This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in a suburban area in the Northeastern 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)
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ 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?
Interpersonal communication/relationships is a weak 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?
√ 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 my library system works, which is not something they can know going into the job. But they should know hierarchy and group work skills.
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other publication
√ Student organization involvement
√ Professional organization involvement
Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?
UMD College Park. It is my own alma mater, but I feel that it was nothing more than a piece of paper for me. My experiences in libraries were vastly more helpful.
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Get a job/internship in a library, and observe the interpersonal (between staff and patrons) workings as much as you can.
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