This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a city/town in the Midwestern US.
Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?
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?
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Information Behavior
√ 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?
Soft skills, research methods, instruction skills, grant writing, management skills
When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?
√ Other: There has to be a theory between balance and practical. Many student jobs still don’t give the student necessarily the skills needed to function as a librarian. Conversely, many theory based approaches don’t give you the hands on and interpersonal skills that are needed. Typically, I find the best librarians to be people who have had full time adult jobs in libraries or some other education/customer service based setting.
Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?
Library specific rules and procedures. Some software specific to the position. There should be some growth in soft skills, but some basis in these is needed prior.
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Conference presentation
√ Other presentation
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Try and actively work in the profession as a paraprofessional, regardless of your ultimate goal (academic librarian, public, etc); participate in professional events; take research methods courses and basic project management courses; practice your web development skills
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