I am actually quite hopeful about the future of librarianship when I interact with library school students.

School Children In Anzac AlbertaThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Youth Services Librarian
Adult Services Librarian

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a rural area in the Midwestern 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?

√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ 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?

Time management and prioritization of tasks.
Ability to see big picture – although I see this as a problem with veteran librarians as well so perhaps unfair to ask new graduates to have that skill.

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)?

Work flows unique to the particular library

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

√ Library work experience
√ Professional organization involvement

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

Do both your classes and get hands-on experience.
Consider classes outside of the regular library science program (business, marketing, HR – if you want to go into management)

Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?

I am actually quite hopeful about the future of librarianship when I interact with library school students. Most seem to get that public libraries are about people NOT about books these days. Most seem to be willing to try new things, experiment, and bring energy and enthusiasm to the workplace.

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 10-50 staff members, Midwestern US, Public, Rural area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

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