This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee a human resources professional. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
research support librarians, teaching librarians, library assistants
This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a city/town suburban area rural area in the UK.
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
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Information Behavior
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?
instruction skills. Nearly all librarians need these skills, whether it’s one to ones, group classes, lectures or staff development
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)?
Local policies and procedures
Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?
√ Library work experience
√ Conference presentation
√ Professional organization involvement
Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?
Distance learning – I’ve seen that others disagree with this, but I find finishing a masters program while juggling a job, family and other commitments very impressive, especially if the candidate has worked in libraries while completing their qualification. They often have a better understanding of course content because they are actually applying it and reflecting on it while studying in a way that’s not possible when you do a full-time masters
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?
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?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey