Tag Archives: Education for librarianship

I Make Sure That I Qualify, First and Foremost

This is a repost of a survey originally posted January 7, 2013.  A follow-up interview will be posted shortly.

EDITED 6/13/2013: This interviewee has asked that I change her non-anonymous interview to anonymous.

This interview is with  a recent graduate, who is currently working part time scanning materials and doing reference work, among other things, for an academic library. This person has been job hunting for six months to a year, looking in academic libraries, archives, special libraries, and museums at the following levels: Entry level and Requiring at least two years of experience. Here is how this new grad describes her internship/volunteering experience:

I did a little volunteering at my current part time job before I was hired on. I live in a rural area and the other libraries in the area don’t take volunteers anymore so I’m very limited in terms of internship/volunteer experience.

Although currently in a city/town in the Western US, this person is willing to move anywhere. 

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

1) That I qualify. There are a lot of mis-leading job titles out there.

2) What kind of duties will I be performing. At this point, I’m not really picky and will do almost anything in the archival field that I qualify for.

3) Location. I would love to stay on the west coast but I’m not picky and will apply for most anything. I’m trying to stay away from the East coast just because there are a lot more library schools out there.

Where do you look for open positions?

I have a whole bundle of RSS fields that someone posted in my school’s fb group. It covers  both library and archival positions

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I make sure that I qualify first and foremost for most the qualities they’re looking for. Then if I feel I can write a good cover letter to put that all in, I do. Then I tailor my resume. Once that’s all good I either send it to the email address listed or I go through the application process. Which to be honest, with some companies is so damn repetitive to what I have listed on my resume! Its such a waste of time. I usually spend about 2 hours on average.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Be honest. If I’m going to be doing just a bunch of processing, say that! For the most part, the employers I’ve talked to have been honest and upfront about what the job will entail but there have been a few who have not and it has been frustrating

Also don’t list a bunch of qualifications that may or may not be what you want. It’s really disheartening to see a job that I could potentially be good at, only to see they want some crazy expectations like major coding when the job description doesn’t really lend itself to being that.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Don’t be repetitive! If you ask us to upload our resume and cover letter, don’t ask us to retype that information in an application field!

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Unfortunately, a lot of it is networking and knowing the right people.

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

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Filed under Academic, Archives, City/town, Job hunter's survey, Special, Western US

Researcher’s Corner: Experiences that Influence the Outcome of Recent Grads’ Academic Library Job Searches

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this with you for a while!  I caught the authors’ call for participants on the NMRT listserv – although I didn’t fit the demographic, I knew the results of their research would be fascinating.  And they are!  I think this will be very useful for job hunters across the board, but particularly for students looking to go into academic libraries.


As three recent Library and Information Science (LIS) graduates, we know finding a position in an academic library can be challenging for new graduates. LIS students are frequently encouraged to seek out experience, network, and improve upon their technology skills in order to have marketable skills when they apply for positions, yet little research actually supports such advice. We decided to test the advice given to students and determine what academic and work experiences of recent LIS graduates most significantly influence the outcome of their academic library job searches.

Survey

In 2013, we sent out a survey that asked questions about seven primary categories: basic information, job search, professional effectiveness, professional development, service, technological competency, and previous careers. We asked about student’s graduate program, parameters of their job search, their academic and work experience, as well as other skills or professional involvement that could influence their ability to land a first-time academic library job. The link to the survey was emailed to 2008–2012 graduates from the LIS programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, North Carolina Central University, and Dominican University. We also emailed the survey link to members of the ALA New Members’ Round Table (NMRT) listserv, distributed links on index cards to ACRL 2013 conference attendees during a related poster presentation, and electronically posted the link on the ACRL New Member Discussion board.

Results

Our results included the expected and unexpected (from our points of view). There were 360 total respondents to our survey and 56% (N = 201) reported they wanted to work in academic libraries. These 201 respondents represented 33 different LIS programs with the highest number of students graduating from the University of Illinois (56) and Dominican University (39).

We used our results to compare successful and unsuccessful job seekers to discover trends. Overall, we found the two groups to be fairly similar. Only certain factors in job search, professional effectiveness, professional development, and service made a significant difference in improving the odds of success in securing a job. Briefly outlined below are our key findings:

  • Applying for jobs four to six months before graduation were nearly seven times more likely to obtain a job than candidates who did not.
  • Having any academic library experience increased the odds of success for a job seeker and those who had participated in an internship or practicum improved their odds of success by 2.75 compared to those with no internship or practicum.
  • Attending conferences increased the odds of success by 3.33 when compared to candidates without this experience, attending workshops and seminars increased the odds by 2.05 and publishing increased the odds by 4.83.
  • Completing committee service work increased an individual’s odds of securing a job by 3.

Conclusion

If you’re an aspiring or current LIS student, on the job market, or are looking to help out new librarians, we have some advice. Advice backed up by our research. Start applying for jobs around the start of your last semester in library school. While in school, look for any opportunity to get some experience in an academic library, even if you don’t get paid. Join some committees, and attend some local or, if you’re able, national conferences. And, even though it’s extra work, take that professor up on the offer to co-author an article with you

To read our full findings and analysis, please take a look at our open-access journal article published by The Journal of Academic Librarianship available here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0099133314000123

 


rosener_ashley-1Ashley Rosener, Liaison Librarian to the School of Social Work, School of Public, Nonprofit, and Health Administration, and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy, Grand Valley State University

Ashley Rosener graduated with her Masters from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is excited by all things related to library instruction.

 

LindyheadshotLindy Scripps-Hoekstra, Liaison Librarian to the Area and Religious Studies programs, Grand Valley State University.

Lindy Scripps-Hoekstra graduated from Dominican University’s Library Science program and, as a former high school teacher, is particularly interested in reaching students through library instruction.

 

Eckard_Max_MovemberMax Eckard, Metadata & Digital Curation Librarian, Grand Valley State University.

Max Eckard is a [relatively recent] graduate of North Carolina Central University, and is passionate about digital preservation and librarianship as service.

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Filed under Academic, Guest Posts, library research, Researcher's Corner

Researcher’s Corner: Tenure and Promotion in Libraries, Part 2 – Resource List

Last week I posted the first part of this research into tenure and promotion by Lori Smith and Penny Hecker.  If you’re a current or future academic librarian (or just interested in the status of librarians), this week’s post provides an excellent resource list to help you learn more about librarians and the various ways they might achieve tenure.


On Tenure across the U.S.

(Penny Hecker)

I created the list of sources below because it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the varying status of librarians within the academy. Just as there are multiple types of academic librarians, there are multiple types of “faculty status” for librarians. Although the argument for how to classify academic librarians began in the 19th century, it wasn’t until 1943 when librarians at the University of Illinois were the first to be granted “faculty status”.

With the variety of terminology, procedures, and criteria that exist across just our University of Louisiana System, determining the “norm” for tenure and promotion practices nationwide would take a monumental amount of research. Therefore, I’ve created a list of sources limited to the publication scope of 2001-2013, except for one article published in 1994. The following sources provide both research and opinion on librarian faculty status. They are organized loosely by descriptive headings and alphabetized by author name or title.

Just the Facts 

Academic-Librarian-Status is a very accommodating wiki source which delineates the main categories and lists several universities under each category. In some instances, there are direct links to the institution’s criteria and procedures for tenure and promotion.

A Guideline for the Appointment, Promotion and Tenure of Academic Librarians (ALA)

Association of College and Research Libraries Standards for Faculty Status for Academic Librarians

Bolin, M. K. (2008, May 28). A typology of librarian status at land grant universities. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34(5), 220-230. Accessible @ http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libraryscience/156/

Bolin, M. K. (2008, September 5). Librarian status at US research universities: Extending the typology. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34(5), 416-424. Accessible @ http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1176&context=libraryscience

Hosburgh, N. (2011, June 1). Librarian faculty status: What does it mean in academia? In Library Philosophy and Practice. Retrieved April 15, 2014, from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1603&context=libphilprac

Rosenberg, Bonnie. Faculty status and academic libraries.  www. weebly.com, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014. <http://375138250656935668.weebly.com/uploads/1/9/9/3/19932831/ils560_faculty_status_rosenberg_copy.pdf>.  (Rosenberg wrote this for a library school course and I thought it was excellent. I stumbled across this after I had completed my source-gathering and was tempted to direct readers just to this source because it’s such a great snapshot of faculty status, and it already contains many of my sources.)

 For & Against; Pros & Cons; Advice

Coker, C., van Duinkerken, W., & Bales, S. (2010). Seeking full citizenship: A defense of tenure faculty status for librarians. College & Research Libraries, 71(5), 406-420.

Cronin, B. (2001). The mother of all myths. Library Journal, 126(3), 144.

Dunn, S. (2013, March 18). As their roles change, some librarians lose faculty status. In The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved April 25, 2014

Garner, J., Davidson, K., & Schwartzkopf, B. (2009). Images of academic librarians: How tenure-track librarians portray themselves in the promotion and tenure process. Serials Librarian, 56(1-4), 203-208. doi:10.1080/03615260802690694

Gillum, S. (2010). The true benefit of faculty status for academic reference librarians. Reference Librarian, 51(4), 321-328. doi:10.1080/02763877.2010.501419

Hill, J. (1994). Wearing our own olothes: Librarians as faculty. Journal Of Academic Librarianship, 20(2), 71.

Hoggan, D. B. (2003, July). Faculty status for librarians in higher education. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 3(3), 431-445. doi:10.1353/pla.2003.0060

McKinzie, S. (2010). 590: Local notes — tenure for academic librarians: Why it has to go. Against The Grain, 22(4), 60.

Smith, F. (2006). Tenure and promotion: How university system of Georgia librarians rate what we do. Georgia Library Quarterly, 43(1), 11-16.

Spires, T. (2007). The busy librarian: Prioritizing tenure and dealing with stress for academic library professionals. Illinois Libraries, 86(4), 101-108.

Stouffer, C. M. (2011). Tenure and other sticky situations. AALL Spectrum, 16(1), 11-13.


Smith-Lori-L-2

Lori L. Smith, Government Information Librarian, Southeastern Louisiana University, Sims Memorial Library

Lori L. Smith obtained her M.L.S. from Indiana University in 1987, spent a few years as a Government Information Specialist at the St. Louis Public Library, and has been the Government Information Librarian at Southeastern Louisiana University since 1991.

 

Penny Hecker

Penny Hecker, Associate Professor & Reference/Instruction Librarian, Southeastern Louisiana University, Sims Memorial Library

Penny Hecker has worked in both public and academic libraries since 1991. She is currently a reference/instruction librarian and Associate Professor at Sims Library, Southeastern Louisiana University, where she teaches the credit course Library Science 102. 

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Researcher’s Corner: Tenure and Promotion in Libraries, Part I – Louisiana Libraries

I’m happy to provide this two-part informal summary of research by Lori Smith and Penny Hecker on a topic which may be of great interest to you current and aspiring academic librarians.  In this post, Smith and Hecker offer a look at the tenure process within the University of Louisiana system, and their personal reflections.  Next week, they’ll broaden this information by providing resources on librarians’ tenure across the US.


Around 2007 at Southeastern Louisiana University, Lori Smith was assigned to provide tenure and promotion mentoring to Penny Hecker. One day Penny was lamenting how difficult it was to come up with a research topic for a publication.  Lori said it was easiest to pick something related to a task or project you were currently doing.  Since both had just left a meeting at which revisions to the library’s tenure and promotion guidelines had been discussed, Lori suggested an article comparing tenure and promotion requirements among libraries in Louisiana.  They agreed to collaborate on the article and it only took them five long years to get it written and published.  (They’re both very busy people: Lori is the Government Information Librarian at Southeastern and Penny is a reference librarian and an instructor for the university’s credit information literacy course, Library Science 102.)

In order to simplify the research they agreed to focus on the libraries within their own University of Louisiana System, rather than looking at all the academic libraries in the state. The article “Tenure and Promotion: Criteria and Procedures Used by University of Louisiana System Libraries” appeared in Volume 2, Issue 2 (2012) of Codex: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRLhttp://journal.acrlla.org/index.php/codex/article/view/71.

Summary of What We Found in Louisiana

(Lori Smith)

Though it did take quite a while to do it, writing the article was actually quite interesting.  The first challenge was obtaining copies of the tenure and promotion policies for the libraries in the University of Louisiana System (ULS).  (The library at McNeese University was the only one that didn’t have its own policy.)  While the university policies were often available online, none of the library policies were.  Fortunately, through my connection with the government documents librarians across the state and the help of some colleagues who used their connections, we were able to get copies of the policies we needed.

The similarities between the policies were clear in that all evaluated job performance, research/professional activity, and service, but significant procedural variations did arise.  Some libraries did tenure and promotion reviews in the fall, and others in the spring.  The University of New Orleans, which had just recently been moved into the ULS, had deadlines for both fall and spring reviews.  Some libraries used all tenured faculty at or above the rank being applied for as the peer review committee, and others used a smaller number of members.  The required contents of the review portfolio also differed slightly from library to library.  Southeastern seems to be the only institution that requires all job descriptions from the probationary period to be included in the file.  Since colleagues aren’t always familiar with each other’s duties, this is a useful addition to the file.

The weighting of the three areas being evaluated varied widely.  In most cases, job performance was weighted most heavily, followed by research/professional activity, and then service.  The only university that weighted service more heavily than research/professional activity was Grambling.  Given the amount of time that librarians at Southeastern spend on committee work for the Library and University, it may be that Grambling has the right idea.

There was very little detail in the policies about the requirement to “publish or perish.”  Various types of publications were mentioned along with other typical accomplishments within research/professional activity, but rarely was a specific number of publications mentioned.  For early promotion the policy of Nicholls State required a specific number of “scholarly works,” which topped out at three for promotion to Full Professor.  Southeastern’s policy mentioned that two “publications” were required to achieve a rating of “Excellence” in professional activity, and that a “substantial record of publication” was required for promotion to Full Professor.  None of the policies specified that publications had to be based on empirical research, though many included language (“outstanding,” “distinguished,” etc.) that emphasized the quality of the works.

After completing the article, we concluded that:

1) it would be more beneficial for future research if all ULS tenure and promotion policies were published online for easier comparison;

2) future tenure/promotion research in Louisiana might compare its two public university systems, compare its private and public universities, and eventually compare Louisiana to other states;

3) other relevant topics for future research might be faculty opinions about the process and the effect mentoring has on the process.

Our Personal Experiences of the Tenure and Promotion Process

Penny:

First, I want to note how helpful Lori’s mentoring was to me in the process. It’s common in our profession to have librarians mentoring new colleagues; it’s almost a necessity when climbing the mountain of tenure and promotion. And that’s what it felt like after I completed the process and earned tenure and promotion: like I had just scaled the academic equivalent of Mount Everest for 6 years. I was awarded tenure in 2013 and promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor.

My experience of tenure was closer to the traditional experience of tenure-seeking teaching faculty because I teach credit-bearing term courses in library research to undergraduates. Thus my tenure file, like non-library teaching faculty had to include documentation of peer teaching observations, student opinion of teaching, grade distributions, course content examples, research, publication, and service duties. The aforementioned was in addition to my scheduled daily duties of desk reference and virtual reference. However, I had to jump through the hoops of tenure as a 12-month employee of the university, unlike non-library tenure-track faculty who are usually contracted to work 9-10 months, allowing them the summer to work on necessary activity toward tenure. Thankfully, our library slows down somewhat in summer so the pace is more amenable toward achieving at least some of your tenure goals.

If you think that you want a tenure-track position in an academic library, consider whether or not you will be required to teach credit courses and whether your appointment will be 12 months or 9-10 months. Although the rewards of teaching can be many, there are also many unknowns in dealing with students. These unknowns may affect how much time and energy you have left over to do research, committee work, publishing, and professional activity.

Lori:

I was awarded tenure in 1996.  At that point Sims Library had only one tenured faculty member and no written policies on tenure and promotion.  We followed the overall university policy, and, since peer review committees were required to have at least three members, I had to recommend faculty from outside the Library to serve on my committee.  I don’t teach any credit-bearing classes, so it was nerve-wracking trying to explain and document my duties thoroughly enough for non-librarians to understand and appreciate what I had accomplished.  Since the committee awarded me tenure but refused my request for promotion from Assistant to Associate Professor, I probably could have done a better job.

In any case, shortly after I was tenured I served on a Library committee that drafted tenure and promotion guidelines for the Library.  We wanted to ensure that librarians in the future would know what was expected from them and that outside reviewers, when necessary, would have an overview of what the Library considered to be superior performance.  The guidelines have been revised many times over the past several years, but I think they’re an invaluable tool for everyone involved in the process.  I certainly wish I’d had them when I was starting out.

To end on a positive note, I did eventually get promoted to Associate Professor and as of this year, I’m well on my way to being promoted to Full Professor.  With sufficient guidance, it is indeed possible to climb to the top of the ladder.


Smith-Lori-L-2

Lori L. Smith, Government Information Librarian, Southeastern Louisiana University, Sims Memorial Library

Lori L. Smith obtained her M.L.S. from Indiana University in 1987, spent a few years as a Government Information Specialist at the St. Louis Public Library, and has been the Government Information Librarian at Southeastern Louisiana University since 1991.

 

Penny Hecker

Penny Hecker, Associate Professor & Reference/Instruction Librarian, Southeastern Louisiana University, Sims Memorial Library

Penny Hecker has worked in both public and academic libraries since 1991. She is currently a reference/instruction librarian and Associate Professor at Sims Library, Southeastern Louisiana University, where she teaches the credit course Library Science 102. 

 

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Stats and Graphs: How much coursework should you cram in to library school?

It’s STATURDAY!

I often hear grousing on Twitter about the number of responses checked off for the question “What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

“They’ve picked too many answers,” the grousers say. “These hiring managers are out of touch.  Library schools only require a few core courses.  No one could ever take all these classes!  You need to restrict them to just picking a few.”

Well, ok.

I think the major problem here is mistaking the word “coursework” for “course.”  The question is really soliciting topics, rather than classes.  For example, 149 respondents (48%) indicated that they thought all students should have coursework in budgeting/accounting.  We covered budgeting/accounting in my collection management class. 72% of respondents said all students should do coursework in collection management.  Hey, I killed two birds with one stone!

This question might be more analogous with core competency requirements, rather than core courses.  In another personal example, San Jose State required me to take only five core classes: an orientation to online learning, information and society, information retrieval, information organizations and management, and research methods.  In contrast, it required me to demonstrate that I filled 14 core competencies, ranging from instruction to communication to ethics.

This also brings up the question, is it appropriate to say hiring managers are out of touch?  Isn’t it the job of the school to know what managers need, rather than the job of hiring managers to know what schools are teaching?  Aren’t schools supposed to be preparing students for work, and shouldn’t they therefore be teaching the things that hiring managers need us to know?  

Methods

Here’s what I did.  First, I copied and pasted the auto-generated table for this question’s responses from Google Forms onto an excel spreadsheet. Then I recalculated the percentages to show the percentage of total respondents that picked each topic (how many out of 308).  I also used Excel to generate a graph showing the spread of responses.

Second, I copied and pasted the column containing  the text of all of these responses to this question into excel, used text to columns to separate topic choices into cells, cleaned it up a bit, and counted the number of topics each respondent picked.  I used excel to find different kinds of averages, as well as to count the the number of occurrences for each quantity of topics picked.  This second step took quite a while.

Thirdly, I looked at the write-in answers.  There weren’t a lot (62 topics, by 45 respondents).  Maybe because they had so many options already! I coded and counted the occurrence of similar answers.

Lastly, I sat down to write this.

Findings

Respondents had a choice of 25 topics, plus the option to write in their own. Here is the range of choices, with the number of times each was picked, and the percentage of total respondents who picked it:

Reference 237 77%
Collection Management 223 72%
Project Management 199 65%
Library Management 191 62%
Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations) 183 59%
Research Methods 182 59%
Web Design/Usability 175 57%
Cataloging 174 56%
Instruction 168 55%
Field Work/Internships 165 54%
Marketing 157 51%
Outreach 152 49%
Budgeting/Accounting 149 48%
Digital Collections 134 44%
Information Behavior 130 42%
Readers’ Advisory 117 38%
Grant Writing 115 37%
Programming (Events) 108 35%
Metadata 96 31%
Services to Special Populations 82 27%
History of Books/Libraries 76 25%
Other 45 15%
Programming (Coding) 38 12%
Archives 29 9%
Vocabulary Design 27 9%
Portfolio/ePortfolio 15 5%

Here is the same information, only as a graph (click it to see one big enough to read):

coursework choices

The average (Mean) number of options each respondent picked?

10!

The dead center number of options each respondent picked (Median)?

10!

The most frequent number of options each respondent picked (Mode)?

7!

But what was the full range of picks?  What are the different quantities of topics picked, and how many people chose each of the different quantities?

I’m glad you asked, please look at this table:

No. of topics picked How many picked that number of topics?
0 2
1 1
2 5
3 6
4 14
5 14
6 26
7 32
8 24
9 24
10 26
11 26
12 19
13 20
14 20
15 9
16 15
17 3
18 3
19 9
20 2
21 3
22 0
23 2

Here’s that in graph form:

number of topics

And what did people write in?

Applying common sense in situations (1 person), content management (1), Copyright (1), customer service (4), data curation (1), facilities – particularly unplugging toilets (3), flexibility and willingness to change (1), Government Documents (2), indexing (1), intellectual freedom (1), IT/Technology (5), knowledge Management (2), Library Law and legal issues (1), networking/self promotion (3), people skills–like working with people (1), presentations/public speaking (4), Professional Ethics (1), psychology (1), Scholarly communication topics (1), searching techniques (1), social media (3), SQL (1), statistics/data analysis (2), strategic planning/community assessments (3), supervision/HR (6), teamwork and team building (1), Writing (2), youth services or related skills – e.g. storytime, child development (5)

A Note on Diversity

Did you read Black OR Queer? Life at the Intersection over at Hack Library School? If you haven’t, go read it.  It’s good.  I’ll wait for you here.

In it, Ettarh asks:

For instance, why does Rutgers require all of its MLIS students to take a class like Cataloguing, but not Planning Outreach Services? If that is not possible, why is there no mandatory webinar or colloquium on diversity and intersectionality? If MLIS programs reflect the knowledge deemed important to become an information professional, does this therefore mean that Rutgers does not place an importance of learning to deal with diverse populations?

It’s a question worth considering.

In this survey population, 49% of respondents indicated that they thought students should complete coursework in Outreach and only 27% chose services to special populations.  We didn’t ask about coursework in diversity or intersectionality. It was probably partly because we looked at course catalogs for inspiration, and we didn’t see those classes listed.  It was probably also partly because intersectionality isn’t really a word that’s deep in my psyche, and it wouldn’t have occurred to me to ask about it (although, living in the Bay Area means diversity is a very familiar concept and concern).  It’s maybe also because personally I’m increasingly focused on practicalities of librarianship, rather than the theory.

But if it’s important to us to be a diverse and inclusive profession (and I think it is – what good is it to espouse intellectual freedom, to protect and present materials from all points of view, if we are not providing access by and for people of all kinds?), then shouldn’t this be reflected in our coursework?

In Conclusion

Ok that’s all folks!  

I’ve got to go apply common sense and people skills to unplug my toilet!

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Filed under MLIS Students, Stats and Graphs, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

MANAGEMENT

Alstead School House and Students, Alstead, New HampshireThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

instruction, access services, cataloging

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 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)

4

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

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Archives
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Outreach
√ Marketing

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

MANAGEMENT

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)?

circ, some readers advisory, customer service

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation
√ Student organization involvement
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

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

The school does not make the difference, the candidate does.

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

see above.

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

find a job! even if just volunteer, find out if you really want to BE a librarian.

Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?

again….management skills!

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

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While Non-library school, A High Level of Competency with Microsoft Office products

School Children In ParaguayThis 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:

Instruction and reference librarians who also have other responsibilities such as circulation, cataloging, or collection development.

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a city/town in the Southern 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)

4

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

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Outreach
√ Instruction
√ 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?

No

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)?

A specialized skill or two that one hadn’t taken in library school – can’t have them in school for 4 years! – such as archives or metadata.

I expect them to have these skills: instruction, instruction, instruction including the preparation of audio, video and online tutorials, reference, collection development, the basics of cataloging (i.e., about LCCS, LCSH, RDA, and how the automated system affects the user), the basics of serials management, and, while non-library school, a high level of competency with Microsoft Office products.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation
√ Student organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

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

Can’t answer this. Haven’t had to hire enough people over time to identify schools in one camp or another.

In the end, the school doesn’t matter. The demonstrated ability of the candidate is what I use to determine whether to hire.

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

Get as much practical experience as possible. If not within a library, in positions where the work skills transfer to a library situation: requires the ability to teach effectively, to find information and evaluate it, to make a case for a particular product/method/process, and to work well with many types of people.

Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?

Well done. I hope it gives you and readers helpful information.

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

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, City/town, Southern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School