by Eileen Abels and Laura Saunders
The LIS field is changing rapidly, and encompasses a wide range of career paths and directions, all of which must be considered when preparing new LIS professionals. In addition to more traditional skills related to information organization and soft skills like customer service orientation and interpersonal skills, employers are also looking skills and qualifications in areas like emerging technologies, preservation of print and non-print materials, design thinking, and cultural competency. It is incumbent on LIS schools to ensure that their curricula are meeting the needs of the field. But which skills are core—meaning that all students should have a foundation in those skills, regardless of their area of focus or ultimate career path—and which are specialized, meaning that only professionals in specific positions are likely to need those skills?
In spring 2017, Simmons SLIS undertook a survey to address these questions. The survey went out to area employers, internship and practicum supervisors, faculty, and alums. Respondents were asked to rank 53 skills on a scale of “core” to “specialized,” and were also given an opportunity to identify additional skills that they did not see represented in the original list. We received over 1100 responses, which we will be analyzing and using to inform our curriculum.
Attached is the executive summary of the survey. We would like to thank everyone who participated, and we look forward to continued conversations about how best to prepare our LIS graduates for success. Click this link to access the Executive Summary of the Survey: Executive Summary