Everything we do here is based on understanding those MARC records

Public Schools Athletic League (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Catalogers, Children’s Librarians, Reference Librarians.

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?

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Outreach
√ Marketing

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

In this day and age, librarians need public speaking 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?

√ 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)?

The ins and outs of our particular ILS

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 have 2 library schools nearby (UNT and TWU) and we have noticed that the UNT students have more of a technical edge.

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

No, it matters not. Each candidate is judged on their own merits.

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

I would suggest that all students take a cataloging class. Some schools apparently do not require it. Meanwhile everything we do here is based on understanding those MARC records. Also, we need people who are comfortable speaking to groups, so any form of public speaking opportunity should be taken.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Public, Southern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.