Work in the type of library in which you want to spend your career. If not work, do some kind of volunteer project for a library–not a make work project, but something that would help the library: even if it is not ‘professional': help shelve books after a big holiday; help with a program; etc.

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

I know there is a need or desire to take any job. But be honest with the people you interview with–if you will not consider a job with us, don’t come for the interview.
We are a medium sized library–we do not have ‘instant’ jobs that we can promote people into. If you stay long enough, there may be a chance for promotion–but don’t expect it after 6 months. …we have lost a number of reference librarians because we are too small to have promotional opportunities all the time.

Come to the job wanting to do the job we hired you for–not looking to change the responsibilities to those you like.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom 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, Public, Southern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School