Tag Archives: librarians

some graduates have not dealt with patrons before

Public Schools Athletic League (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager.

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an suburban area in the Midwestern 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)

5

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

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Other: Library maintenance you know how many toilets I’ve unclogged!

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

I really think internships should be required some graduates have not dealt with patrons before

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)?

Most things you learned you won’t use!

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)?

Have they worked in a library? Writing papers and presenting is great but do they have experience?

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?

get in a library!!!! Know if you are a manager of any type you will become a janitor, negotiator, complaint listener etc.

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 200+ staff members, Midwestern US, Public, Suburban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Put those customer service jobs, like barista or store clerk, on your resume, especially if you held those positions for a long time

Librarian by Flickr user Super Furry Librarian

 

This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a member of a hiring committee.

This person works at an academic library with 0-10 staff members.

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

- Solid employment history – few short-term positions, no or few gaps
- Library experience, even if it’s just an internship
- Technology skills

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

If you show up and dress or act unprofessionally (e.g. chewing gum, sloppy clothing), I have a hard time getting past that.

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

I know you are applying for a job in a library, but I don’t care that you love to read. Lots of people love to read, but that doesn’t make them qualified for a position that involves customer service, technology skills, instructional abilities, etc.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

Put those customer service jobs, like barista or store clerk, on your resume, especially if you held those positions for a long time. Customer service skills are a big part of librarianship.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ As many as it takes, but keep it short and sweet

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ I don’t care

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ As an attachment only

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses to this survey.

If you’re someone who has participated in hiring library workers, take this survey and share your viewpoint.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

Change management and the ability to implement innovation are vital skills for the future of the profession.

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

Public librarians – children’s, information, housebound services, adult services

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in an urban area in Australia/New Zealand.

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?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Metadata
√ Research Methods
√ Information Behavior
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Often the focus is on best practice for the profession, but little to address the gap that lies between this best practice and the realities of the industry. Change management and the ability to implement innovation are vital skills for the future of the profession.

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)?

Customer service
Manual handling
Staff management
Events programming

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)?

None.

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?

Do what you have do to pass, but go out there and get as much experience as you can in the field, even if you have to volunteer to get 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 50-100 staff members, Australia/New Zealand, Public, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Authors’ Corners: A Job Hunter’s Booklist

I’m so grateful to the authors on this list, who took the time to work with me to create a post that shared their views and knowledge (Just click the title).  If you wanted to create a library for LIS job hunters, here’s where I’d start:

de Stricker, Ulla & Jill Hurst-Wahl. (2011). The Information and Knowledge Professional’s Career Handbook: Define and Create Your Success. Chandos Publishing.

Dority, G. Kim. (2012). LIS Career Sourcebook: Managing and Maximizing Every Step of Your Career. Libraries Unlimited.

Doucett, Elisabeth. (2010). What They Don’t Teach You in Library School. ALA Editions.

Kane, Laura. (2011). Working in the Virtual Stacks: The New Library & information Science. ALA.

Kane, Laura. (2003). Straight From the Stacks: A Firsthand Guide to Careers in Library and Information Science. ALA Editions.

Lowe-Wincentsen, Dawn, & Linda Crook. (2010). Mid-Career Library and Information Professionals: A Leadership Primer. Chandos Publishing.

Luster, Celma Faria. (2013). Extra-Help Librarians . Open Vista Press.

Markgren, Susanne, & Tiffany Eatman Allen. (2013). Career Q&A: A Librarian’s Real-Life, Practical Guide to Managing a Successful Career. Information Today.

Matarazzo, James M., & Toby Pearlstein. (2013). Special Libraries: A Survival Guide. Libraries Unlimited.

Monson, Jane. (2013). Jump-Start Your Career as a Digital Librarian: A LITA Guide. ALA Techsource.

Neely, Teresa. (2011). How to Stay Afloat in the Academic Library Job Pool. ALA Editions.

Shontz, Priscilla K. & Richard A. Murray. (2012). What Do Employers Want? A Guide for Library Science Students. Libraries Unlimited.

Smallwood, Carol, Kerol Harrod & Vera Gubnitskaia. (2013). Continuing Education for Librarians: Workshops, Conferences, College, and Other Ways. McFarland.

Stickell, Lois, & Bridgette Sanders. (2013). Making the Most of Your Library Career. ALA Editions.

Woodward, Jeanette. (2011). A Librarian’s Guide to an Uncertain Job Market. American Library Association.

And now you tell me – what books have I missed?  

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Filed under Author's Corner, Guest Posts, News and Administration

not unless a for-profit school starts awarding MLIS degrees

Blumengart School Children 1963This 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:

right now, just paraprofessionals and student workers
in the past, children’s and teen librarians, cataloging/processing/receiving parapros, administrative library workers, digital resources (coding) librarians

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?

√ 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?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Information Behavior
√ 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)?

specifics of library procedure (varies by institution)

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 don’t think any particular school gives an edge

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

not unless a for-profit school starts awarding MLIS degrees

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

get real life experience – work in a library(ies) while you’re in school

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

Is highlighting a skill that I have done only a few times stretching?

PhC42.Bx17.Hunting.F12-3This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for less than six months. This person is looking in academic, public,and special libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience, supervisory, and I will apply on jobs that I am slightly under qualified for- you never know what they might accept! I consider the posting a wish list. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I have never volunteered in a library but I have worked at circulation and page services before

This job hunter is in a city/town in Canada and is willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Location, wage and Academic libraries- no particular order

Where do you look for open positions?

I’m in Canada so Partnership Board (BCLA), FLA (Alberta, but has positions everywhere), CLA (has positions in the States too).

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I always tweak my CV for the job, highlighting the asked for skills. I always write a new cover letter. The process takes me 3-5 hours broken up over a few days so I can proof the final product before I send it out.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ Other: Is highlighting a skill that I have done only a few times stretching? This question lumps everything together with lying….If I have done something I think it counts.

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Make the requirements easy to understand in posting. Be realistic about who you want and who you will get. I don’t want to read: You are an energetic team player….I like concrete information so I can see if I fit. Make the interview about the actual skills needed

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Take less time in the whole process…. Tell when you will be calling to set up interviews and hiring dates and stick to them… It is frustrating to hear 2 months past when I applied.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Something on your resume has to pop out to get you into the interview room… then, for me anyway, its the interview. I think I interview very well but I have sat in on interviews where the interviewees are very nervous or give one word answers. You have to wow them. Be prepared and have scenarios based on the job posting

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Other questions you can ask: What do you do to prepare for an interview?
Comments: So often I see entry level librarians not willing to move for a job… there are a lot of great opportunities in rural areas where you can learn all aspects of running a library but no one wants to move… They need to know that moving for work does not have to be forever and it is sooo worth it!

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Canada, City/town, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Try new things and think outside of the box

Lagere school in woonwagenkampThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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)

5

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

√ Cataloging
√ Project Management
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ 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?

Communication, customer service

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)?

Reference – it’s very dependent on the collection and the community

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

√ Internship or practicum

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

Try new things and think outside of the box

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

Many, many have never held a job before

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

reference librarians, archivists

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban 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)

4

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

√ Cataloging
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ 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?

critical thinking; basic “how to be an employee” skills (many, many have never held a job before).

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)?

reference interview skills, customer service skills, project management skills

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

√ Internship or practicum
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

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

none

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?

Get some real library experience thru a graduate assistantship or a PT library job (especially if you’ve never held a job). If these aren’t available to you, volunteer at a library.

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

stop tracking on library type and start offering skills tracks that focus on the commonalities in all library types.

Public service skills: reference, marketing/outreach, web/social media, instruction, project management, instruction, etc

Collection management and organization skills: cataloging, archive development, electronic resource selection (evaluation, license negotiation), project management, etc

Administration/management skills: project management, basic budgeting, grant writing, policy development, supervision, etc.

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 200+ staff members, Public, Southern US, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Library schools need to be more exclusive who they admit, and who they allow to graduate.

Rural school children, San Augustine County, Texas (LOC)This 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:

Reference librarians

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?

√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ 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?

Time management, interpersonal skills, and general reference/reader’s advisory if they want to work in a public library. Plus, many of those who apply for public library jobs really need to like working with the public.

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)?

General procedural tasks and duties for that library, general collection knowledge and oddities, and some reader’s advisory.

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)?

No preference, I’m more interested in real world experience

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

None

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

Get as much real world experience as possible – if all your work and knowledge is theoretical and you’re up against candidates with work experience in the field, your chances are extremely slim that I’ll hire you.

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

Library schools need to be more exclusive who they admit, and who they allow to graduate. It’s absurd to let anyone in who thinks working a in library would be a relaxing, great job and doesn’t have a clue the kind of work that goes into the field and what it takes to keep a library running.

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

I see far too many resumes for students who are specializing in archives and digital preservation when most libraries need instruction librarians

Keene Grammar School Class, 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:

Mostly reference and instruction librarians

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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?

√ 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
√ Project Management
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ 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?

Information literacy instruction, there is very little knowledge of teaching and learning theory, good curriculum development, instructional design,developing student learning outcomes, performance measurement, active-learning, classroom control and development–all are essential to librarians
most librarians at one time or another will supervise others, whether students, classified staff or other librarians and most are woefully unprepared to do this, there is little understanding of management and leadership, how to cast a vision, strategic planning, setting goals and objectives at all levels, and project management, and evaluation

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)?

communication skills, how to work within an organizational culture, how to do assessment in alignment with university guidelines and standards, development as teacher, searching on library’s databases and using technology effectively

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

√ Internship or practicum
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

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

none

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?

look at the job market and ads for librarians to determine areas where librarians are being hired, decide what area you want to specialize in and then learn all you can about that area
I see far too many resumes for students who are specializing in archives and digital preservation when most libraries need instruction librarians. Most small to mid-size universities have limited staffing in archives. Digital preservation is usually a grant funded project with time-limited positions, so there is not a huge market for archivists and digital specialists if librarians want permanent, full-time employment.

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

Most students do themselves a disservice by sending out generic cover letters and CVs. They need to tailor their documentation to the job ad and use their cover letter to show how they meet the basic requirements.

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

5 Comments

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, City/town, Southern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School