This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a suburban 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)
What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?
The ability to see a library as being about more than books! It’s amazing to me how many Librarians say they want to work at my library because they like to read. Sorry, but I need someone who not only likes to read, but also solve problems, work with technology, plan and implement programs, interact with people, and be innovative.
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)?
How to use our ILS, what kinds of programs to plan for our Library, and how we market programs and events.
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation
Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?
University of Wisconsin, Madison (or any Wisconsin school)
University of Illinois
Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?
University of Phoenix
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
They should become involved in the type of library where they want to work when they’ve graduated. Get to know people in your field, and make connections.
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