This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban area 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?
√ Vocabulary Design
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Other: public presentations, using social media, technology
Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?
It depends upon the curriculum and the student.
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)?
Public Service skills, policy writing, political environment of the community the library serves, innovation, creativity, mentored experiences
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Conference presentation
√ Scholarly publication
√ 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?
Take all of elective courses that you can specifically on management, budgeting, marketing, public services, services to special populations, digital preservation, grant writing
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