Project Management is Something That Many New Graduates Do Not Know How to Do

School children singing, Pie Town, New Mexico (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:

Currently: information literacy librarian
Future plans: metadata/cataloging, health sciences subject liaison

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 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?

√ Cataloging
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Reference
√ Instruction

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

Project management is something that many new graduates do not know how to do. Often this is something that is learned on the job. It would be a better transition for both the employee and the employer if MLS graduates had some basic 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)?

Soft skills, leadership skills, software applications

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)?

Lately, I’m very impressed by students who graduate from Indiana University-Bloomington.

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

Clarion University of Pennsylvania

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

Gain as much practical experience as possible

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!


1 Comment

Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

One response to “Project Management is Something That Many New Graduates Do Not Know How to Do

  1. Collaborative projects in library school should be one way to gain basic project management skills. However, students without those skills can’t learn them from each other. When professors just say “collaborate,” without giving explicit instructions on project management, and without observing or grading each student’s adherence to project management best practices over the course of the project, then students are unlikely to gain those skills while in library school.


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