Gavia Libraria

On library-school admissions

The Loon should have expected, inured as she is to all the typical slurs on library school and the students who go there, that someone would pull out the “library schools reject anybody?” business based on her previous post.

She can’t speak for all schools, but the one she works for rejects two-thirds to three-quarters of applicants. There just isn’t space. Do some achieve admission who probably shouldn’t have? Unquestionably. We who train them are the first to suffer therefrom.

What we have to work from when making admissions decisions:

  • Academic transcripts (pre-winnowed because of the minimum-GPA requirement)
  • A résumé
  • An application essay
  • Three recommendation letters

That’s it. That’s all we have. Moreover, we have no particular way to know how much of the essay nor how many of the letters have been ghostwritten or otherwise doctored.

Just reading and scoring that pile—where the Loon works, every application gets at least two readers—requires a formidable chunk of staff time. (The Loon read dozens over semester break. It took her days, though admittedly she’s new to this.) We physically can’t spend much more time on this than we do, not if spring-semester students want actual syllabi and the like.

Interviews, say you? Even fifteen-minute Skype interviews would (for an average application load) take in the range of two 40-hour weeks of someone’s exclusive time. In the Loon’s opinion, such interviews would also risk considerable subconscious bias entering into admissions decisions, and so are better avoided.

If the Loon had her druthers, there’d be a tech test before admission. She has no idea how to keep an applicant from making Family Tech Support take the test, though. (Perhaps a voiceovered screencast? That might do.)

So, yes, the admissions pool isn’t what it might be. If there’s a way to improve it given the constraints library schools work under, the Loon is all feathered ears.

2 thoughts on “On library-school admissions

  1. andrew

    One library school I applied had two or three short-answer, not-quite-essay questions on the application. I can’t remember if there was a personal essay as well. The questions were all very specific to librarysh and information topics.