This anonymous interview is with a special librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
As positions open and are replaced… types aren’t as important
This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban area in the Midwestern 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?
√ Field Work/Internships
Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?
Finishing multi-site tasks, notes for coverage of projects that are worked on by more than one person
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 databases, particularly the more obscure ones
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)?
Big Ten (Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan)
Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?
What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?
Network, network, network. It is a really tough job market.
Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?
I had one two hour course from one practicing librarian at the University of Illinois. As union cards go, I’m glad that I didn’t pay today’s tuition rate. I also loved the perspective that I was given lower grades because someone had to be given Bs and I was going into business libraries where my GPA didn’t matter.
Play the game, but shake a lot of hands of those who will be hiring 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