get involved with the library community- it’s who you know

N.S.W Primary Schools' Rugby Leauge Football Team v Queensland Brisbane, 1932This 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:

Senior Information Assistants- generally new professionals with emphasis on staff supervision, cataloguing and serials management.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town in the UK.

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
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Research Methods
√ Information Behavior
√ Marketing
√ 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?

Skills surrounding computing and technology.

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)?

The workings of specific library management systems, general staff management and appraisal skills.

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

√ Library work experience

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

Robert Gordon University is quite focused on people management as well as skills such as cataloguing, but it’s nowhere near perfect. I suppose it would really depend on the position.

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

I’m not sure if I’m still familiar enough with all of the programmes. I do remember UCL’s course being quite dated.

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

Get relevant work experience while you’re there and get involved with the library community- it’s who you know.

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?”:

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, UK, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

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