I feel graduates from online only schools suffer from lack of camaraderie and group study experiences.

N.S.W Primary Schools' Rugby Leauge Football Team v Queensland Brisbane, 1932This anonymous interview is with a public 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:


This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town 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)


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

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Library Management
√ Metadata
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Marketing
√ Field Work/Internships

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

How to troubleshoot/fix a copier/printer/ technology device.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Out of the box thinking. Communication skills with diverse (ethnically and economically) patrons. Excellent writing skills. Basic Cataloging, Reference, and Web, skills. We can teach much of the rest.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Other publication

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

They are all equal, though I prefer students from bricks and mortar schools over online only schools.

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

Not really, though I feel graduates from online only schools suffer from lack of camaraderie and group study experiences. They do too much learning in a personal vacuum..

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

Work, as much as possible, in diverse settings, to know what you are getting into, and help you choose the best environment for you.

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?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey


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

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