Category Archives: What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

They are churning out degrees to people who will never get a job – there are no jobs

School children singing, Pie Town, New Mexico (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee, and a human resources professional. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Public services, reference, collection management, adult and children’s.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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?

√ No

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
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Field Work/Internships

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

1) they don’t think like professionals. They need to learn the big picture stuff so they can understand their role in it and then understand what their employer is trying to accomplish.
2) internships need to be mandatory. They need practical experience or they will never get a job after graduation. The hard truth is that no one is hiring – and when we can finally hire someone, we need them to hit the floor running.
3) it’s not about technology. Tech skills are great, but I need someone who can manage a budget and a collection. I don’t care if they can code or blog. I need someone who doesn’t need me to hold their hand and tell them what to do every step if the way.

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)?

They need to know the basics of their speciality, whether adult or children’s, reference or cataloging, instruction or reader’s advisory. They need a basic understanding of customer service. And patience and respect. We will teach them to finesse these with training, mentoring, and time doing the job.

 

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 prefer students who took courses in person rather than online. My own experience has taught me that you learn MUCH less in an online environment.
As for schools, I’m in California so I see a ton of graduates from San Jose State. Personally, I’m not a fan. They are churning out degrees to people who will never get a job – there are no jobs. And, I’m not remotely impressed by the quality of graduates. I’d rather see more graduates from other schools like Arizona, North Carolina, Illinois, and Washington.

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?

Work in a library in any capacity you can while in school. And do internships. Learn the theory; gain the experience. Then you will be more hirable.

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

The profession needs to figure out whether we are “professionals” or “workers.” If you teach how to do library work, then we’re not justifying our requirement to mandate the degrees. Anyone can learn how to answer a reference question or order books or teach a class. And, we need to stop churning out these graduates. It’s not fair to rob them of several thousand dollars and then let them loose into a jobless market. Just stop.

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!

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

Read the library literature, as horrid as much of it is.

Work with schools, Hudson Park Branch : children gathered around librarian who is reading in the park, ca. 1910sThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee, and a human resources professional. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

I’ve served on search committees for all types of librarians: collection development, music, cataloging, reference, discovery/IT, etc.

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 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)

4

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

√ Cataloging
√ Vocabulary Design
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ 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 of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Student organization involvement
√ Other: Needs vary depending on position & status (tenure-track or not)

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

Get a library job during school or volunteer at one — ideally do so before going to grad school to ensure you like the actual work. Work at or at least visit multiple libraries; talk in depth with librarians. Read the library literature, as horrid as much of it is. Theory/history classes aren’t too helpful unless those topics will be your research/teaching foci. Socializing in a program track is good, but know doing so limits you & there aren’t that many jobs out there. If you want an academic librarian job, research, publish, present, attend ALA, & begin committee service now.

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

Think twice before embarking on this career. Budgets are being slashed year after year. We aren’t as valued (or needed) as before. Space is reassigned to non-library roles. The MLS degree is increasingly undermined and dismissed as unnecessary, even for library directors and reference librarians (a subject masters alone or even no degree is becoming ok). Patron demand is for instant access to everything for free, which just isn’t possible. We’re now expected to be more concierges (providing everything without effort or waiting) than guides. You’ll most likely spend much more time performing administrative tasks (budgets, statistics, schedules, HR issues, building renovations, outreach, fundraising, marketing, report writing, business analyses (SWOT, ROI, cost/benefit, time/process, etc) than you will helping patrons with research, building collections, cataloging, etc. You’ll also probably answer more IT questions than research ones. Long, stressful, often thankless days are ahead. Oh, I’m only 35 with about 10 years in the field, so am not exactly a Luddite curmudgeon pining for the library of my youth.

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!

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here in Ghana there is only one library school

School Children in Keene New Hampshire2This 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:

all rounders as all of us have to do a range of tasks/duties

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

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?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

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)?

how to deal with people – colleagues and users

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

√ Internship or practicum
√ Student organization involvement

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

here in Ghana there is only one library school

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

not sure about some of the Nigerian library schools

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

try to get some 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 0-10 staff members, Academic, Suburban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Personally I think there is a lack of training in instruction, including theory and instructional design.

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. When asked what role they have served in terms of hiring, they responded that they have “sat in on interviews and given feedback.”

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?

√ 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?

√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Reference
√ Instruction
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Personally I think there is a lack of training in instruction, including theory and instructional design.

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

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

Do as much as you can and find the ways to fill in gaps while in grad school and after graduation.

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

Schedule your courses around real-world work.

School Children in 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:

Public library professionals in all departments.

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

5

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
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Field Work/Internships

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

If they don’t have any work or internship experience, there are usually other candidates with an MLIS who do. It all comes down to real-world work experience, whether as a paraprofessional or in an internship

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)?

Unless things have changed, students learn a lot of theory at library school which certainly is important. Employees who know how to think and plan are very important to an organization. From the most recent graduates, I expect them to have learned some basic budgetary, planning and stats skills.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Student organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

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

Any ALA-accredited school that requires at least some in-person meetings is fine.

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

Alumni from completely online programs. To me, it’s important that a student at least attend a class or two in-person, even if it’s just an introductory and a final meeting. I don’t trust completely online programs.

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

Get as much work experience as you possibly can. Schedule your courses around real-world work.

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

It’s a tough time to come out of library school since there has been an explosion in the number of graduates recently. Do everything in your power to get library-related work experience while you are in school so that you’ll have a leg up on the graduates who don’t have that 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 10-50 staff members, City/town, Northeastern US, Public, 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