Any technical services role (processing, acquisitions, cataloguing, selectors), team leaders, & digital services staff.
This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a city/town in Australia/New Zealand.
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)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ 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)
√ Field Work/Internships
√ Other: searching techniques
Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?
The main skill lacking is teaching someone to be willing to do anything that needs done, from buying shoes for a homeless man, to cleaning up the bathroom, to making someone coffee, all things I do as a senior librarian on a daily basis.
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)?
The context of the library I’m hiring them in.
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation
√ Student organization involvement
√ Other: Some type of real world experience in an area they are interested in
Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?
ALA accredited schools
Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?
Non-ALA accredited schools and possibly distance schools.
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Do a project, internship or get a job in a library while in school. The experience is invaluable.
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