This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
youth services, adult services, outreach services, latino liaison (librarian I)
This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town 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)
What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?
√ Grant Writing
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships
Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?
Effective, professional communication skills — especially verbal. The ability to share their experiences in the job interview and also to coordinate with outside agencies for their work once hired. It is not that every librarian should be outgoing extroverts, but they do need to not be hindered from being the first to reach out and establish contact.
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)?
Skills on the job would be learning the particulars of the library, including the budget process and finance structure.
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Student organization involvement
√ Professional organization involvement
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
They need to have job experience to supplement their coursework.
Do you hire librarians? Tell us your answer to, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey