Take all of elective courses that you can

Lagere school in woonwagenkampThis anonymous interview is with a special librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Medical librarians

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)

3

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Vocabulary Design
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Archives
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Portfolio/ePortfolio
√ 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

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

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

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Special, Urban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

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