This week we asked people who hire librarians
How much does your institution consider ALA accreditation status in the hiring process? If a school was accredited when a candidate graduated, is that good enough to fulfill any accreditation requirements? What if the school loses accreditation or is granted conditional status? How does that reflect on graduates? Does that affect a job seeker’s chances of being hired?
When EPPL advertises for librarian positions, it specifies an ‘ALA accredited school’ as part of the requirements. I’ve never run across anyone who has gotten an MLS from a school that has since lost accreditation, but assuming they made it to the interview process without their application being rejected by City HR then I would say that it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for me. When I interview, I look for experience, so if the person has had a solid job history since getting their degree, that would matter more.
- Margaret M. Neill, Main Library Manager, El Paso Public Library
ALA accreditation is VERY important in our hiring process. So much so that we make it a specific requirement.
If a school was ALA-accredited when the candidate graduated (but subsequently lost it), that would fulfill the requirement. However, if loss of accreditation or conditional status was during the time of the librarian’s attendance, I would hope the candidate would address any real or perceived deficit of the program in their letter and explain how their training, experience or other factors could compensate.
My school was in conditional status when I was hired, so I’ll say it’s not a problem here. I would expect it to be trickier with academic libraries.
- Kristen Northrup, Head, Technical Services, North Dakota State Library
We always require a degree from an accredited program but I would argue strongly that anyone with a completed degree from a program that was accredited at the time the degree was granted fills that requirement. If a candidate was strong and the program she/he is currently in (and presumable close to finishing given the job application) I might want to investigate the reasons for the accreditation problem which might not have anything to do with curriculum or not enough to make a difference. The potential impact is far greater on students who are at the beginning of their studies.
- Celia Rabinowitz, Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH
Our candidates must have an MLS from an ALA-accredited school, but it is enough if the school was accredited when a candidate graduated. We certainly wouldn’t hold it against a candidate even if the library school had closed since the candidate graduated. It does not reflect on the graduate or affect his or her chances.
- Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans
I’ve only hired paraprofessionals since I started, but I can tell you that my proposal to unfreeze a tech services position and change it to instruction includes the intention to accept either an MLIS/MLS or an equivalent level of education with education as the focus. However, the advertisement for my position stipulated “a master’s from an ALA accredited institution.”
- Jessica Olin, Director of Parker Library, Wesley College
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