I expect knowledge of the standards environment and some experience with their application

Rural school children, San Augustine County, Texas (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:

Archivists; Metadata creators (library cataloging, archival description); Digital archival object specialists; Interns or temporary staff for lower-level tasks.

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area in the Northeastern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Other: Technical skills, profession-related skills, yes. Writing–often overlooked. People skills, common sense, creativity, no. (Could they even do so?)

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
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Other: I don’t know what “Portfolio” means. I’m guessing on what “Information behavior” means.

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

The same ones lacking in the general population. Those who have gone through MLS/MSIS programs seem to have the skills I’d expect.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Other: Ideally, both.

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

Local information systems (but I expect relevant classes and transferable experience with information systems). Local application of standards (but I expect knowledge of the standards environment and some experience with their application a must; specific standards we use MARC, AACR2/RDA, XML/EAD, DACS, DCRM highly preferred, and likely to be found in candidates). Local resources knowledge (but I expect to find the candidate knows how to navigate resources and discover resources in global systems). Local discovery systems, indexes (but ditto above).

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

√ Library work experience

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

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.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

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