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?
√ 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
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Information Behavior
√ 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?
We recently hired an Instruction Librarian and were looking for candidates with a strong technology background. Very few candidates had any sort of technology experience. Seems they are not learning necessary technology skills in the library school.
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)?
I expect a new hire to learn reference service and other “librarian skills” on the job. I want new hires out of library school with strong technology skills and an overall view of the profession and of higher education (for academic librarians). Searching databases and knowing where to find information will depend on the library’s resources and can be taught in-house.
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Other presentation
√ Other publication
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience
√ Other: Technology
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?
I see no discernible difference in library schools. It is really all about what the candidate did while in school. (i.e. classes taken, skills learned, job experience)
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Do not go to library school. Librarianship is a dying profession. But if you are going to go, get as much technology training as you can and get a wide array of experiences in a library so you know what you want to do and have a better understanding of how libraries work.
Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?
I think it would make an interesting study to compare the curriculum of library schools today to the curriculum from previous decades. I am not sure too much has changed. I think library schools spend too much time on “librarian skills” (i.e. how to use a gazetteer) than on skills needed in the modern library. A disconnect exists between library schools and practicing librarians.