the management class was worthless and there was NO interaction with campus librarians or library managers from the local public library

Keene High School (old) Graduating Class of 1875, Keene, New HampshireThis 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:

children’s, reference/adult librarians

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in a city/town in the Southern 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?

√ Cataloging
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Services to Special Populations

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

Interpersonal skills; dealing with masses of people, difficult customers, culturally diverse patrons.

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)?

Policy and procedures; budgeting, accounting, HR stuff,

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Professional organization involvement

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Get an internship or practicum or part time library job!
Be interested in libraries as a profession. Read the professional literature. Know the current issues in your specialty (public or academic, etc).
Develop skills that make you desirable. Can you create spreadsheets for schedules or budgets? Do you have web design skills? Are you involved in professional associations? Do you have lots of experience working w/a population in your area (elderly, foreign language speakers, writers, etc?)

Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?

Library schools have been moving to the online model of instruction but in the case of our local school, it seems to coincide with the watering down of the curriculum a LOT. If libraries need motivated, tech savvy leaders, our local school is not turning them out.

And even when I was in library school 8 years ago, the management class was worthless and there was NO interaction with campus librarians or library managers from the local public library. Wasted opportunity.

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?”:

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Public, Southern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

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