Tag Archives: librarians

Stats and Graphs: What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School? 324 Responses

It’s Staturday!

When we last visited the What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School? survey, we had 263 responses.  As of 12/20/2014, we now have 324 responses.  The survey is and will remain open at
http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey,

And now, here are the

Results!

(A disclaimer: Please be advised this is not Science, and you shouldn’t try to extrapolate these trends to the world at large. Be a dear and also forgive the cut off labels on the charts – this is how Google forms deals with verbosity.)

 

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

 

Yes 24    7%
No 42 13%
Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate 230    71%
You can’t teach the job skills I need in library school 8 2%
Other 17    5%

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 5 is practice, 1 is theory and 3 means “both equally”)

 

1 (Theory) 2      1%
2 29      9%
3 (Both Equally) 147     45%
4 111      34%
5 (Practice) 32       10%

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

Reference 249   77%
Collection Management 233   72%
Project Management 211  65%
Library Management 195  60%
Research Methods 193  60%
Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations) 191 59%
Cataloging 184 57%
Web Design/Usability 184 57%
Instruction 176 54%
Field Work/Internships 173 53%
Marketing 165 51%
Outreach 159 49%
Budgeting/Accounting 158 49%
Digital Collections 137 42%
Information Behavior 137 42%
Grant Writing 125 39%
Readers’ Advisory 122 38%
Programming (Events) 114 35%
Metadata 100 31%
Services to Special Populations 87 27%
History of Books/Libraries 79 24%
Other 48 15%
Programming (Coding) 42 13%
Archives 30 9%
Vocabulary Design 29 9%
Portfolio/ePortfolio 16 5%

 

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently? (Example: a candidate who took an instructional design class vs. a candidate who taught library instruction sessions.)

 

Yes–I value skills gainedthrough a student job more highly 155      48%
Yes–I value skills gainedthrough coursework more highly 5 2%
No preference–as long as they have theskill, I don’t care how they got it 135 42%
Other 29 9%

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

Internship or practicum 250 77%
Library work experience 237 73%
Professional organization involvement 133 41%
Other presentation 73 23%
Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience 64 20%
Student organization involvement 61 19%
Other 42 13%
Conference presentation 31 10%
Other publication 17 5%
Scholarly publication 13 4%

Where are you?

Northeastern US 58 18%
Midwestern US 80 25%
Southern US 73 23%
Western US 75 23%
Canada 13 4%
UK 6 2%
Australia/New Zealand 7 2%
Other 7 2%

Where are you?

Urban area 124 38%
Suburban area 61 19%
City/town 99 31%
Rural area 30 9%
Other 8 2%

What type of institution do you hire for?

 

Academic Library 138 43%
Public Library 138 43%
School Library 6 2%
Special Library 26 8%
Archives 1 0%
Other 11 3%

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

 

0-10 58 18%
10-50 121 37%
50-100 60 19%
100-200 35 11%
200+ 46 14%

Are you a librarian?

Yes 305 94%
No 4 1%
It’s complicated 14 4%

 

Are you now or have you ever been:

A hiring manager (you are hiring people thatyou will directly or indirectly supervise) 250 77%
A member of a hiring or search committee 269 83%
Human resources 14 4%
Other 15 5%

Would you like to have information about you or your organization shared ?

No, I prefer to remain anonymous

286

88%

Yes, and I’ll give you my email address on the next page

35

11%

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Filed under Stats and Graphs, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

specific sources and behaviors

School at Anthoston. Census 27, enrollment 12, attendance 7. Teacher expects 19 to be enrolled after work is overThis 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:

catalogers, reference librarians, law librarians

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 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?

√ 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
√ Collection Management
√ 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?

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

familiarity with our collection & patrons (specific sources & behaviors)

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?

gain as much practical experience as you can in as many areas as you can

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

Further Questions: Can we talk about internal hiring?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

Can we talk about internal hiring? What is the process for promotions in your organization? Are there any particular indicators that show you when a staff member is ready for more responsibility? Do internal candidates have to follow the same application procedures as external candidates? Any other advice for succeeding when you’re already an employee?

We go out of our way to promote internally, and we never post the job externally when we intend to do so. (Not every institution is allowed to do that, of course.) Readiness really varies. Sometimes they’re the choice because of related prior experience. We’ve had internal candidates apply for higher-level things less than six months after getting hired, and we don’t hold that against them. They’re frequently successful, in fact.

 

I’ve had cases of losing a staff member to another department. And I’ve had cases of interviewing someone from another department and not hiring them. It’s never as awkward as people fear. Go for it.

 

The one thing I do wish we’d change is pushing people into positions that either they don’t feel ready for or are just not interested in. Sometimes it would be better to go through the extra work of posting and interviewing rather than shoving in a warm, convenient body. Yes, sometimes people lack confidence but are actually ready to shine. But not always. And then we lose them altogether the first chance they get to escape.
- Anonymous

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.

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know where you want to work and what you enjoy.

School Children In ParaguayThis 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:

reference librarians

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?

√ Yes

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
√ Project Management
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Other: Knowledge Management

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

Knowledge Management, Budgeting, Negotiating with Vendors, Human Resources 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?

√ 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)?

Knowledge of how they should perform reference work and manage projects so they can effectively put it into practice.

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)?

UNC Chapel Hill

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?

Work at several internships in a various types of libraries so you will know where you want to work and what you enjoy.

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

Play the game, but shake a lot of hands of those who will be hiring you.

Keene High School (old) Graduating Class of 1875, Keene, New HampshireThis anonymous interview is with a special librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

As positions open and are replaced… types aren’t as important

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 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?

√ 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?

√ Reference
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Finishing multi-site tasks, notes for coverage of projects that are worked on by more than one person

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)?

Specific databases, particularly the more obscure ones

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)?

Big Ten (Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan)

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

Not really.

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

Network, network, network. It is a really tough job market.

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

I had one two hour course from one practicing librarian at the University of Illinois. As union cards go, I’m glad that I didn’t pay today’s tuition rate. I also loved the perspective that I was given lower grades because someone had to be given Bs and I was going into business libraries where my GPA didn’t matter.

Play the game, but shake a lot of hands of those who will be hiring you.

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

general clerical and maintenance skills

Alstead School House and Students, Alstead, New HampshireThis 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:

clerical library workers

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?

√ You can’t teach the job skills I need in library school

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
√ Metadata
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ 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?

√ 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)?

Skills needed for my particular library, general clerical and maintenance skills

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?

Try to work in a library of any kind to ensure this is the field you want.

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

Further Questions: What value do you place on references?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

What value do you place on references? When in the process do you contact references, if you contact them at all? Who do you expect to see on the reference list and does it vary based on where an applicant is in their career? What are some of the questions you ask of references and how do the answers influence your decision to hire? 

Laurie Phillips

For us (medium-sized academic library where librarians are faculty), references are really important. We generally contact references after phone interviews as a way of narrowing down to the final 3 or 4 who will be invited to campus. We do not call references for all of the candidates who are interviewed by phone so it’s a second cut. This last search, we posted our phone reference notes for all of the library faculty to view so everyone could participate in the final decision. We ask the references very specific questions that are relatable to the position, but wouldn’t necessarily require that the reference be a librarian. They are about collaboration and project management, readiness for this type of position, etc. I won’t get into specifics! If we can’t reach references or they are old references and the candidate hasn’t contacted them, we will drop the candidate. No question. It says something about you as a candidate if your references won’t respond or don’t even remember you. We want people who can talk about your work, your skills, your maturity. It would be nice to talk with someone at your current job, but not required. Be careful with using library school professors. Some of the can extrapolate from their experiences of working with you in the classroom and some can’t. Choose wisely. We also must have 3 letters of reference on file at time of offer, but that is after a decision has been made – it’s just for the faculty file.
- Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

We always check references but not until we’re otherwise willing to hire someone. So usually that means we only check references for one candidate. The call is placed by HR, so I don’t have detail on the actual conversation, but it’s basically fact verification, like position title and dates of employment. We do only accept references by someone who was a direct supervisor, and we need three of those. It’s not uncommon to ask a candidate in an interview to get back to us with alternate names, which can be informative in itself.
- Kristen Northrup, North Dakota State Library

Marleah AugustineI think it is always worthwhile to contact references. In some cases I call references prior to interviews, but I usually wait to see who shines during the interview process and then only contact references for those top-ranked candidates. Who is on the reference list does definitely depend on where an applicant is in their career, but regardless, I want to see current and former supervisors on the list, or colleagues in general. I get nervous when I see a reference listed as “friend”. Even someone who is just starting out in their career can list teachers, internship supervisors, or people who supervised their volunteer work as references. I ask very open ended questions — mostly “What can you tell me about _____?” The answer that comes from the reference can range from a fairly stock answer (which is fine, but not as convincing) all the way to a response that truly shows that the reference knows the applicant and is (hopefully) willing to be honest and up front. If I need the reference to expand on their answer, I’ll ask for follow-ups like if the candidate is punctual and organized, and maybe offer up a situational-type question and ask how the candidate might handle it.

In the end, responses from references are a helpful piece of the puzzle but don’t necessarily outweigh the other parts of the hiring process.

- Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.

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Filed under Further Questions