By Meredith Farkas | September 27, 2008
A few weeks ago, I posted a survey to Survey Monkey to get people’s views about their library school education and what they think should be taught in library school that isn’t (or wasn’t when they were in school). The 91 responses I got were really interesting and I wanted to post them so everyone could take a peek:
Some interesting things from the survey:
Of the people who responded, less than 50% thought that library school didn’t prepare for them for their work in libraries. Some who said yes mentioned that they only answered yes because of their internship/practicum.
The biggest things that people thought should be taught as part of the LIS curriculum that weren’t taught when they were in library school were management (#1 by quite a lot), Web 2.0/emerging technology, instruction, web design/programming, and conflict management/customer service/dealing with difficult people. A lot of schools are teaching the first four topics these days, but not all are doing it in much depth or in a practical way. I was surprised to find that still, Florida State is only offering one instruction course and it’s designed for people in a K-12 setting. Considering that instruction is a part of the work of librarians in just about every setting, it’s surprising to me that it isn’t being emphasized more in library schools (though I’m sure others are doing a much better job). Management also really isn’t taught in enough depth in library schools. I frequently think about getting an MBA, because I want to know more about managing people and resources, budgeting, strategic planning, marketing, etc. The one class we had that was about management was really interesting, but it was very focused on theory and I really wished there was a “Management II” and “Management III” that would have gone into more depth and would have been more focused on the practical. With some librarians going straight into management positions (or even directorships) after library school, it’s critical that students are prepared to be great managers by library schools.
The survey definitely gave me a lot of interesting food for thought for my presentation in Iceland. Thanks so much to those of you who responded to my call for help!