Tag Archives: librarians

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

Candidates who are able to wear multiple hats are more desirable.

calfThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Children’s librarians, children’s paraprofessionals, student shelvers

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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?

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Marketing
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Customer service skills–thinking on your feet, dealing with irate patrons.

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)?

Individual library policies. The nuances of dealing with library management/library boards/Friends of the Library groups. The neverending broadening of familiarity with the collection (whether it’s popular fiction, databases or other research materials, depending on the environment). For younger new-hires: basic workplace functioning that takes a bit of trial and error to get used to, such as personal organization, planning, how meetings work, scheduling, etc.

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?

No matter your area of focus, do not neglect technology and instruction. Explore outside your area, rather than picking predictable or “comfortable” paper topics and projects. Candidates who are able to wear multiple hats are more desirable.

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

It’s the difference between reading and reading comprehension

Public Schools Athletic League (LOC)This 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:

Have hired tech services staff and CD librarians in various positions.

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?

√ 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
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Reference
√ 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?

Collection development; acquisitions; supervision and management; people skills; decision-making ability; organizational skills (setting priorities, etc)

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)?

New hires should be able to apply what they’ve studied to their job but learn how to adapt that to real- world situations/tasks. It’s the difference between reading and reading comprehension, to use an analogy.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Conference presentation
√ Other presentation
√ Other publication
√ Professional organization involvement

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

Makes no difference if the candidate is qualified.

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 or volunteer in libraries, different types and in different areas of a library; lurk or participate in library discussion lists; join professional organizations; attend local, regional, national meetings when possible; apply for grants/scholarships/awards to gain visibility.

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

The quality of the school counts, but you’ll get out of it what you put into it.

school children in japanThis 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:

cataloging, government documents, outreach, interlibrary loan, periodicals, and everyone does reference and classes.

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

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

√ Other: Depends on which job I’m hiring for

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?

√ Project Management
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ 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?

Collection development

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)?

Local policies, local reference materials. I mostly expect them to learn collection development locally, but it would be lovely if that weren’t the case.

Everyone I’ve seen has had to learn something locally besides local-specific information, but what has varied from person to person.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation

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?

When I was looking at library school, some local librarians told me that library school was mostly pointless except the piece of paper. Maybe theirs was, but mine was invaluable. Take classes that strengthen your weak areas, and give you what you need for your career, but take enough fun or more general courses for flexibility, but most important, put all your effort into each class. Work hard, talk shop with colleagues, have fun. The quality of the school counts, but you’ll get out of it what you put into it.

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, City/town, Special, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Further Questions: Does your institution require job applicants to submit their SSN on online job applications?

This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know how to handle being asked for a Social Security Number (SSN) as part of an online job application. So we asked people who hire librarians:

Does your institution require job applicants to submit their SSN on online job applications? How should applicants handle this if they wish to keep that information private until later on in the process?

Jason GrubbOur employment application asks for a SSN, but only because as a county library we use the employment application that is used by all county agencies. If a candidate opted not to provide it on the application this would not prevent them from being considered for a position with our library. I would advise someone not to provide a SSN if they did not feel comfortable providing it. There is plenty more that needs to go into a strong application than a SSN.

- Jason Grubb, Director, Sweetwater County Library System

We do not ask for SSN until a person is hired and completing the necessary paperwork. I would leave the information off the application.

- Kaye Grabbe, Lake Forest Library

Marleah AugustineWe only require an SSN upon hiring, to do a basic background check. Our older application forms had a spot for SSN, and many applicants simply wrote in, “Available upon hiring.”

 – 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