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Most Frequent Qualifications Required for Select Entry-Level Positions in LIS

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Prepared by the School of Information Sciences Curriculum Committee
4/16/08

The following figures represent the fifteen most frequently required qualifications for entry-level positions in library and information science according to an analysis of position advertisements during September, October, and November 2007. It is believed that the results from these prominent sources indicate what employers look for in SIS graduates. This analysis, which was performed by members of the SIS Curriculum Committee, covered ninety-eight (98) entry-level advertisements in American Libraries, JASIST Jobline, ACRL News, and the Chronicle of Higher Education for these three months.

 Required/Total  Qualifications

84 / 98

 Master’s degree from ALA accredited program

58 / 98

 Excellent interpersonal, verbal/written communication, organizational, analytical skills

21 / 98

 Web scripting languages HTML, XHTML, CSS PHP XML JavaScript PERL OWL

19 / 98

 Web development skills, wireframes

18 / 98

 Reference desk experience

16 / 98

 Academic library experience

16 / 98

 Demonstrated experience, ability to provide library instruction and reference services

16 / 98

 Strong customer service orientation

13 / 98

 Demonstrated commitment to public service

12 / 98

 Experience working in team environment that fosters change and innovation

12 / 98

 Proven ability in managing multiple projects

12 / 98

 Reading competency in French, Spanish, German, other non-English language

11 / 98

 Excellent leadership skills

11 / 98

 Knowledge of metadata formats - Dublin Core, EAD, METS, MODS, OAI

11 / 98

 Potential to meet requirements for promotion and tenure

The results of this analysis show that an ALA-accredited master’s degree is the most frequently asked for qualification for entry-level information-related positions. A combination of excellent interpersonal, verbal/written communication, organizational, and analytical skills is the second qualification. Some position advertisements ask for all of these skills while some only ask for a subset of these skills.

Web-scripting languages are the third desired qualification followed by Web development skills and knowledge of wireframes. Experience in reference service, academic libraries, and library instruction was equally desirable. Customer service orientation, sometimes appearing as user-centered orientation, comes next, followed by commitment to public service.

Ability to work both independently and collegially in a demanding, dynamic environment is also one of the desired qualifications. This qualification is sometimes combined with independence or leadership, team or collegial work, or the ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously as work conditions change.

Foreign-language skills, especially French, Spanish, and German, are sought particularly for cataloging positions. Knowledge of different metadata schema is fairly commonly asked for, but not for one particular type of position. Potential for promotion and tenure is largely associated with positions in academia where information professionals sometimes have faculty status.