This anonymous interview is with an academic 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:
Cataloguers, library assistants, assistant librarians, archivists
This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a city/town in the UK.
Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?
√ Other: Some, but most of those could be learnt on the job
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
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
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)?
The specific LMS, local cataloguing rules, customer service and how to write emails
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Relate as much as you can to real world experience, and if you can get work in a library, even shelving, do it.
Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?
I see library school as a shortcut to a much better paid job, and a way to ensure a smooth progression up the career ladder if wanted. It is also a shortcut for recruiters if they have a lot of applications – though if you have all the skills except the certificate you might still get an interview.
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