Library schools need to be more exclusive who they admit, and who they allow to graduate.

Rural school children, San Augustine County, Texas (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a public 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:

Reference librarians

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban 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)

4

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ 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?

Time management, interpersonal skills, and general reference/reader’s advisory if they want to work in a public library. Plus, many of those who apply for public library jobs really need to like working with the public.

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)?

General procedural tasks and duties for that library, general collection knowledge and oddities, and some reader’s advisory.

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

√ Library work experience

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

No preference, I’m more interested in real world experience

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

None

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

Get as much real world experience as possible – if all your work and knowledge is theoretical and you’re up against candidates with work experience in the field, your chances are extremely slim that I’ll hire you.

Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?

Library schools need to be more exclusive who they admit, and who they allow to graduate. It’s absurd to let anyone in who thinks working a in library would be a relaxing, great job and doesn’t have a clue the kind of work that goes into the field and what it takes to keep a library running.

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

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

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