Reference and Children’s
This librarian works at a library with 50-100 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)
What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Services to Special Populations
√ 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?
project management, interpersonal skills, basic knowledge of what a public library stands for, unrealistic daily job expectations, and once in a while, a basic lack of truly wanting to help ALL people.
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 policies and procedures of that institution. Internal communication. Latest hot topics. Community needs.
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation
√ Student organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience
Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?
Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?
Something that is totally on-line and no face to face is required. “Most” librarians work with people. It is odd to get a degree for that kind of job online…I believe that many folks are graduating that should not….university thoughts are we promise folks an education not a job…however, that is messy on the other end when they try and get a job. We are not doing them any favors!
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
make contacts, take any library job to get a foot in the door and experience. Have a plan B.
Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?
Nice survey, good luck. We need more cooperation between library schools and the “real” world : )