This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
Assistant managers, non-professional staff
This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an rural 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)
What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?
√ Vocabulary Design
√ Project Management
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships
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
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Use this time to make connections – locally to globally. Look within your preferred field as well as in other areas as you may end up dabbling in multiple types of library jobs or choosing an entirely different direction. Take advantage of student rates for professional organizations! If you have not yet had a library job this advice is doubly important.
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