This anonymous interview is with a person who hires librarians and library technicians for a school library. This individual works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a city/town in Australia/New Zealand. When asked, “are you a librarian?” this person responded,
just someone who’s been subjected to useless librarians!
Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?
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?
√ Vocabulary Design
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ 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?
Practical understanding of library practice and what students require in a school library. (Whats the idea behind all this weeding?)
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)?
Enhance the skills they all ready have. Knowledge of the collection.
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Other presentation
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience
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