Tag Archives: MLIS students

I see library school as a shortcut to a much better paid job

School No.2 Students in Dublin New Hampshire 2This 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:

Cataloguers, library assistants, assistant librarians, archivists

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

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

√ Other: Some, but most of those could be learnt on the job

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?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Marketing
√ 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 it

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

The specific LMS, local cataloguing rules, customer service and how to write emails

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?

Relate as much as you can to real world experience, and if you can get work in a library, even shelving, do it.

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

I see library school as a shortcut to a much better paid job, and a way to ensure a smooth progression up the career ladder if wanted. It is also a shortcut for recruiters if they have a lot of applications – though if you have all the skills except the certificate you might still get an interview.

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

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

The library literature is silent on the Machiavellian aspects of higher ed employment.

School No.2 Students in Dublin 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:

Generalists.

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?

√ Grant Writing
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ 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?

At least when it comes to academic librarianship, I do not think that this should be someone’s first job. I value colleagues who have some experience working somewhere else; they know what it’s like to (1) work with others and (2) supervise others.

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)?

Reference interviewing.
Working with the several library platforms (e.g., ALEPH, Innovative, etc.)

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

√ Professional organization involvement

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

None.

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

Nope.

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

Learn how to get along with people. The library literature is silent on the Machiavellian aspects of higher ed employment.
Be curious about the world around you. There are too many introverts in this business.

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, Midwestern US, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

the ability to give directions, whether regarding technology or driving directions–without constant use of jargon or slang.

School No.2 in Dublin New HampshireThis 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 the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference, children’s, technical services coordination

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)

3

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

√ Cataloging
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ 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?

Verbal communication–the ability to give directions, whether regarding technology or driving directions–without constant use of jargon or slang.
Ability to work across generations, particularly working with library customers who are not digital natives.

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)?

Local information resources, purchasing regulations, working with community partners

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)?

Midwestern–Illinois, Dominican, Emporia, Wisconsin (Madison or Milwaukee), Indiana

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

Drexel, Michigan–not enough emphasis on working with actual people in public situations

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

Get paraprofessional working experience or at the very least a practicum so that you have some experience of what the day-to-day operations of a library are really like as opposed to the ideal of how they should be.

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, Midwestern US, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Further Answers: Are People Just Applying for Everything?

Someone who hires librarians recently contacted me for some answers about what job hunters want.  If you’ve got opinions, she’d love to hear them.  Comments are open.

The background:

This person is about to have an opening for a tenure-track, faculty-status, entry-level academic librarian job. Currently the title is Collection Development librarian (a stretch as an entry-level position but with a lot of support and participation from three more senior librarians, and providing an opportunity to grow into the job). When they last filled this position, despite a careful search process, they found someone who has ultimately been less interested in collection and the publishing, etc. required for tenure, and more interested in the reference and teaching aspects.

The question:

Are people just applying for everything? How can this library be sure to are hiring someone who is interested in technical services? The other option is to move another librarian into this position and create a new User Experience Librarian position that would include systems and usability. Would that be a sexier position for a new grad?

fallon bleichI would say, as a job hunter, the longer you are in the job hunting game, the more desperate you are, especially in the LIS field. I try not to apply to jobs that I’m not suited for, but if you aren’t getting any results from applications, it becomes less about THE job and more about A job to get your career started. That being said, I don’t think changing the title of a job will help these employers find someone better suited to the job, unless they completely overhaul what the duties are for that job. A title does attract me to a job, but a well-written job description is even better. Don’t just tell me that I will be doing “library duties”; if the job is primarily collection development, stress this in the job description. That way people who are applying to the job know what you are looking for and you might get better suited candidates. Brief job descriptions are the worst and are becoming a giant pet peeve of mine. And as a side note: I would love a job that was entirely based on collection development! I don’t know what that last person was thinking, but there are plenty of us who love that particular skill that they don’t need to worry about changing the name of the job. We’re out here and we want to work for you!

– Fallon Bleich, MLIS

Leigh MilliganFrom my own experience, library students are very anxious to get a professional position in the library. I was given the impression when I left school that there were not many jobs available, so I can imagine library students and new job seekers in the field could be applying for anything or everything whether the interest is there or not.

Since applying for jobs, I have learned to only apply to jobs tailored to my experience, my interests and me. I feel I will find a job that fits this way, even if it takes a long time, and I won’t be wasting my time or the search committees time if I apply for something I am not interested or qualified for. If you are looking to hire someone for a position geared towards technical services, gear the description towards technical services versus an entry-level librarian position. I personally feel that the User Experience title would be a sexier position geared towards a grad. I feel that Collection Development title can be misleading to newer librarians as they might think Collection Development goes hand and hand with the Reference Librarian field even though in the academic library, Collection Development is part of technical services. User Experience Librarian sounds more geared to those interested in technical services.

-Leigh Milligan, Librarian, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital Patient Resource Center in Philadelphia, PA; Head Editor of INALJ PA

 

I fully understand the trajectory that unfolded with the previous situation. I think there is a tendency for those who want to work in a specific type of library–whether academic or otherwise–to apply for whatever role they think they can reasonably get. That way they are gaining experience and have a chance for internal jobs that suit their fancy more when they come up.
I don’t get the impression from recent graduates of my program that they are particularly picky–it really does seem that they are applying for anything and everything. I think that (aside from the generally lacklustre job market) a huge part of this is because graduates honestly don’t know what they want to do (especially if they have no prior experience in a particular type of librarianship, such as cataloguing or collection development). I’m not sure what types of questions the interviewer asked with the previous applicant, but I think general questions such as “why do you want to be a librarian?” or “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” or “describe your career goals” would be a good indicator about the aspects of that job that someone may or may not be drawn to. If the person describes the teaching aspect of librarianship as the ideal, it’ll be more obvious that the passion for technical services just isn’t there. Sounds basic, but I think those general feeling based questions can tell you a lot about what an applicant wants from a job and from an environment.
I think the “sexier” position of a User Experience Librarian position would be a stronger draw. And not just because UX seems to be another buzzword! It suggests that there’s more opportunity to connect to the community/patrons, which might address applicant potential fears of being siloed off with their computers. I can’t speak to other LIS programs, but the one I’m enrolled in is very much lacking in technological skills, so I know a lot of its recent grads would jump on the chance to become involved in systems and usability (especially since it can be difficult to attain this experience once in a different role).
-Anonymous

 

That’s a tricky question. The job hunt and market for new grads is quite tough and competitive and anything that will actually accept fresh graduates is going to get a lot of shotgun-approach applications. I didn’t shotgun, but I had a paraprofessional job so I could keep working for the 6 months it took me.

I’d say that if they post the position as such, they should look for some kind of technical services experience on the resume. I’m a metadata librarian and I spent 5 years as a technical services paraprofessional before and during grad school, so I knew what I was getting into. (And personally, I wouldn’t apply for a collection development job precisely because I know what I do and don’t want to do in technical services.) Even experience as a student worker would give some picture of how things work in such a behind-the-scenes job. As part of screening, I’d also ask them questions about how they’d feel about working in the back and why that appealed to them as a librarian. As someone who does want to work in the back, I have good answers for that and I think others would too.

I think the UX position would greatly thin the herd on candidates who are truly qualified. I honestly don’t think library school prepares grads for that position as well unless either they concentrated on it, they had some exceptional professors, or they have additional experience which makes them qualified. Asking people to describe experience or education on the subject would probably do a better job identifying qualified candidates than anything you could ask for collection development. It’s certainly a “sexier” position and one which sounds less overwhelming than collection development.

– Ruth Kitchin Tillman, Metadata Librarian at an undisclosed government library

 

Freelin JonesOn if people are just applying for everything:I am not to the point that I am applying for every academic library position I see on ALA JobList or Indeed.com. I don’t see the point in quantity over quality. However, I’m heading into my third career so I’ve been around the block a few times. My philosophy is that I want a position that suits my particular skills set. I have a background in journalism and marketing with a lot of research and web site architecture. It wouldn’t behoove my career ambitions to apply for positions as an archivist or cataloguer just because they are in an academic library. My search is still limited to reference, e-communications, and digital librarian positions. That is where my library passion is, and would best serve both the institution and myself.

On ensuring they are hiring someone who is interested in technical services: Make it abundantly clear in the job description for the position. I for one pour over the description to make sure that a) I would enjoy the job, and b) I am qualified for the position. I pay less attention to the experience portion and more to the skills required. This is because I have no library experience but I do have 14 years of professional skills in public relations, journalism, and marketing. I have to figure out how to translate those skills to the academic library setting. I certainly understand the mentality of just-getting-your-foot-in-the-door approach to job searching. However, the candidate should be able to articulate why they are the best candidate for a technical services position even if they have not been trained in graduate school or had formal professional experience. So make the posting as technical services oriented to weed out those who are applying for everything, and allows the candidates who are qualified and passionate about YOUR position.

On using the title User Experience Librarian:A ‘sexy’ job title is fine but again I would concentrate on the duties. Again, I am speaking from the point of view of someone who has gone back to school mid-career. My focus is on what I am doing rather than what I says on my CV. I would definitely look at this position based upon the job title, because coming from a marketing background, my initial feeling would be that I would be qualified for it. But again if I were to read the job description and it doesn’t align with the impression that the job title gave, I might not apply at all even if I was the candidate you had in mind. I have found that many job titles don’t reflect the actual job description. So I I tend to base my decision to apply or not on the actual description.

– Freelin Jones, MLS, Academic Librarian for Hire

 

Sorry to take so long with my reply. I have thought about your question a lot. Of course, I don’t know how others feel about this; I can only speak for myself. Personally, I do not apply for everything — however, I do try to be very flexible and apply for many entry level academic librarian positions. There aren’t a lot of options out there for recent graduates, and I have been advised by mentors to be as flexible as possible. Rather than narrowing my choices down to the jobs that suit me, I tend to filter out jobs that I know for sure would NOT suit me.
That brings up another aspect of this question: as a recent graduate, I can only speculate the kind of library position that would be perfect for me. I only want to brand myself so much at this point. I imagine myself doing research, reference and instruction, but my research interests are in copyright and licensing, so I would absolutely apply for a Collection Development position. In most cases that I’ve seen, Collection Development positions require several years of professional experience, so if there were an opportunity to do that job with support from senior librarians, I would jump at it. Having said that, User Experience Librarian is definitely a trend in entry-level positions, and something new grads would be drawn to.
In my program, we were encouraged to explore different aspects of librarianship, so, again, I hesitate to brand myself too narrowly at this point, and I think many recent grads probably feel the same way, considering the job market. Coming at that from a different perspective, I hope (and honestly believe!) I would be able to wear several different hats in an academic library position, filling whatever role needed to be filled.

-Anonymous

 

Ruby LavalleeI graduated 10 months ago, and have been in my position for roughly three months.To answer your first question: yes, many people are just applying for everything they are remotely qualified for. It’s a rough market for a new grad. I applied to any positions that I felt I could do well in, which was a broad range – I made a point of diversifying my coursework and experience, as do many grads coming into a slower job market. It’s usually still fairly obvious where an applicant’s enthusiasm lies, especially if you ask them about their ideas for the position during the interview (if they’re really into the job itself, they’ve probably been imagining how they’d do it).

I think the easiest way to tell if you’re hiring someone interested in technical services is to pay attention to how their interests, both library related and otherwise, line up with the duties of the job description. Does the person you’re looking to hire have a history of investigating technical ideas or new technologies in school or other jobs? Do they have collections of their own, or do they have an interest in budgeting and finance? When you ask them about their research interests or the reason they’re interested in the job, do they at least make a glancing reference to the sort of work they’d be doing the majority of the time? If you hear genuine enthusiasm regarding tech, you can usually tell, and I feel like that’s a decent predictor of whether someone wants to stay with tech services or move elsewhere.

The question about creating a User Experience Librarian position is a little confusing to me. It’s not necessarily that a position like that would be a more attractive proposition for a new grad – it’s just a different animal. In my experience at library school, there wouldn’t have necessarily been more applicants for a UX job than a Collections job. They’re both niche interests among library students.
I desperately wanted my User Experience Librarian job because I love tech and asynchronous service systems, but I also love people. This position allowed me to spend some of my time hiding and doing design and tech work, but also allowed me to reach out and deal with patron service and assessment. If you have a real need for UX work (which you probably do) and currently invested librarians interested in moving into collection development, it sounds like a fine decision. But don’t count on it driving your applicant numbers up like crazy.
– Ruby Lavallee, User Experience Librarian, University of Manitoba Libraries
I finished my MLIS in August 2013 and started applying to entry-level positions in academic libraries about six months before. I have an undergrad degree in computer science & before I went back to school I’d been working in the systems department of an academic library for about ten years. When I started my job search I wanted to find a position as a systems librarian but would have also considered entry-level positions in areas where I had less direct experience but had taken related courses & found them interesting (e-resources management, user experience), as long as I thought I could make a case for meeting other requirements in a job posting.
I definitely would not have applied to positions to collection development or reference and instruction. Despite taking several really great courses in these areas, I have very little related experience. My MLIS program had a co-op option though and many who participated found that it was really helpful to get experience in areas they might not have thought they were interested in but found out otherwise with some hands-on experience. If you can find someone who’s worked in technical services as a co-op student and gets pretty excited about the position, that’s probably a good sign. Although given the person asking for hiring advice they conducted a careful search process, they’ve probably already considered this.
During my MLIS there were often information sessions for students interested in working in different types of libraries. The academic libraries session emphasized the research and publishing aspects of the role so I knew these responsibilities would be expected of anyone hired to fill the positions that I was applying to.
As for whether user experience librarianship would be “sexier” for a new grad: I found that I expected my classmates to be more comfortable with technology than they often were and I was a bit surprised at the number who really resisted required technical courses. Even so, for those students who were interested in technical courses, I wouldn’t say my MLIS program offered enough to prepare someone for an entry-level UX or systems position. But the relatively few students who wanted to work in those areas tended to do a lot of work on their own to keep up with developments & trends in the field.
Your correspondent says it would be a stretch to have a new grad function as a collections development librarian without a fair bit of support but I would say that’s of a UX/systems position as well. I’ve been working as a systems librarian in an academic library for about ten months now and even with quite a bit of experience I can’t imagine making the transition from support staff to librarian without the kind of mentorship I’ve had from colleagues.
– Anonymous
Whitni WatkinsAlthough I am a recent library graduate student, I am fortunate enough to already have 4+ years of library technical and management skills under my belt, unlike many graduating library students. The toss up here is that applicants like myself who already have work experience in libraries know what they do and do not like; the flip side to that is, because there has been such a drive on the “lack” of library jobs or the need for experience for the job they want is that some students are applying for whatever library position they come across. I think this situation is sitting at a 75/25 ratio and less students are applying for everything. I only apply for positions that meet my requirements (salary, place and responsibilities).
One thing an employer can do to narrow applicants geared toward that position is to require a copy of the applicant’s unofficial transcript. This will give them a list of the courses the applicant took during their education; students have easy access to their unofficial transcript and it can give great insight on what interests the student has. I attended SJSU SLIS, who had developed unofficial career pathways (http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/current-students/career-pathways) that helped guide students into taking the courses for the focus of librarianship they wanted to pursue.
If the two position were listed Collection Development or User Experience Librarian, I as a technology focused applicant would jump all over the UX position. It is definitely sexier than “Collection Development” but it also is a more specialized position and would in itself, weed out those who are not interested in working with systems or do not have the expertise that a position of that sort would require.
Finally, I just interviewed for a tenure-track faculty position and in that interview I met with the tenure committee who made it very apparent to me what would be required of me if I were to be offered and accepted the position. They also explained tenure to me, as a recent grad. tenure has been more or less a foreign concept as until I received my MLIS I wasn’t being considered for faculty level positions. The employer should put a great emphasis on what tenure is and what it entails. This can be linked to the job description but it needs to be brought up in the interview process foremost, especially as it gets down to the final interviews.
– Whitni Watkins, LMS Assistant, San Jose State University
I fully understand the trajectory that unfolded with the previous situation. I think there is a tendency for those who want to work in a specific type of library–whether academic or otherwise–to apply for whatever role they think they can reasonably get. That way they are gaining experience and have a chance for internal jobs that suit their fancy more when they come up.
I don’t get the impression from recent graduates of my program that they are particularly picky–it really does seem that they are applying for anything and everything. I think that (aside from the generally lacklustre job market) a huge part of this is because graduates honestly don’t know what they want to do (especially if they have no prior experience in a particular type of librarianship, such as cataloguing or collection development). I’m not sure what types of questions the interviewer asked with the previous applicant, but I think general questions such as “why do you want to be a librarian?” or “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” or “describe your career goals” would be a good indicator about the aspects of that job that someone may or may not be drawn to. If the person describes the teaching aspect of librarianship as the ideal, it’ll be more obvious that the passion for technical services just isn’t there. Sounds basic, but I think those general feeling based questions can tell you a lot about what an applicant wants from a job and from an environment.
I think the “sexier” position of a User Experience Librarian position would be a stronger draw. And not just because UX seems to be another buzzword! It suggests that there’s more opportunity to connect to the community/patrons, which might address applicant potential fears of being siloed off with their computers. I can’t speak to other LIS programs, but the one I’m enrolled in is very much lacking in technological skills, so I know a lot of its recent grads would jump on the chance to become involved in systems and usability (especially since it can be difficult to attain this experience once in a different role).
– Anonymous

Thanks to all these new grads and aspiring  academic librarians who were willing to share their viewpoints.  We’d love to hear yours too!  The comments are open.

And thank YOU for reading!  

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Filed under Academic, Further Answers

The mentoring I think is really the best education

School rugby teamThis 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 the following types of LIS professionals:

Adult, teen, and children’s librarians.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban area 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
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Digital Collections
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ 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?

Often people come out with no real knowledge of what the day by day job is. So there is a lot of practical experience lacking. In the public library sphere there is a complete lack of study in interpersonal communication and conducting the reference interview. Way too theoretical in focus in my experience. 50/50 or 60/40 should be the fit.

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)?

How to program and outreach. How to interact with the public. How to make connections with the public and with other organizations. How to be self-sufficient and not need a nanny-boss.

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)?

In our area we have only two, and really there is no significant difference.

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

No.

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

Do the work. Be engaged. But also reach out. Try to have a job already in libraries before you graduate. Find a mentor, someone who will show you the ropes and give you advice. The mentoring I think is really the best education.

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, Suburban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Learn the theory.

School childrenThis 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
Technical Services
Special Collections

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?

√ Yes

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

2

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

√ Cataloging
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Outreach
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ 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?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

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

√ Internship or practicum

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

Emporia State
Washington State iSchool

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

Learn the theory. Get lots of internship/practicum/volunteer experience in a library

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

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

Use this time to make connections – locally to globally

Students at Washington High School at class, training for specific contributions to the war effort, Los Angeles, Calif. (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Assistant managers, non-professional staff

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an rural 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)

2

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

√ Vocabulary Design
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Project Management
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ 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 of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Internship or practicum
√ Professional organization involvement

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

Use this time to make connections – locally to globally. Look within your preferred field as well as in other areas as you may end up dabbling in multiple types of library jobs or choosing an entirely different direction. Take advantage of student rates for professional organizations! If you have not yet had a library job this advice is doubly important.

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

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Midwestern US, Rural area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

We keep running into graduates who haven’t even taken a reference desk course and 50% of their work week is on a public desk!

Opening of schools (LOC)This 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 the following types of LIS professionals:

part-time and full-time children’s and reference librarians, library assistants in reference and children’s, and also assist with management team hiring processes

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in an suburban area 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)

3

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

√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Marketing
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Practical reference desk skills so they have a solid basis for working the public services desks when they begin a job. We keep running into graduates who haven’t even taken a reference desk course and 50% of their work week is on a public desk!

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)?

In-house procedures, enhancement of their reference and readers’ advisory existing skill set, library-specific computer troubleshooting, supervisory procedures and processes if pertinent, how to work most successfully with programming and program providers.

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

√ Internship or practicum

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

Seattle iSchool

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

Some of the folks Drexel has admitted are known to us to be problematic on the job. We’re wondering what the screening process is.

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

Focus on practical skills and, if you know what specialty you’re interested in, take appropriate electives; but in order to focus on a specialty, you’d better have practical experience in that area so you know what you’re really getting into and whether it truly appeals to you. For instance, we’ve interacted with students who think they want a job in Technical Services because they ‘like working with computers,’ not even realizing it’s cataloging and acquisition that is truly TS work

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 50-100 staff members, Suburban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

I do not hire someone who reads no library blogs or lists, hasn’t joined ALA, and doesn’t appear to read anything that wasn’t assigned by a professor

William Fox SchoolThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a library director and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

a variety

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in an city/town 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)

3

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

√ Library Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Information Behavior
√ Portfolio/ePortfolio
√ Field Work/Internships
√ Other: Supervision/HR Basics

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

Many are missing the big picture and larger view.

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 of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Internship or practicum
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Other: Knowledge of current relevant topics

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

UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Illinois, San Jose State

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

Take time to look at the “real” library world beyond your school assignments. I do not hire someone who reads no library blogs or lists, hasn’t joined ALA, and doesn’t appear to read anything that wasn’t assigned by a professor. Take a real interest in the profession that is personal and shows that you chose librarianship due to a passion you are following, not because you didn’t know what else you wanted to do.

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 50-100 staff members, City/town, Midwestern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

I have been very disturbed by the quality of pre-professional reference and instruction experience new graduates have described

School children singing, Pie Town, New Mexico (LOC)This 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:

Reference/Instruction Librarians; subject liaisons

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town 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?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships
√ Other: Statistics

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

New graduates seem to lack practical experience, especially in public services reference; I have been very disturbed by the quality of pre-professional reference and instruction experience new graduates have described when they have applied for our reference jobs. In addition, if new graduates have practical experience in academic libraries, they have not learned how to articulate how practical experience in one library might relate to another. MLS/MLIS holders in general appear to lack training in budgeting and accounting.

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)?

The reference interview; information literacy lesson planning (with actual experience teaching an instructional session); library programming for a specific patron population; creation of learning objects; cultural competence and demonstrated ability to work with diverse populations.

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 at Urbana-Champaign (on-campus program)

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

University of Wisconsin-Madison; San Jose State University

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

Hustle. Get practical experience in the kind of library where you see yourself working when you finish your degree. Don’t stop at a 4-5 month practicum. Volunteer or work hourly if you can’t get a graduate assistantship in a library. My colleagues and I value the learning involved in the MLS/MLIS; however, it’s meaningless if new graduates haven’t applied their learning from school in a workplace setting.

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, City/town, Midwestern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School