Have you ever wished that someone would just answer all your career questions? Today’s post gives you the answer to that wish! I’m happy to showcase Career Q & A with the Library Career People, who have been playing Dear Abby and Anne Landers to the LIS career world for nearly ten years. Please read on for more of their well thought-out, well-written advice.
What is it? Please give us your elevator speech!
“Career Q&A with the Library Career People” is an online advice column for anyone working in, or interested in, libraries. We provide answers to actual questions from our readers.
When was it started? Why was it started?
“Career Q&A with the Library Career People” began in May of 2003 as a regular advice column in the Info Career Trends Newsletter (LISjobs.com’s career development newsletter). In 2007 we moved the column to a WordPress site in order to facilitate more communication between the writers and the readers and to provide more timely answers to the questions we receive.
Who runs it?
Tiffany Allen, Director of Library Human Resources at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Susanne Markgren, Digital Services Librarian at Purchase College, SUNY, have been the “Library Career People” since 2003, and they currently run the site.
Are you “career experts”? What are your qualifications?
We are working librarians with more than thirty years combined experience. We have worked in a variety of roles in different types of libraries in different parts of the country. We have chaired, and served on, hiring committees. We are members of library committees and associations. We are mentors. We have written and presented and taught classes on different aspects of career management. We have worked as career consultants. And most importantly, we truly enjoy helping others and serving as a resource for our colleagues and for those new to (or interested in) the profession.
Who is your target audience?
Our target audience is anyone who may have a career-related question about our profession. This includes librarians working in all types of libraries (at all different stages of their careers), library school students, recent graduates who are looking for work, and those thinking about entering the profession. We’ve answered questions from all of the above and we are incredibly thankful for our diverse readership. They keep the site relevant and interesting!
What’s the best way to use your site? Should users consult it daily? Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?
Our site contains Q&As from the past ten years. They are archived and organized into categories and tagged with keywords. Users can search for specific things, or browse categories such as: Job Seeking, Getting Started, Library School, Career Change, or Setting Goals. It isn’t meant to be used on a daily basis, since it isn’t updated daily. We try to answer at least a few questions per month, depending on how many questions we receive and how much time we have to answer them. We attempt to write fairly in-depth responses to the questions, and to provide our readers with links to other resources. Readers can subscribe by email, so they will be alerted when there is new content.
Does your site provide:
√ Answers to reader questions √ Articles/literature √ Links
√ The opportunity for interaction
√ Cover Letters √ Resumes
√ Interviewing √ Networking
√ Other : We also offer advice on career change, job satisfaction and what to do during library school.
Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats? Please include links, subscription information, or other details if pertinent
√ Book(s): coming soon!
We do not have a social media presence, perhaps because social media sites/tools didn’t exist when Career Q&A began, but we’ve had some discussions about it and it may happen one of these days. However, we each promote it on our own personal social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and we are happy to connect with our readers from those places as well.
And, we have written a book (which we are very excited about!) that will be coming out this year. The title of the book is: Career Q&A: A Librarian’s Real-Life Practical Guide to Managing a Successful Career. We will post more information about the book, and how to get it when it comes out, on our web site.
The purpose of the book is to take a broad look at librarianship by dissecting it into different stages and answering specific questions about the various stages, events, transitions, struggles and advances that encompass and define a librarian’s career.
Do you charge for anything on your site?
No, we do not charge for anything.
Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?
It’s funny, we hear so much from people looking for jobs right out of library school, or trying to change jobs at some point during their career, but we don’t often hear back from folks once they’ve landed the job. It’s like calling your doctor when you’re sick, but never calling them back to say that you’re well. We do get a lot of thanks, however, and a lot of the questions we receive begin with something like “I’m so glad I found you!”
Anything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?
We have been asked so many questions over the years, and the one that we get asked the most is some variation of “how do I get a job?” (or, “why can’t I get a job?”). We’ve answered this question many times and in a variety of ways, but our answers usually include the following things:
- Libraries like to hire the best qualified candidate for the position (and that may not be you).
- You need to have all the requirements for the position. Period.
- You need to have impeccable, and personable, application materials.
- In your application materials for a specific job (cover letter, resume, etc.) you need to accentuate your interest in the position — not a position, the position.
- When applying for positions, you need to (or really, really should have) library experience, even for entry-level positions. If you do not have it, get it!
- A good personality, the ability to adapt to different situations and environments, and an affinity for learning can go a long way.
- You should have a professional online presence.
- When you do not get a job you want, don’t beat yourself up about it. Learn from it, appreciate the experience, and move on. There are many behind-the-scenes aspects of a job search that candidates don’t see and have no control over.