This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
Instruction librarians, electronic resource librarians, web specialists
This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban 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?
√ Project Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ 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?
Practice teaching/delivering instruction
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)?
Things specific to the population being served, specific processes used by our institution (analytics forms, teaching schedule, etc)
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience
Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?
University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (practicums)
Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Do practicums, internships, even alternative spring break. Step foot inside a library and work there. Practice delivering instruction and presentations in front of an audience. Have at least one presentation you can present at a job interview.
Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?
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