Ready, Set, Hire! Perceptions of new technical services librarian preparedness
Mueller, Kat Landry
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Previous studies have investigated technical services librarian job availability and preparedness, but have not compared library administrators’ and librarians’ assessments of entry-level technical services librarian preparedness. In this study, the researchers explore the perceived preparedness of entry-level technical services librarians upon graduating from a Master of Library Science/Information Science (MLS/IS) degree program, and assess library administrators’ employment projections for technical services librarians, including hiring, retiring, position consolidation, and elimination. An electronic survey was distributed to library administrators and technical services librarians from public and academic libraries located across the United States. The researchers identified discrepancies between how prepared entry-level technical services librarians felt upon graduating, and how prepared administrators perceived them to be. Data gathered from both administrators and entry-level technical services librarians suggests the majority of respondents feel entry-level technical services librarians are adequately to exceptionally qualified for their first entry-level position upon graduating from a MLS/IS degree program. However, both groups felt current MLS/IS degree programs do not fully prepare technical services librarians for their first professional jobs, yet the desired skills and areas of knowledge which were identified as lacking varied between the two groups. The researchers discovered employment data which indicate relatively low turnover or consolidation for technical services librarians, and which support projections of low to moderate growth for this area of librarianship over the next decade.