many have applied for a paraprofessional position that specifically noted that MLS holders were not being sought

Lagere school in woonwagenkampThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

general academic librarians

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Western 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)

2

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Reference

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

critical thinking

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)?

specific systems, programming languages, acquisitions, outreach, grantwriting

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

brick and mortar

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

fully online degree

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

fully comprehend the principles of librarianship and learn how to apply (good) theories; this is what separates professional librarians from paraprofessionals

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

In my locale there seems to be a glut of junior librarians; many have applied for a paraprofessional position that specifically noted that MLS holders were not being sought. I think there’s one or more online college nearby churning out librarians needlessly. On the other hand, it’s very difficult to recruit seasoned librarians with experience under their belts.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom 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, Academic, Urban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

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