This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town 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?
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Field Work/Internships
Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?
Instruction skills, Communication, Willingness to work hard and persist despite difficulties or change
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)?
Anything local or regional like the consortial OPAC, Formal communication
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Get an internship or library job or volunteer at a library/archives
This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom 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