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:
All types of academic librarians (instruction, reference, collection development, systems, outreach)
This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an city/town in the Western 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?
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Field Work/Internships
Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?
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)?
The specifics of our electronic systems (ILS, LibGuides, databases, etc.) and our particular population served. Also, how our institution works (tenure, the organization of the campus system, etc.).
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Internship or practicum
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience
Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?
UW, UIUC, UNC
Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?
Emporia, and any programs that require few credits to get a degree.
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Get experience! Volunteer, intern, student job, fieldwork, any practical experience that shows that you can apply what you’ve learned.
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