Push (hard and quickly) beyond your love of books and personal nostalgia about libraries

Work with schools story hour in the open, librarian and ch...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:

Instruction/Information literacy, Cataloging, Media services

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area 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?

√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Metadata
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Outreach
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations
√ Portfolio/ePortfolio
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Emotional intelligence, demonstration of knowledge of pedagogy and teaching skills, strategic planning, project management, assessment and data analysis, leadership skills (not the same as the bullet selection above called Library Management)

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)?

Exposure to software and applications are nice, but competency is built using them in the specific context of the practice of a particular library/institution.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation
√ Student organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

Indiana University-Bloomington, Syracuse University, North Carolina-Chapel Hill, UIUC

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

University of Wisconsin- Madison

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

Push (hard and quickly) beyond your love of books and personal nostalgia about libraries. Find your professional voice. Build competency with assessment and data analysis. Practice talking to people outside librarianship about what you do– using *their* frames of reference.

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.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

1 Comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Instruction, Midwestern US, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

One response to “Push (hard and quickly) beyond your love of books and personal nostalgia about libraries

  1. oneblankspace

    Pedagogy refers to teaching children. I believe the term this hiring academic librarian is looking for is androgogy.

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