Focus on understanding your patrons and managing your collection.

Alma Public School - opening of new playground for infants departmentThis anonymous interview is with a school librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Library paraprofessional

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban area in the Western US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

5

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

Book repair

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

How to handle their particular population, task/time management

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Internship or practicum

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

Emporia University

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Focus on understanding your patrons and managing your collection.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

Leave a comment

Filed under 0-10 staff members, School, Urban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

be professional, friendly, and open to what’s thrown at you during the interview process.

meredith mcgovern
Meredith McGovern earned her MLIS from Drexel University in 2009, and has since been steadily employed in the private, non-library sector. However, she always keeps her eyes open for jobs within the library and information world. She says,

I am passionate about reader advisory, equal access to information, and any kind of research & reference work. I pride myself on being organized and my skills as a multi-tasker, something that helps in any job. I’m the friend who everyone goes to for “What should I read next?” advice and I’m always thrilled when someone loves what I’ve recommended.

Ms. McGovern is looking in Academic libraries, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries and Special libraries, at the entry level. Here is how she describes her internship/volunteering experience:

Volunteered with the Internet Public Library as a graduate student. Also assisted a children’s librarian in my local public library with story-time and other duties.

Ms. McGovern lives in an urban area in the Northeastern US and is not willing to move.
You can learn more about her on LinkedIn .

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Stable environment, potential for career growth, and continuing education reimbursement.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, local universities, LinkedIn.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I spend about 15-20 minutes preparing, which is only so short because I like to keep the common application packet items nearby and in “template” status. First, I’ll look over my resume and make sure it’s as up to date as it can be, adding any new skills or items I feel are of interest. I’ll then prepare a cover letter explaining my interest in the job, some basic information about me, and my job and education experiences.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?
√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Give a date by which all applications are due and from that point, single out the best candidates for the job to move onto the interview process.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Be in touch with candidates! Not hearing back or receiving any acknowledgment seems to be the norm with employers.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Presenting yourself as the most qualified candidate, with the skills required to do the job, but also making sure to be professional, friendly, and open to what’s thrown at you during the interview process.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Academic, Entry Level, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Public, Special, Urban area

I often worry I’m applying in vain

ConDev5378A Hunting Dog, 1945, Washington County, NCThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for less than six months. This person is looking in academic, public, and special libraries, archives, and library vendors/service providers, at the following levels: requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

1 year long practicum at special library
7+ years experience at academic, public, school and special libraries
volunteer work and committee member at literacy non-profits

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Western US and is willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

1) Supporting an institution with a worthwhile mission
2) Finding a compatible work culture with strong leadership
3) A challenging and varied combination of duties

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ.com
Regional sites (Baynet, PNLA jobs)
Indeed.com
Idealist.org
Craigslist

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

1) Revise resume
2) Write cover letter
3) Workshop/review

The total process takes about 5 hours.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ Other: only by omission, it can’t all fit

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Other: The possibility to teleconference as I am hoping to relocate

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Active recruitment at library schools
Require/review portfolio documents- let work speak for itself
Post salary range
Consider out of state candidates

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Be clear about requirements; I often worry I’m applying in vain if what you state you are looking for are the bare minimum and the preferred qualifications are much longer/hidden/actually required.

Be willing to take on fresh talent and offer mentoring/professional development. Employers need to participate in the process of building the next generation of amazing librarians- not just hiring people who have already done the same job for 3-5 years prior.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

There is no secret

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Urban area, Western US

I was one of the naïve people who entered library school with no library experience

Picnic lunch on a hunting party, Queensland, ca. 1912

This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months. This person is looking in public libraries and also glances at academic and special libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I was one of the naïve people who entered library school with no library experience. I completed a one-year, unpaid internship at the reference desk of the local public library while earning my MLS. I now also have a little over a year of experience as a part-time, solo librarian in a very rural library.

This job hunter is in a rural area in the Midwestern US and is willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

-A salary that supports living expenses and student loan payments
-In a public library
-A job description and/or library mission statement that “excite” me

Where do you look for open positions?

-Individual library websites
-State library association websites
-Regional library association websites
-INALJ
-Listservs

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I print out the job description and list ways I fit each bullet point. I also peruse the library’s website hoping to get a feel for the tone of my application. I then tailor my resume and cover letter to that job specifically. Depending on how in-depth the job posting has gone, this usually takes at least an hour, usually two or three hours.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Other: Whether I “click” with the interviewer(s).

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

While I recognize why libraries are unable to do this, offering full-time positions instead of part-time would increase the quality of candidates. I live in a very rural area, so I have to move to wherever I apply. In this economy you just can’t guarantee being able to get a second or third job to support yourself, so I have passed over numerous jobs that I would love to have. Also, please give us longer/better job descriptions! There are positions I have applied for where I have been forced to use generic cover letters because I know nothing other than you are looking for a librarian who can work the reference desk. I need to believe you are as interested in hiring me as I am working for you.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Please be in contact. I get excited when I receive rejection letters because they come so rarely. If your online application has a feature that allows you to set the status of an application, please use it. If not, in this age of e-mail, a generic two-sentence note letting me know you have moved on is better than the silence that usually follows applications. As a job hunter, I’m attempting to be professional and kind in my interactions with you, the least you could do is show me the same courtesy .

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Know the right people, be willing to apply for positions you are overqualified for, and/or wait on an opportunity to come your way. Despite hundreds of applications, the few interviews I have had have come from positions that did not require my MLS.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Rural area

Full time schedule, room for innovation, digital responsibilities.

Greg BemThis past June, Greg Bem returned from nearly a year working on libraries in Cambodia and received his MLIS from the University of Washington iSchool. He is currently the coordinator for the Student Media Center located within North Seattle College’s library, and library volunteer at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, though he is seeking full time employment as a librarian or digital preservationist..He has been looking for a new position for less than six months, in academic, archives, library vendors/service providers, public, school, and special libraries, and Internet library support and systems, at the following levels: Entry level , Requiring at least two years of experience, Branch Manager, Marketer/Communications Officer. When asked about experience with internships/volunteering, Mr. Bem said:

I have interned for four different libraries, and volunteered at over ten organizers doing library-related work.

This job hunter is in an urban area, in Western US, and is willing to move

internationally only.

He can be found on Twitter @bembrarian and keeps record of his conceptual arts projects at gregbem.com

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Full time schedule, room for innovation, digital responsibilities.

Where do you look for open positions?

Indeed.com, local job boards, and INALJ

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I refine my resume first, then write the cover letter. I usually spend 2 hours to prepare for each submission.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me
√ Other: If there is another role I should apply for within the organization (that would be a better fit).

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Other: Preparation of the served community/communities.

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Not be too specific in their application profile, and to be genuinely excited about who they’re trying to hire.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Promptness is a big quality in my book.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Having not been too successful recently in getting a library job, I am not entirely sure; however, I think that clear communication and honesty/integrity are qualities applicants need to maintain.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

I’m really glad you’re doing this!

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Urban area, Western US

Get experience working or volunteering in what interests you.

Public Schools Athletic League (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been and a member of a hiring or search committee.

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area in the Western US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ No

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

4

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging
√ Vocabulary Design
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Archives
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Field Work/Internships

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Get experience working or volunteering in what interests you.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

Leave a comment

Filed under 200+ staff members, Public, Urban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Doing what we librarians do best

PhC42.Bx17.Hunting.F12-1This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for six months to a year. This person is looking in academic, archives, library vendors/service providers, public, school, and special libraries, at the following levels: senior librarian.

This job hunter is in a city/town in the Midwestern US and is willing to move, preferably in the state in which the job hunter lives now, but moving elsewhere will be considered if the position and other personal factors are right.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

I’m looking for an interesting, fulfilling job in a public or school library, doing what we librarians do best: connect our patrons with the riches of libraries’ resources; connecting people to their communities; and keeping up with technology as it applies to libraries.

Where do you look for open positions?

publib, Wisconsin online job searches, networking, in-person contacts at libraries, etc.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Only for certain kinds of employers

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I check my resume to ensure that it highlights relevant and pertinent experience for the prospective job; update cover letter as needed; research the library or other employer to prepare for a potential interview, etc. I generally spend two to three hours applying for a position.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

They should post job opportunities on library list servs such as publib; advertise at universities with library science programs; advertise on the ALA website; and post positions on state employment websites.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Employers should make very clear what the experiential expectations are: i.e., they should have expected qualifications and experience unambiguous on the job descriptions.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I’d love to know.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under City/town, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US