Director and Children’s Librarian
This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a rural area in the Northeastern 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)
What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?
√ Grant Writing
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ 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?
Library management; particularly with supervisory 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)?
How to apply theory in the exact setting – tailoring programming to specific audiences, the best methods for collection development for the community, etc.
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?
Not schools, but any primarily online courses make me pause
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Volunteer or work in an actual library
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