This anonymous interview is with an employee who works in a special library who has been a hiring manager. When asked “Are you a librarian?” the respondent replied with “It’s complicated.” This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
This librarian works at a library with 50-100 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?
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Digital Collections
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Information Behavior
√ Other: It’s impossible to answer this out of context. Different settings require different skills and background.
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)?
First of all, could you please call it graduate school, not library school? Let’s operate in the 21st century, please.
Again, this is very context-dependent. Can’t really answer. What someone learns in my legal research center is very different from your public library, or school library, for example.
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Other: If, by “should”, you mean that this should be required of them, then I’d say none of the above – it’s not always reasonable to expect a student to meet such a requirement. However, if you mean that ideally a student should have this experience, then my answers are noted above.
Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?
Why are you asking this?
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Get a job.
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