Tag Archives: librarians

Get experience working or volunteering in what interests you.

Public Schools Athletic League (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been and a member of a hiring or search committee.

This librarian works at a library with 200+ 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)

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
√ Programming (Events)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Archives
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ 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

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

Get experience working or volunteering in what interests 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 200+ staff members, Public, Urban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Learn how to do the least desirable jobs (ie. instruction and web design)

school children in japanThis anonymous interview is with a special librarian.

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?

√ 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)

5

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

√ Cataloging
√ Grant Writing
√ Web Design/Usability
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Reference
√ Instruction
√ Field Work/Internships

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

The vast majority of the jobs that are out there require skills in instruction and website management which are not usually required courses in library school.

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)?

Local procedural variations.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Conference presentation
√ Other presentation
√ Scholarly publication
√ Other publication
√ Student organization involvement
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience
√ Other: All of the above are helpful.

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

I’m not familiar enough with the different options to say.

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

Not that I know of.

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

Work-study, internship, volunteer as much as you can and for as long as you can! Learn how to do the least desirable jobs (ie. instruction and web design) because that’s how you often have to get your foot in the door. Don’t believe the lies your schools feed you about the job market and how much demand there’s going to be by the time you graduate.

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

be fearless in trying new things

school children in japanThis 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:

All types.

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 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)

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
√ Information Behavior
√ Outreach
√ 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?

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?

√ 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)?

Local policy and procedures; their community.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation
√ Student organization involvement
√ Professional organization involvement

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

Volunteer at libraries, even if not part of an internship or practicum. See what the “real world” is out there. Learn about personality traits and how to communicate in such a way your ideas make a difference. Take a management class and web design. Learn collection development, information retrieval, and be fearless in trying new things.

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 50-100 staff members, City/town, Public, Southern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

the ability to write clearly, effectively, and using correct grammar and punctuation

Keene High School, (Keene Academy), 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:

Adult services and youth services (includes both teen and children’s).

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 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?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ 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?

Generally, the MLS holders whom I have interviewed are lacking: the ability to write clearly, effectively, and using correct grammar and punctuation; the ability to collect, interpret, evaluate, and share data; and general project-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?

√ 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)?

Specific library policies and procedures, and knowledge related directly to the community in which they are working will always be learned on the job.

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

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

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

No preference.

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

No preference.

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

Take as many internships as possible, with a wide variety of different types of skills needed (i.e., positions requiring both adult services and youth services 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 50-100 staff members, Public, Urban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

you can’t learn how to function as a member of a team until you know what the team you are going to be a part of is like

Blumengart School Children 1963This 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:

Information literacy librarians

This librarian works at a library in a rural area in the Southern 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)

4

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

√ Project Management
√ 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?

A lot of vacancy announcements for information literacy-related positions require experience teaching (preferably teaching information literacy in some form). Very few applicants seem to have that experience, even through coursework, and some do not even seem familiar with what information literacy is. Teaching students who are interested in academic library work about information literacy and pedagogy is something that is sorely missing from most programs.

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)?

Functioning as a member of a team is usually learned best on the job because you can’t learn how to function as a member of a team until you know what the team you are going to be a part of is like. A lot of software and databases can be learned on the job.

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)?

None. I check to make sure the candidate has or will have the necessary degree by the date of hire and pay very little attention to where they got that degree or what their GPA was. The experience level matters to me much more than where the candidate went to school.

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

Unaccredited ones.

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

Get experience working in a library. Preferably, this experience should be in the type of library work you want to do when you graduate, but any experience at all, even as a volunteer, shows that you know what being a librarian is like on more than just a theoretical basis. It’s very hard to take a candidate who has no experience of libraries outside the classroom seriously, no matter how focused their in-class work was during their time in library school. Find vacancy ads for the type of job you want to do and use that as a model for the experience you seek and the classwork you do. Have a realistic (but not pessimistic) view of what the job market will be like when you graduate and how best to position yourself in that job market.

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

Further Questions: Should a candidate ever try to connect with you on a social media/networking service?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

Should a candidate ever try to connect with you on a social media/networking service? Is it ever appropriate for a candidate to try to connect with you through social media (i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LibraryThing, your blog…)? If so, which ones and under what circumstances? What about in person (at a conference, etc)? Please feel free to include any additional insight you have on networking etiquette.

Marge Loch WoutersWhile we are actively recruiting and in the interview process, I turn away requests for social media connections if I am aware that a candidate is making the request. While I don’t share any hint of the process in my active social media life, I am uncomfortable with that request. The same goes for conferences. I am well aware of who is applying. Hitting me up won’t help and usually hinders – that goes for references as well!! I like to keep the application/interview waters clear and unmuddied. That thrown stone of contact is not usually appropriate.

After the process is over, I am again open to requests. I want to connect with everyone as a peer and colleague whether they were successful or not in our process. Librarianship is a small world – I will be working and interacting with former candidates throughout their career. It’s important for former candidates to know that I had one job for ninety applicants. I still appreciate their skills and knowledge even if they didn’t make it onto our staff!

- Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library

Laurie PhillipsNo, absolutely not. I do not connect with candidates on social media. I ignore requests from candidates to connect on LinkedIn. My tumblr is personal. I have met candidates at conferences and that’s perfectly appropriate.

- Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

LinkedIn would be the only appropriate social media. Conferences usually have something set up for meeting and interviewing. That would be appropriate.

- Kaye Grabbe, Lake Forest Library

If the candidate has applied for an open position and they are still in the active pool of candidates I think it is completely inappropriate for the candidate to then try to connect with the supervisor on any social media/networking service.

If you met at a conference and have not applied for a job I think it would be a great idea to connect with them afterwards. Just make sure your profiles are up to date (I forgot to update Linked In before a conference one time, I was a little embarrassed)!

If you met at a conference and you are applying for a job it is possible it would be appropriate if you had a long enough conversation with them that they would remember meeting you. This particular scenario is purely a professional judgment call. I wouldn’t mind it if the conversation went beyond a name introduction and an “oh by the way I applied for your open position.”

- Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Eagle Commons Library, University of North Texas

Marleah AugustineI think the best practice is for candidates to NOT connect with me through personal social media, especially my personal Facebook. My Goodreads happens to be pretty open since I sometimes refer to it for work purposes, so that’s more of a gray area, as is LinkedIn. If a candidate tried to connect with me through my personal blog, which has very little relevance to myself and my library, I would feel awkward.
I wouldn’t mind if a candidate approached me at a conference — networking opportunities are one of the reasons we are there, after all.
- Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Samantha Thompson-FranklinThat’s a very good question. I would say that it might be awkward for an interviewer to connect with a candidate or potential employee via a social media site while the interview process is taking place, and so I would probably not recommend it.  It might also be seen as a possible conflict of interest for the interviewer. If, however, after the interview process is over, an interviewer and/or candidate wished to connect with one another, I would see no problem with that. I also think that it’s fine for candidates to seek out potential employers and/or interviewers at conferences and in fact it can be beneficial for interviewers to meet candidates in that type of forum or venue.

- Samantha Thompson-Franklin, Associate Professor/Collections & Acquisitions Librarian, Lewis-Clark State College Library

Celia RabinowitzI would not recommend that a candidate for a job contact anyone involved in the search using social media.  There certainly isn’t anything stopping a candidate from looking at the presence of those individuals on social media sites just as a committee might look for the digital media footprint of a candidate.  This one is easy, I think.  Somehow we all get that it doesn’t “feel” right.
If a candidate for a job is attending a conference he/she could certainly contact a search committee member or library director/dean to inquire about whether there might be an opportunity to meet either formally or informally.  The process does need to be handled carefully so that all candidates receive the same information and access to the search committee.  So if time to talk is not made available to all candidates, I imagine a committee member might not want to set up time with one individual candidate.
- Celia Rabinowitz,  Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH.

My answers (advice) below are from a public sector library director for job seekers who have submitted a job application and are awaiting a decision by the hiring librarian and public sector employer. None of these answers applies if there is no current recruitment in progress; all connection opportunities can then be pursued, within reason, of course.

My answers may apply only to public sector applicants, although I would still tread cautiously unless you know the lay of the land at the hiring institution.

Social media: no, no, no, no, please, no. (But inadvertent connections and pre-existing connections are not a problem, depending on how you handle the situation.)

In-library: Library visits to scope out the place: yes, entirely appropriate. Library visits to “connect” with the hiring librarian: no, please no.

Email: Please don’t, unless it’s in response to a question or if you would like a status update and no other contact person has been provided for that status update. And please, please, please don’t have your references call before you have been short-listed or otherwise informed that references are needed.

Conference: Unless the hiring librarian has vetoed it, conference connections are entirely appropriate, in fact connecting is a great use of conference time, whether the hiring librarian is actively interviewing at the conference or just there to network. Networking = Connecting. But if you do not have a set appointment to discuss a (or the) job opening, please disclose up front that you have submitted your application for x job or plan to.

Applying for jobs in the public sector is a unique exercise. Please talk to public sector librarians or HR professionals BEFORE you apply for public sector jobs if you’ve never submitted one or made it to a short list. And please, please, please, read the application instructions carefully and read about how applications are screened in the public sector. A colleague and I have an almost-written article on this subject because it drives us crazy – great applicants with flawed applications – but it’s no secret how the process works.

-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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Filed under Further Questions

Take all of elective courses that you can

Lagere school in woonwagenkampThis anonymous interview is with a special librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Medical librarians

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?

√ 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?

√ Vocabulary Design
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Archives
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Portfolio/ePortfolio
√ Other: public presentations, using social media, technology

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

It depends upon the curriculum and the student.

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)?

Public Service skills, policy writing, political environment of the community the library serves, innovation, creativity, mentored experiences

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Conference presentation
√ Scholarly publication
√ Student organization involvement
√ Professional organization involvement

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

Take all of elective courses that you can specifically on management, budgeting, marketing, public services, services to special populations, digital preservation, grant writing

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