This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee.
This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in an urban 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
√ Web Design/Usability
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships
Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?
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)?
procedures (should come in with general awareness of workflows)
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Internship or practicum
√ Student organization involvement
√ Professional organization involvement
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Use library school as an excuse to visit every library, talk to every librarian, vendor, educator, etc. as you might possibly be interested in
Use library school as an excuse to work or volunteer in a number of settings or as any part of any kind of crazy project you can find
Talk to everyone about what you expect to enjoy most to help you figure out your dream job, then tell everyone what your dream job/functions are so we can all help you find your place
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