Tag Archives: MLIS students

To work in any library you must have a feel for your work, that intangible feeling for the job as a librarian.

Lagere school in woonwagenkampThis anonymous interview is with an employee who has been a member of a hiring or search committee.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town in the Northeastern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ No

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
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Archives
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Common sense. To work in any library you must have a feel for your work, that intangible feeling for the job as a librarian.
True to who librarians should be and not what corporate America is trying to push us into becoming.
Yes the job should evolve, but as with teachers, the basics never get old or outdated.
Learning how to garner information from secondary sources and books, is a skill. I thank Mark Schwartz formerly of West Thomson for all his seminars and training…

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)?

Everything! too many to name.

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

√ Library work experience

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

volunteer AND or do an internship in all libraries. And if you can, try both in corporate and public venues.

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

Try to like what you do! if not Don’t do it.

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

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, City/town, Northeastern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Library Jobs Math

Did you read the recent Wall Street Journal article that said we would soon be experiencing a shortage of librarians and sea captains?

Does that math sound right to you?

Library Journal’s 2012 placements and salary survey shows in that year, 6,184 people graduated. If that number remains constant (more about this later), that’s 61,840 new librarians over the ten years from 2012-2022.

Will this be enough to fulfill the imminent shortage???

The statistical chart entitled Employed persons by detailed occupation and age, 2013 annual averages (data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey) gives the total number of librarians in the US as 194,000.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook predicts a growth rate for librarian jobs of 7%, from 2012-2022, slower than the total for all occupations, which they predict as 11% (more about this later too). 194,000 times 7% is 13,580. So, the BLS’ numbers mean that approximately 13,580 new librarian jobs will be created over the next ten years.

Let’s subtract that from the 61,840 new graduates. There are still 48,260 graduates who don’t have jobs! How is that a shortage?

Oh wait, those retiring librarians!

That same statistical chart, Employed persons by detailed occupation and age, 2013 annual averages, shows us the ages of librarians!

53,000 librarians are between the ages of 55 and 64, so we would expect those librarians to retire over the next ten years, right?

Well, the chart also shows us that 17,000 are 65 years and older, so it looks like some of them …won’t.

Let’s say that within the next ten years, ALL of the librarians 65 years or older retire. 48,260 (the number of new grads remaining after all those new jobs are filled) – 17,000 (those 65+ year old librarians) leaves…

31,260 new grads still looking for work.

How many of those 55-64 year olds will retire in the next ten years? There are 53,000 of them.

  • 1 possibility: Say they all retire. Then yes, we will be short by (53,000-31,260) 21,620 librarians needed!
  • possibility 2: Say all but 17,000 retire. Then yes, we will be short, but by ((53,000-17,000)-31,260) only 4,740 librarians needed.
  • possibility 3: Say that those librarians are never ever going to retire because they love their jobs/have had their retirement funds decimated by the economy/some other reason. Then we will have a surplus of 31, 260 librarians!

It’s hard to know what this group of librarians aged 55 to 64 years will do.* There are some differences between a librarian of 55 years and a librarian of 64 years. If most of the 53,000 librarians are 55, then maybe they won’t be retiring in ten years. Maybe it’ll be more like 20 years. And do you know any 74 year old librarians who show no signs of slowing down? I know of at least two. I think some librarians will just go on forever and ever and ever and ever and ….

And there are three more kickers.

1. Library school enrollment is increasing, rather than staying stable, so if this trend continues it seems likely that the number of grads (e.g. job hunting librarians) will also increase each year. Meaning more or many more than just 61,840 hungry new librarians are being created.**

2. Although the statistical chart entitled Employed persons by detailed occupation and age, 2013 annual averages gives the number of librarians as 194,000, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook gives the number as 148,400. Granted, the former is 2013 and the latter is 2012, but to me that discrepancy indicates some variance in the counts, rather than an increase of nearly 50,000 librarians. So there may be in reality be even fewer than 194,000 librarians.

3. I am skeptical of the predicted 7% growth in jobs. The AFL-CIO provides statistical support for my skepticism:

From 2007 through 2013, library employment among librarians and library technicians and assistants shrank from 380,000 to 320,000.

Anecdotally, I look around at library workrooms with empty desks. I’ve spoken to veteran librarians who describe a slow attrition of positions, as automation and the economy visit libraries, and those who leave or retire are not replaced (or are replaced by part time or hourly employees).  Are we really growing?  It looks like we’re shrinking.

I’m sorry that this post is such a bummer.

But frankly, I think we need to be very honest with each other, and with the library school students that are going into debt right now in order to reach for the Impossible Librarian Dream.

The future librarian shortage does not exist.Not unless we can stop pumping out grads and start creating new librarian jobs.

Notes:

*The potentially retiring librarians are explored in a much more sophisticated fashion in Planning for 2015: The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians, A Report Prepared for the American Library Association Senior Management and Executive Board to inform its 2015 Strategic Planning Activities. Please note though, that this report was written five years ago, using data that is now almost ten years old. So, not totally up to date.

** I learned about this from Liz Lieutenant, who also has some good posts about library jobs numbers on her blog, for example this one, which illustrates library jobs math much more elegantly, by simply juxtaposing two quotes:

“The profession may lose an average of 2,820 librarians each year to retirement.”
ALA Office for Research & Statistics “Planning for 2015: The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians” (2009) pg. 39

6,451 ALA-accredited degrees were awarded in 2013*
ALA Committee on Accreditation “Trend Data on Program Performance” (2013) *Note: Canadian programs removed.

25 Comments

Filed under Op Ed

Get the degree as cheaply and as quickly as possible

Public Schools Athletic League (LOC)This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an city/town 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)

3

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

√ Cataloging
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Metadata
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Field Work/Internships

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)?

Institution-specific vocabulary, processes, tools, and customs can only be learned on the job. People forget how practices (and hence, expectations) can vary widely.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation
√ Professional organization involvement

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

No, but I would be wary of any graduate that did not have practical library experience outside of coursework, whether an internship or employment. Ultimately, it would negatively influence my perspective of the program.

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

Get the degree as cheaply and as quickly as possible, and make sure that you obtain practical library experience before you go on the job market in a professional capacity.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom 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

Leave a comment

Filed under 200+ staff members, Academic, City/town, Northeastern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

If they can’t sell themselves, they are not going to be able to sell programs or services

Blumengart School Children 1963This 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:

Reference/instruction librarians, tech services librarians, archivists.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an rural 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)

3

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

√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Portfolio/ePortfolio
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Yes, public speaking skills tend to be lacking. I also wish they were savvier about how to sell their skills; if they can’t sell themselves, they are not going to be able to sell programs or services.

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)?

I expect them to master the specific software and hardware we have on the job, although I expect them to be familiar generally with how those types of programs or equipment work. Ditto for databases and collections. I think it is hard to learn to do instruction in library school, so that is on the job, too.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Professional organization involvement

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

Any of the top schools

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

I would be reluctant to hire alumni of schools that aren’t ALA-accredited. I also am more inclined to hire people from schools where the particular aspect of librarianship is a specialty rather than where there are only one or two courses in that area.

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

Take the challenging professors and courses. Work in a library. Always try to understand how your coursework and the theories you learn are applied in real life. Try to learn about many different types of libraries, and go to conferences to broaden your horizons. Put together a portfolio. Talk to people who work in the kind of jobs you think you want, and find out what they consider the most important skills or training for their jobs.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom 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

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, Rural area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Have at least one presentation you can present at a job interview

Alma Public School - opening of new playground for infants departmentThis 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 librarians, electronic resource librarians, web specialists

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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)

4

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

√ Project Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Reference
√ Instruction
√ 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?

Practice teaching/delivering instruction

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)?

Things specific to the population being served, specific processes used by our institution (analytics forms, teaching schedule, etc)

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

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

University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (practicums)

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

Not really

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

Do practicums, internships, even alternative spring break. Step foot inside a library and work there. Practice delivering instruction and presentations in front of an audience. Have at least one presentation you can present at a job interview.

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

Great survey!!!!!

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom 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

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Get ready to roll with what the career hands out

Keene High School (old) Students, Keene, New HampshireThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires a variety of LIS professionals.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an rural area 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?

√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Reference
√ Field Work/Internships

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)?

Flexibility, those required of their own work environments,

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)?

Don’t care.

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

Nope. It just depends on the individual.

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

Make connections with other students, utilize all different types of libraries, do as many internships or real life experience related activities you can. Get ready to roll with what the career hands out.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom 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

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Public, Rural area, Southern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Get a balanced education

Sydney Primary Schools (N.S.W Rep. Team), 1922 who beat Q'ld [Queensland] Reps. 2 Matches to 1This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires “all” types of LIS professionals.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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?

√ No

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

3

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

√ Cataloging
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

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

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Organizational procedures and specific software packages.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Conference presentation
√ Scholarly publication
√ Other: Depends upon type of library

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

University of Pittsburgh, Michigan, Drexel

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

Clarion university

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

Get a balanced education so you have a base knowledge in a variety of subjects to supplement your focus area.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom 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

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Northeastern US, Public, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School