Work nights at a paying job while you work a crappy unpaid internship during the day – and I know this sucks, but – just do it, if that’s your only option.

Keene High School, (Keene Academy), Keene, New HampshireThis anonymous interview is with an academic 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:

Technical Services, Collections

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area in Canada.

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
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Reference
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Management, project management, human resources management, actually useful tech skills (the 1996-style websites learned in Lib school are useless to me. Teach students Visio. Teach them the most advanced level of Excel you can manage. Someone who can’t create a pivot table is useless to me)

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)?

 Liaising with vendors, our own ILS, our institutional policies and procedures

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)?

We won’t look at anything that isn’t ALA-accredited, but otherwise we don’t filter by school.

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

Any school that isn’t ALA-accredited.

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

Work at a library. Volunteer at one, or do a co-op or a practicum or an internship. If you need to work nights at a paying job while you work a crappy unpaid internship during the day – and I know this sucks, but – just do it, if that’s your only option.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses to this survey, or specific analysis of the responses discussing online school, the amount of coursework students should take, and preferences/reluctances for candidates from certain schools.

Do you hire librarians?  Tell us your answer to, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”:

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under 200+ staff members, Academic, Canada, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.