by Pierina Parise, Director, Oregon Distance Education Program, Emporia State University, School of Library & Information Management (Oregon Chapter)
I am often asked about the qualities/characteristics that are essential for admission into our MLS program. I usually reply with the list that appears on our Web site:
- Fluency in oral and written communication;
- An assertive personality, one that is sensitive and responsive to the needs of others;
- Emotional maturity and stability;
- An ability to articulate personal goals;
- Intellectual curiosity and flexibility necessary for creative problem solving and application of theory to practice;
- An appreciation for large and small group participation;
- Awareness of change, ambiguity and risk taking;
- A positive attitude toward utilization of technology; and
- Strong interest in contributing to SLIM, the information profession, and to society.
We still do think the above traits will help one be successful in our program, but I would like to turn this around and ask what qualities – as opposed to skills – will enable someone to be successful in our profession?
The reason I ask this question is that I think in our current economic environment – when an agency will often receive hundreds of highly (maybe overly) skilled applicants for a job opening – it is often certain attitudes and personality characteristics that will be the deciding points in the final selection. I also suspect that we do not openly acknowledge or perhaps even realize that we are basing our choice on traits that are so difficult to assess or quantify.
If you are on a search committee, what “qualities” do you look for in an applicant? And how would you try to ascertain these characteristics?
Pierina Parise has been the Director of the Oregon Distance Education Program for Emporia State University’s School of Library and Information Management for the past twelve years. Before that she was the Instruction Librarian and Head of Reference at Marylhurst University. She received her MLS from the University of Hawaii and worked in Hawaii at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and was also branch head of a combined school and public library on the Big Island.