Mostly reference and instruction 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?
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?
√ Project Management
√ Research Methods
√ Information Behavior
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?
Information literacy instruction, there is very little knowledge of teaching and learning theory, good curriculum development, instructional design,developing student learning outcomes, performance measurement, active-learning, classroom control and development–all are essential to librarians
most librarians at one time or another will supervise others, whether students, classified staff or other librarians and most are woefully unprepared to do this, there is little understanding of management and leadership, how to cast a vision, strategic planning, setting goals and objectives at all levels, and project management, and evaluation
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)?
communication skills, how to work within an organizational culture, how to do assessment in alignment with university guidelines and standards, development as teacher, searching on library’s databases and using technology effectively
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Internship or practicum
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience
Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?
Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
look at the job market and ads for librarians to determine areas where librarians are being hired, decide what area you want to specialize in and then learn all you can about that area
I see far too many resumes for students who are specializing in archives and digital preservation when most libraries need instruction librarians. Most small to mid-size universities have limited staffing in archives. Digital preservation is usually a grant funded project with time-limited positions, so there is not a huge market for archivists and digital specialists if librarians want permanent, full-time employment.
Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?
Most students do themselves a disservice by sending out generic cover letters and CVs. They need to tailor their documentation to the job ad and use their cover letter to show how they meet the basic requirements.
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