reference and bibliographic instruction librarians
This librarian works at a library with 100-200 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?
√ Project Management
√ 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?
Not commonly lacking. It’s more personality-based. I value initiative: the ability to see what needs to be done or fixed, and take appropriate steps. Also the ability to turn chance encounters with students and faculty into something more substantial.
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)?
Dealing with the public at the reference desk and in instruction classrooms; dealing with co-workers inside and outside the unit; understanding local practices or hierarchies or at least knowing such things exist
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience
Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?
Indiana University’s main campus at Bloomington has lots of opportunities for students to get experience.
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Get experience!! Theory is great and necessary, but can’t substitute for actually doing the work.
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