I got my American Libraries e-mail today, and it included a link to this story by Jennifer Kiffmeyer called "Things They Don't Teach You in Library School." Now, her story was obviously geared towards being an elementary school librarian, and most of the things on her list were not even necessarily specific to being a librarian but generally being an elementary school educator. So I was thinking: What are some of the things "they don't teach you in library school" that you learned and need to know?
I will tell you one thing that I never knew. Database and e-book prices are totally negotiable. I remember a reading maybe on how it's important to carefully review the contracts for database subscriptions, but I don't remember anyone ever saying how negotiable the prices are. Example: A database company (I won't say who) was trying to promote their new product to us for $1,000. They called with a special promotion for $800. We were like, "No thanks. We really don't have that kind of money." They were like, "What would you pay for it?" Us: "I don't know, maybe $200?" Them: "What about $250?" Us: "Give us a free trial and we'll see." And that's just one of many, many examples.
Another thing they didn't teach in library school but is extremely important is doing good displays! Seriously, just putting a book on the circulation desk equals a guaranteed checkout. We should have had a unit on thinking up display ideas and putting one together (ones that actually look interesting and eye-catching). But maybe other library schools do this and I just didn't.
Now these are serious things that they could have taught and that I suspect some people do get in library school. What are some things that you just have to get on the job?