Tag Archives: MLIS

I would rather hire somebody who has a ton of IT experience or has a PhD in education or who actually understands about research than a person who only has an MLIS

Paramaribo market scene. Women and men. 1922.This 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:

just librarians, plain and simple

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban area in the Northeastern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ more than 100, but less than 200

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

someone who met our characteristics of what we specified in the job description. We even had people apply who didn’t yet have their degrees. That job was specifically for someone with supervisory experience, and hardly anybody had that.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR doesn’t weed out any. They are evaluated by a committee using the position announcement.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

They don’t have any professional library experience at all.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Other: sometimes

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

In your resume, don’t give me the generic “sat at reference desk, delivered instruction” when describing your reference & instruction experience. I already know exactly what a reference & instruction librarian does. Tell me HOW YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE.

Oh yeah, and get a crapload of IT knowledge too.

I want to hire someone who is

ambitious

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: 0

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 1

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are more positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

Even for entry-level professional positions, we look for experience, like an internship or a grad student job in a library. We have in the past specifically advertised for “new graduates” with 5 years or less since their MLIS. But even those, we were looking for someone with a little experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Yes

Why or why not?

In the sense that you need a “library degree.” That was just a hoop to jump through 25 years ago, and it’s a hoop to jump through now. I would rather hire somebody who has a ton of IT experience or has a PhD in education or who actually understands about research than a person who only has an MLIS. The MLIS is just for enculturation. There is NOTHING, and I mean nothing, unique about library knowledge. Give me a good, knowledgeable person, and I can indoctrinate them into librarianship on the job.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

Learn about instruction – this is absolutely required for any public services academic job

New York Public Library Central Information, n.d.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:

Public Services (reference & instruction)

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in an urban area in the Western US.

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

√ Other: You can’t teach the job skills I need in library school

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?

√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Instructional design, assessment, ability to conduct research

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 practices/policies and subject specific resources

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Conference 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)?

no preference as long as the coursework lines up with what we’re hiring

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

online only schools with no coursework in desired areas

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

Learn about instruction – this is absolutely required for any public services academic job

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

Do you hire librarians?  Tell us your answer to, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

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

1 Comment

Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Urban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Stats and Graphs: What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School? 324 Responses

It’s Staturday!

When we last visited the What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School? survey, we had 263 responses.  As of 12/20/2014, we now have 324 responses.  The survey is and will remain open at
http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey,

And now, here are the

Results!

(A disclaimer: Please be advised this is not Science, and you shouldn’t try to extrapolate these trends to the world at large. Be a dear and also forgive the cut off labels on the charts – this is how Google forms deals with verbosity.)

 

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

 

Yes 24    7%
No 42 13%
Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate 230    71%
You can’t teach the job skills I need in library school 8 2%
Other 17    5%

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

 

1 (Theory) 2      1%
2 29      9%
3 (Both Equally) 147     45%
4 111      34%
5 (Practice) 32       10%

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

Reference 249   77%
Collection Management 233   72%
Project Management 211  65%
Library Management 195  60%
Research Methods 193  60%
Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations) 191 59%
Cataloging 184 57%
Web Design/Usability 184 57%
Instruction 176 54%
Field Work/Internships 173 53%
Marketing 165 51%
Outreach 159 49%
Budgeting/Accounting 158 49%
Digital Collections 137 42%
Information Behavior 137 42%
Grant Writing 125 39%
Readers’ Advisory 122 38%
Programming (Events) 114 35%
Metadata 100 31%
Services to Special Populations 87 27%
History of Books/Libraries 79 24%
Other 48 15%
Programming (Coding) 42 13%
Archives 30 9%
Vocabulary Design 29 9%
Portfolio/ePortfolio 16 5%

 

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently? (Example: a candidate who took an instructional design class vs. a candidate who taught library instruction sessions.)

 

Yes–I value skills gainedthrough a student job more highly 155      48%
Yes–I value skills gainedthrough coursework more highly 5 2%
No preference–as long as they have theskill, I don’t care how they got it 135 42%
Other 29 9%

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

Internship or practicum 250 77%
Library work experience 237 73%
Professional organization involvement 133 41%
Other presentation 73 23%
Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience 64 20%
Student organization involvement 61 19%
Other 42 13%
Conference presentation 31 10%
Other publication 17 5%
Scholarly publication 13 4%

Where are you?

Northeastern US 58 18%
Midwestern US 80 25%
Southern US 73 23%
Western US 75 23%
Canada 13 4%
UK 6 2%
Australia/New Zealand 7 2%
Other 7 2%

Where are you?

Urban area 124 38%
Suburban area 61 19%
City/town 99 31%
Rural area 30 9%
Other 8 2%

What type of institution do you hire for?

 

Academic Library 138 43%
Public Library 138 43%
School Library 6 2%
Special Library 26 8%
Archives 1 0%
Other 11 3%

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

 

0-10 58 18%
10-50 121 37%
50-100 60 19%
100-200 35 11%
200+ 46 14%

Are you a librarian?

Yes 305 94%
No 4 1%
It’s complicated 14 4%

 

Are you now or have you ever been:

A hiring manager (you are hiring people thatyou will directly or indirectly supervise) 250 77%
A member of a hiring or search committee 269 83%
Human resources 14 4%
Other 15 5%

Would you like to have information about you or your organization shared ?

No, I prefer to remain anonymous

286

88%

Yes, and I’ll give you my email address on the next page

35

11%

7 Comments

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

Any that are not accredited

School Reading RoomThis anonymous interview is with a special 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:

research librarians; technical services

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 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?

√ 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
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior

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?

√ Library work experience

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

any that are not accredited.

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 0-10 staff members, Northeastern US, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Stats and Graphs: Preferences and Reluctances for Candidates from Certain Schools, Part I

When Brianna Marshall and I piloted the What Should Candidates Learn in Library School survey, one of the testers commented that the questions on preferring or being reluctant to hire candidates from different schools felt “dangerous.”

I completely agree that these are not comfortable questions.

The questions I’m referring to are:

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

and

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

The person that we were thinking of, when we wrote these questions, is the person who asks, “Which library school should I go to? Which are the best? Which are the worst?”

Now, these two survey questions are not questions that might determine which are the “best” or “worst” library schools. 

What they can determine, is if the person who took the survey has a bias for or against a particular school.

They can determine if the idea of “best” and “worst” schools exists in the mind of the person who took the survey.

This question addresses perception, not reality.  It looks at the opinions of people who hire.

I also agree, as one or more commenters have said, that these questions might have been more helpful if the words “and why?” had been included.  One person put it very elegantly, saying,

“We are always happy to hear feedback about our MLIS program (my contact info is all over the place online, so feel free to reach out), but for us to be able to be responsive to the profession, it has to be clear.”

Hindsight is 20/20.  With all that being said,

It’s STATURDAY!

These stats are based on responses as of October 20th – 307 responses.  You will see that there are some slight differences from the numbers I tweeted earlier this week. I apologize. I was tweeting from memory, and I got it wrong.

Answering the question, “Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?”

Out of 307 responses, 115 left this question blank.  An additional 3 respondents put a dash or other mark. One wrote “I won’t state specific schools in this forum”.  Four more responses were irrelevant – it seemed like the respondents had misread the question.  That brings the total to 123 unclear responses. In other words, 40.06% of total respondents may or may not have had a preference for graduates from a certain school.  For this post, we will disregard these “unclear responses”.

There were a total of 184 “clear” responses.

94 respondents stated that they did not find that any particular school gave candidates an edge.  That’s 51.08% of clear responses.

90 responses named preferred schools.  That’s 48.91% of clear responses.

That’s pretty close to even, with a slight majority who don’t really care what particular school a candidate went to.

Categorizing Responses where no particular school gave candidates an edge

Of those 94 responses where no particular school gave candidates an edge, 14 did specify that the school must be ALA accredited.  That’s 14.89% of those that did not name a preferred school, and 7.6% of the 184 clear responses to this question. This doesn’t mean that only 14 wanted an ALA accredited school, it only signifies that 14 cared to mention it.  It may be that hiring from an ALA accredited school is such a given, that other respondents did not feel the need to mention.  In fact, only two respondents said in response to this question, that whether or not a candidate’s school was ALA accredited was not a factor in their decision.  In other words, two people said they would hire the “best” candidate, even if that candidate’s degree did not come from an ALA accredited school.

There were a few different categories when examining the reasons why respondents did not feel any particular school gave candidates an edge.

43 (45.74% of 94 who did not care, 23.37% of 184 total clear answers) gave no reason why they would not name a specific school.  They said simply, “no preference” or “none” or “any ALA accredited school.”

18 (19.14% of 94, 9.78% of 184 clear answers) felt that other characteristics of the candidate were more important, such as experience or quality of application. These people also often mentioned some version of the phrase “even the best schools sometimes graduate bozos.”  The quote below is representative of the responses in this category:

It’s the people not the schools.  Good candidates go to so-so schools and bad candidates sometimes graduate from good ones.  If a school is accredited, that’s good enough. I look at the candidate. Having gone to library school very recently I can say unequivocally that it’s about what the student puts into the work far more than it’s about the overall quality of the school. Even good schools sometimes have a bad instructor or two…

12 (12.76% of 94 who did not name a preferred school, 6.52% of 184 clear answers) identified particular characteristics that were important for the school to have, but did not name a specific school.  These responses specified things like “brick and mortar”, “prefer a MLIS degree over other “information science” degrees,” “local schools,” “Canadian,” or “i-schools.”  The response I found most interesting talked about fitting the candidate in with other staff members, in order to have a wider range of strengths:

We are located near Baton Rouge, so we see a lot of LSU applicants.  I have four professional positions in the library; two have LSU degrees, one from elsewhere, one position is currently vacant.  I’d like to have applicants with credentials from various schools because schools have different strengths and weaknesses; mixing it up gives us different strengths.

11 (11.7% of 94, 59.78% of 184) respondents said that school doesn’t matter, or that there was little difference between the schools.  They said things like

I see no discernible difference in library schools. It is really all about what the candidate did while in school. (i.e. classes taken, skills learned, job experience)

And

None.  They are all behind the times.

9 (9.57% of 94, 4.89% of 184) said that they didn’t know enough about the different library schools in order to prefer one over the other.  As one respondent said,

I don’t have a broad enough experience with candidates to answer this question.  We generally only get applicants from the closest library schools.

One person was extremely vague and therefore difficult to categorize, saying only “depends on the reputation of the individual school.”

Of the above responses, only one also talked about alumni solidarity, saying,

If someone happens to have graduated from my same school, I might take notice of them, but not to the point of giving them preferential treatment over another candidate from another school.

Answering the question, “Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?”

130 people out of 307 did not answer this question, either by leaving it blank, making an ambiguous remark, or declining to state.  This leaves a total of 177 clear responses. 132 (74.58% of total clear responses) people said that there was no particular school whose alumni they were reluctant to hire. 45 (25.42% of total clear responses) named a school or schools (about half as many as named preferred schools – what a positive bunch!)

Categorizing Responses where no particular school made respondent reluctant to Hire

Of those who did not name schools whose alumni they were reluctant to hire, 65 (49.24% of those who did not name a particular school, 36.72% of total clear responses) did not include further reasoning. They simply said things like “no” or “not really” or “not particularly.”

19 (14.39%, 10.73%) expressed reluctance to hire people from online schools.  I discussed this more in THIS post.  These respondents said things like,

While the course work is fine, I am leery of total on-line course work.  There is no sense of team-work or social skills involved and I have found that many people with a totally on-line degree have little/no library experience.

16 (12.12%, 9.04%) people expressed that they would be reluctant to hire candidates from non-ALA accredited schools.

I would look carefully and investigate unfamiliar and unaccredited programs before hiring their graduates just to make sure the degree is not from some diploma-mill that doesn’t teach much.  I need librarians who bring every skill and strength possible to the workplace because we are small – but mighty!

14 (10.6%, 7.9%) said it depended on the candidate, not the school.  They weighed the candidate’s experience, skill, and/or the way they presented themselves in the application and interview, and did not take school into account.  People in this category said things like:

if they did well in the phone interview and on-campus interview, no.

and

No, it matters not. Each candidate is judged on their own merits.

One of the above respondents, and an additional respondent, felt that there was not much difference between library schools (2, or 1.5% of who did not name a particular school, and 1.12% of total clear responses).

Eight people (6.06%, 4.51%) felt that they did not know enough about the particular schools to use this as a criteria.  They said things like,

Have no idea. I don’t pay much attention to what school they came from, I really care about the interview/experience.

Two people (1.5%, 1.12%) said they would not be interested in candidates whose schools did not include a particular focus or curriculum.  One said,

any school that does not require students to take a reference course and a cataloging course.

Two people (1.5%, 1.12%) expressed a regional bias, one expressing reluctance to hire alums from outside the US, and the other naming Nigerian schools(the respondent was in Ghana)

One person (.75%, .56%) was an anti-alumni, saying

I am slightly reluctant to consider alumni from my library school which is way more theory than practice and really doesn’t offer much in the way of advanced courses, but I try to keep an open mind. And I don’t think it would help alumni much if I pointed out which school it is!

One person (.75%, .56%) expressed reluctance to hire people from small schools, more specifically

Small, traditional schools that don’t teach new technologies and require cataloging classes

One person (.75%, .56%) said they would be reluctant to hire candidates from for-profit schools.

One person (.75%, .56%) seemed to think that schools today were doing better, saying:

I have not experienced any in recent years. There were some in the 70s 80s and 90s

In Conclusion

So there’s my break down of the responses that didn’t include specific schools.  Next week I hope to have some analysis for you of the responses that **NAME NAMES**.

However, these stats posts take a long time, my friends, and I am only one person, with other attention-diverting things such as a husband, toothless cat, and two jobs that actually pay money. So please be patient, and don’t worry too much if you see your school’s name pop up.  It’s just one person’s opinion. You know the quality of your education, and your expertise will bear that out.

21 Comments

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

Having the Necessary Skills and Being Able to Sell Them

CO 1069-279-6This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently not employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for six months to a year. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the entry levels. This new grad/entry level applicant has the following internship/volunteering experience:

I worked at a library part time while in graduate school and have interned at two archives. Prior to entering school I volunteered for a year at a local historical society.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Northeastern US and is willing to move anywhere.

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

Professional development opportunities
good salary and benefits
Challenging work environment

Where do you look for open positions?

Archives Gig, Indeed.com, ALA Joblist, METRO NY Roundtable

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?

After reading the job announcement and deciding if I am qualified I write a cover letter. This usually takes about an hour. Then I wait a bit and come back to re-read the cover letter. After checking my resume I then submit the required application materials including filling out an online profile if needed.

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

Yes

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
To follow-up after an interview
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 should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

The best area that can be improved is the online application that must be filled out in order to apply to many jobs. Often this includes information on work experience and education. Since it is duplicated in the resume that information is redundant. The application process would be much less painful if it did not have to be filled out.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Having the necessary skills and being able to sell them.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic, Archives, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Public, Special

Would Rather Have Someone Who is Collaborative

OP_82 US Cavalry Hunting for Illicit Stills in SC 1870This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for Less than six months. This person is looking in Academic libraries and Public libraries at the following levels: Entry level. This new grad/entry level applicant has the following internship/volunteering experience: I’ve had three internships (one currently ongoing), and volunteered at the Bitch Magazine library for a year. This job hunter is in an urban area in Midwestern US and isn’t willing to move.

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

1) Support for professional development
2) A commute under 60 minutes one-way
3) A collaborative staff

Where do you look for open positions?

Greater Chicago Midwest HERC
INALJ
RAILS Job Board
Indeed

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 tend to spend a couple of days. I try to have at least two people look over my cover letter and resume (one being a former library employer). If there’s an online form, I keep all of that information in an Excel doc so that I can just copy and paste.

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

Yes

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
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ 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?

List the salary!

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

Communicate more–I get that it’s difficult to tell someone that they haven’t moved on to the next interview step in a multi-interview process (esp. if their first choices back out and they decide to interview you in a pinch), but it is extremely painful to be told that you were going to hear two weeks ago about the next step and then hear nothing.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Your personality being the right fit for the workplace. With the recession, I think there’s a lot of focus on the idea that libraries can hire the best people–with “best” meaning most degrees, most technical skills, etc. However, my experience has been that the recession has allowed libraries to be more choosy in terms of picking the right personality for their workplace. Yeah, it’s great to get someone in with reference experience who also loves messing with Drupal in their free time, but I think they would rather have someone who is collaborative and willing to learn than a person with a lot of skills and nothing interpersonal to offer. Not that the two are mutually exclusive! I just think that the hiring process has become far more based on person-to-person interactions and whether or not the hiring committee feels like you’d be a good fit long-term at their library.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Thanks for putting this together! And in case Emily or Naomi are reading this thank you both SO MUCH for what you do! INALJ is an amazingly comprehensive resource, and I always consult Hiring Librarians to get a feel of the hiring market out there.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Public, Urban area