This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area in the UK.
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
√ Library Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ 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?
lack of experience with online resource management – subscriptions, knowledgebases, and a general understanding of the whole online resource space and online resource management. As this ties up two thirds of budgets in most research libraries, its kinda vital.
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)?
Local system use, teamwork, soft skills, finance, some specific skills around technical work (metadata, cataloguing)
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Student organization involvement
√ Other: Online publishing
Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?
Sheffield in the UK is the only one to watch
Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?
UCL still creates 20th century librarians. Bright ones, but 20th century ones in terms of skillset and approach.
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Get some great experience beforehand, afterwards and on the side.
Don’t stress out on coursework and exams, most employers are not looking for that distinction. Do enough for a solid pass, thats all.
Have a great time and network with other students, they are your future colleagues and contacts!
Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?
Rethink the whole thing along with the MCILIP. The profession needs a serious upheaval and that starts with professional development.
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