Catalogers, children’s librarians, teen librarians, IT librarians
This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Southern 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?
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Other: SQL
Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?
Most MLS/MLIS holders are severely lacking in technical skills. This is problematic on many levels.
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)?
Customer service skills, using specific makes and models of various types of equipment, and using a specific ILS are the major ones.
Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?
None. They are all behind the times.
Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Learn tech skills – as many as you can. Learn Spanish.
Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?
Library schools are a few decades behind the times, for the most part. Customer service, readers advisory, organization skills, strong tech skills, and presentation skills are among the most important daily things for any librarian.
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