True to who librarians should be and not what corporate America is trying to push us into becoming.

Keene High School, (Keene Academy), Keene, New Hampshire


This anonymous interview is with a  library worker who has been a member of a hiring or search committee.


This person works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town in the Northeastern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ No

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?

√ Cataloging
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Archives
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Common sense. To work in any library you must have a feel for your work, that intangible feeling for the job as a librarian.
True to who librarians should be and not what corporate America is trying to push us into becoming.
Yes the job should evolve, but as with teachers, the basics never get old or outdated.
Learning how to garner information from secondary sources and books, is a skill. I thank Mark Schwartz formerly of West Thomson for all his seminars and training…

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)?

Everything! too many to name.

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

√ Library work experience

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

volunteer AND or do an internship in all libraries. And if you can, try both in corporate and public venues.

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

Try to like what you do! if not Don’t do it.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from 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?”:

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Northeastern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

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