I do not hire someone who reads no library blogs or lists, hasn’t joined ALA, and doesn’t appear to read anything that wasn’t assigned by a professor

William Fox SchoolThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a library director and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

a variety

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in an 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?

√ Library Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Information Behavior
√ Portfolio/ePortfolio
√ Field Work/Internships
√ Other: Supervision/HR Basics

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

Many are missing the big picture and larger view.

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 of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Internship or practicum
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Other: Knowledge of current relevant topics

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

UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Illinois, San Jose State

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

Take time to look at the “real” library world beyond your school assignments. I do not hire someone who reads no library blogs or lists, hasn’t joined ALA, and doesn’t appear to read anything that wasn’t assigned by a professor. Take a real interest in the profession that is personal and shows that you chose librarianship due to a passion you are following, not because you didn’t know what else you wanted to do.

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 50-100 staff members, Midwestern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

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