It’s the difference between reading and reading comprehension

Public Schools Athletic League (LOC)This anonymous interview is with an academic 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:

Have hired tech services staff and CD librarians in various positions.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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)

4

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Reference
√ Outreach
√ Instruction
√ 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?

Collection development; acquisitions; supervision and management; people skills; decision-making ability; organizational skills (setting priorities, etc)

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)?

New hires should be able to apply what they’ve studied to their job but learn how to adapt that to real- world situations/tasks. It’s the difference between reading and reading comprehension, to use an analogy.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Conference presentation
√ Other presentation
√ Other publication
√ Professional organization involvement

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

Makes no difference if the candidate is qualified.

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

No

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

Work or volunteer in libraries, different types and in different areas of a library; lurk or participate in library discussion lists; join professional organizations; attend local, regional, national meetings when possible; apply for grants/scholarships/awards to gain visibility.

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

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Urban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

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