shadow librarians in various positions

Hill School, May DayThis 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:

subject liaisons, public services

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a rural 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?

√ Project Management
√ Reference
√ 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 skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

instruction, customer service

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

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

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

be active in professional organizations early, work part time in a library, definitely do an internship in a field that is related to your chosen career path, shadow librarians in various positions

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

Timestamp: 8/9/2013 7:16:54

Title:

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:

Support staff; have been on hiring committees for a specialist reference librarian and a children’s librarian

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?

√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Portfolio/ePortfolio

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

Interviewing skills, communication skills, 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?

√ 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)?

Skills that apply to a particular integrated library system (SirsiDynix, Koha, etc.)

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)?

We prefer candidates from ALA-accredited programs, but that’s not a given. We have a university that offers an MLS in our state and is ALA-accredited, but all graduates from there that we have interviewed, have interviewed terribly and we could not tell that they had the skills we were looking for.

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

(see previous question)

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

Find a part-time or volunteer position in a library and get some hands-on experience. It gives you much more to talk about in class, and you can apply what you learn more immediately.

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

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

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