I am looking for a librarian with strong cataloging skills (RDA).

William Fox SchoolThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

librarians. – we’re small so must be a jack-of-all trades. I am looking for a librarian with strong cataloging skills (RDA).

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Northeastern.

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
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ 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?

I had a very brief intro to money management and that’s what I spend a good bit of time working on. Being introduced to methods of how expenditures are tracked (take a look at the questions on the ACRL & NCES/IPEDs surveys) would have been helpful. Never had a programming class and just the basics are helpful just for editing wikis, 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)?

Specific library system operation although the basics should be known. How to deal with your particular community (what they’re expectations are, how to get things done), particulars of your collection.


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

√ Library work experience
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

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

ALA accredited

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

get into a library any way you can do whatever you can. keep an eye on position postings – look at what employers want

Do you hire librarians?  Tell us your answer to, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.