Cataloguers, reference work, marketing
This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in a city/town in the UK.
Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?
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?
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships
Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?
Yes, particularly ‘non-traditional’ ones. I would like to see MLIS holders with some knowledge of communications, marketing, fundraising (e.g. grant writing), web design/usability (even if just basic), and teaching skills.
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)?
I expect that the practical skills will often come on the job – cataloguing and classification (though theoretical knowledge is helpful), collection management, building budgets, reference work.
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Conference presentation
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience
Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Go beyond the classroom! Take advantage of free online resources and learn to code, get marketing or social media experience, give presentations, etc .
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