This anonymous interview is with a public 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:
young adult librarians
collection development librarians
This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in an urban area in the Western 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
√ Collection Management
√ Digital Collections
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Other: physical plant/facilities; strategic planning
Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?
Soft skills: collaboration, teamwork, communication, understanding that you may have a master’s but that you will work for someone who will direct and supervise your work; you cannot make up your job.
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 resources, assessing community’s needs, personnel laws/regulations.
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Professional organization involvement
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Learn about a broad range of library services and types as you never know where your career will take you.
This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from 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