Category Archives: MLIS Students

Further Questions: If you hire interns, do you pay them?

The responses to this week’s Further Questions were a little sparse.  I’m hoping that you will have some comments, dear readers, about your own experiences.   

This week I asked people who hire librarians:

If you hire interns, do you pay them?  Why or why not?

Laurie PhillipsNo, we don’t hire interns. We accept SLIS students on placement or for reference observation, but those are not paid because they are part of the requirements for a class or the degree. We also don’t get a lot out of those placements. The observations are just for a few hours. We are more likely to hire a SLIS student for a part time or temporary reference position. It can lead to job openings for a tenure-track position but it can also offer a great opportunity for getting academic library experience and seeing how our organization works. We have a part-time temporary reference position open right now to cover for librarians on leave:

- Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans 

It’s my understanding that if interns are hired for no pay, the position is part of a course for school, college or graduate credit. Otherwise, there is a requirement that the position is paid.

We don’t hire or place interns in our public library.

- Kaye Grabbe, Director, Lake Forest (Public) Library, Lake Forest, IL.

Jacob BergEmployment.

Side note to fellow hiring managers: pay your interns. Not doing so is classist, because only the well-to-do can afford to work for free. And because race, ethnicity, gender identity, mental illness, physical ability, and sexual identity, among others, often correlates with class, internships are discriminatory along those lines as well. Also, not paying people to work devalues our professions by sending signals to other employers that our labor, time, and effort is not worth compensation.
-Jacob Berg, Director of Library Services,  Trinity Washington University
So, what about YOU?  Have you been an intern?  Paid or unpaid?  Have you hired an intern?  Why did or didn’t you pay her?

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email me at 

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Filed under Academic, Cataloging/Technical Services, Further Questions, MLIS Students, Public, Youth Services

Job Hunter Follow-Up: Sarah Deringer

Sarah Deringer took the Job Hunter’s survey on 12/29/2012. Her responses appeared as Make Sure That the Candidate Knows That You Really Want Them to Apply.

Background and Situation

How long has it been since you got your library degree?

I will receive my library degree on December 20, 2013. I have been looking at library jobs while also earning my degree.

How many years of library work experience do you have?

I have been working at a small public library since 2009. For the first two years (2009 and 2010), I just had summer internships during June and July. But after I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree and moved back home in summer 2011, I started working part-time. Right now I’m a substitute aide for the library, and I have been since December 2012.

How many years of work experience outside of libraries do you have?

None. I went straight for the library because I knew it’s what I wanted to do in life.

How old are you?

25 years old

What’s your current work situation?

Part-time work. Looking for a job. Almost graduated from library school. :-)

Are you volunteering anywhere?

I volunteer at my church with a children’s bible school class.

Your Job Hunt

How long have you been job hunting at this point?

I have been actively searching since January 2013.

What kinds of jobs are you currently applying for?

Public, academic, and school libraries
Librarian, social media specialist, Teen and / or youth librarian, User Experience Librarian, Web Resources Coordinator, Marketing Assistant, Small public library director
Also, outside of libraries where the jobs are similar in nature and internships that would expand my skills.

Approximately how many positions have you applied to?

25 jobs. I knew that I didn’t have to apply to as many until I graduate.

Approximately how many interviews have you gone on?

2 interviews. I also had an interview scheduled for a paid internship, but they suspended the position.

How do you prepare for interviews?

I look at often asked questions during job interviews. I think of ways to describe myself and how I would best fit the job.

Have you traveled for interviews? If so, who paid?

I have traveled up to an hour and a half. I paid for the gas.

Have you declined any offers?


What do you think is the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How are you working to overcome it?

So far, the biggest obstacle has been that I don’t have my library degree. To combat that, I am honing my skills and branding myself to fit the job I’m looking for.

Have there been any major changes in your job hunting strategy? Are you doing anything differently than from when we last heard from you?

There’s not much that has changed, but I’m getting more and more serious about my job hunt.

State of the Job Market

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen on a job announcement?

I saw listed under the benefits a part-time job: “great parking space.” It made me giggle. :-)

What was your favorite interview question? What was the worst?

Fave interview question: We’re looking to remodel the children’s and teen’s areas. What would you like to see included in the plans?
Worst interview question: So if this full-time library director job were offered to you, what would you do for health insurance since that’s not part of the benefits?

Any good horror stories for us?

The “worst interview question” made it feel like they were taunting me with the fact that they weren’t offering health insurance. The position was for a library director at a small public library. I knew that the board of directors were probably trying to be funny, but with today’s economy, it’s not funny.

Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?

For the most part, it’s been a positive experience. I’ve learned a lot from just the two interviews I’ve had, and I know I’ll learn a lot more as I have more interviews.

Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?

I think it’s still having passion and enthusiasm for the career, but I also feel it’s about endurance. Don’t give up on your job hunt. There will be times when you feel like you’re not good enough, but the right job will come along if only you will keep looking, applying, and learning.

Anything else you want to tell us?

As always, feel free to connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, or even my blog. :-)

If you took the Job Hunter’s Survey some time in the last year and are interested in doing a follow-up, even anonymously, please contact me at hiringlibrarians AT gmail.

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Filed under Job Hunter Follow Up, MLIS Students

Stats and Graphs: How much coursework should you cram in to library school?


I often hear grousing on Twitter about the number of responses checked off for the question “What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

“They’ve picked too many answers,” the grousers say. “These hiring managers are out of touch.  Library schools only require a few core courses.  No one could ever take all these classes!  You need to restrict them to just picking a few.”

Well, ok.

I think the major problem here is mistaking the word “coursework” for “course.”  The question is really soliciting topics, rather than classes.  For example, 149 respondents (48%) indicated that they thought all students should have coursework in budgeting/accounting.  We covered budgeting/accounting in my collection management class. 72% of respondents said all students should do coursework in collection management.  Hey, I killed two birds with one stone!

This question might be more analogous with core competency requirements, rather than core courses.  In another personal example, San Jose State required me to take only five core classes: an orientation to online learning, information and society, information retrieval, information organizations and management, and research methods.  In contrast, it required me to demonstrate that I filled 14 core competencies, ranging from instruction to communication to ethics.

This also brings up the question, is it appropriate to say hiring managers are out of touch?  Isn’t it the job of the school to know what managers need, rather than the job of hiring managers to know what schools are teaching?  Aren’t schools supposed to be preparing students for work, and shouldn’t they therefore be teaching the things that hiring managers need us to know?  


Here’s what I did.  First, I copied and pasted the auto-generated table for this question’s responses from Google Forms onto an excel spreadsheet. Then I recalculated the percentages to show the percentage of total respondents that picked each topic (how many out of 308).  I also used Excel to generate a graph showing the spread of responses.

Second, I copied and pasted the column containing  the text of all of these responses to this question into excel, used text to columns to separate topic choices into cells, cleaned it up a bit, and counted the number of topics each respondent picked.  I used excel to find different kinds of averages, as well as to count the the number of occurrences for each quantity of topics picked.  This second step took quite a while.

Thirdly, I looked at the write-in answers.  There weren’t a lot (62 topics, by 45 respondents).  Maybe because they had so many options already! I coded and counted the occurrence of similar answers.

Lastly, I sat down to write this.


Respondents had a choice of 25 topics, plus the option to write in their own. Here is the range of choices, with the number of times each was picked, and the percentage of total respondents who picked it:

Reference 237 77%
Collection Management 223 72%
Project Management 199 65%
Library Management 191 62%
Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations) 183 59%
Research Methods 182 59%
Web Design/Usability 175 57%
Cataloging 174 56%
Instruction 168 55%
Field Work/Internships 165 54%
Marketing 157 51%
Outreach 152 49%
Budgeting/Accounting 149 48%
Digital Collections 134 44%
Information Behavior 130 42%
Readers’ Advisory 117 38%
Grant Writing 115 37%
Programming (Events) 108 35%
Metadata 96 31%
Services to Special Populations 82 27%
History of Books/Libraries 76 25%
Other 45 15%
Programming (Coding) 38 12%
Archives 29 9%
Vocabulary Design 27 9%
Portfolio/ePortfolio 15 5%

Here is the same information, only as a graph (click it to see one big enough to read):

coursework choices

The average (Mean) number of options each respondent picked?


The dead center number of options each respondent picked (Median)?


The most frequent number of options each respondent picked (Mode)?


But what was the full range of picks?  What are the different quantities of topics picked, and how many people chose each of the different quantities?

I’m glad you asked, please look at this table:

No. of topics picked How many picked that number of topics?
0 2
1 1
2 5
3 6
4 14
5 14
6 26
7 32
8 24
9 24
10 26
11 26
12 19
13 20
14 20
15 9
16 15
17 3
18 3
19 9
20 2
21 3
22 0
23 2

Here’s that in graph form:

number of topics

And what did people write in?

Applying common sense in situations (1 person), content management (1), Copyright (1), customer service (4), data curation (1), facilities – particularly unplugging toilets (3), flexibility and willingness to change (1), Government Documents (2), indexing (1), intellectual freedom (1), IT/Technology (5), knowledge Management (2), Library Law and legal issues (1), networking/self promotion (3), people skills–like working with people (1), presentations/public speaking (4), Professional Ethics (1), psychology (1), Scholarly communication topics (1), searching techniques (1), social media (3), SQL (1), statistics/data analysis (2), strategic planning/community assessments (3), supervision/HR (6), teamwork and team building (1), Writing (2), youth services or related skills – e.g. storytime, child development (5)

A Note on Diversity

Did you read Black OR Queer? Life at the Intersection over at Hack Library School? If you haven’t, go read it.  It’s good.  I’ll wait for you here.

In it, Ettarh asks:

For instance, why does Rutgers require all of its MLIS students to take a class like Cataloguing, but not Planning Outreach Services? If that is not possible, why is there no mandatory webinar or colloquium on diversity and intersectionality? If MLIS programs reflect the knowledge deemed important to become an information professional, does this therefore mean that Rutgers does not place an importance of learning to deal with diverse populations?

It’s a question worth considering.

In this survey population, 49% of respondents indicated that they thought students should complete coursework in Outreach and only 27% chose services to special populations.  We didn’t ask about coursework in diversity or intersectionality. It was probably partly because we looked at course catalogs for inspiration, and we didn’t see those classes listed.  It was probably also partly because intersectionality isn’t really a word that’s deep in my psyche, and it wouldn’t have occurred to me to ask about it (although, living in the Bay Area means diversity is a very familiar concept and concern).  It’s maybe also because personally I’m increasingly focused on practicalities of librarianship, rather than the theory.

But if it’s important to us to be a diverse and inclusive profession (and I think it is – what good is it to espouse intellectual freedom, to protect and present materials from all points of view, if we are not providing access by and for people of all kinds?), then shouldn’t this be reflected in our coursework?

In Conclusion

Ok that’s all folks!  

I’ve got to go apply common sense and people skills to unplug my toilet!

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Filed under MLIS Students, Stats and Graphs, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Further Questions: Do You Use Interns/Volunteers?

This week’s question came via TUMBLR.  I’m not very good at Tumblr, but I do it anyways! You can follow Hiring Librarians on it here, and you can also follow me/my other blog here.

Does your library use interns or volunteers?  What tasks do they do?  How are volunteers and interns chosen?  What qualities are you looking for in potential volunteers/interns?

As a commercial enterprise, of course we do not have volunteers.

We have had interns from time to time who wish to gain experience in cataloguing.  

We expect a knowledge of current rules, MARC21, and data entry skills.

- J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging 

Laurie PhillipsWe haven’t very often, but that’s not to say we wouldn’t. We don’t really use volunteers (with one notable exception) but we do get students doing placements for library school. We have a lot of students coming to observe at our Learning Commons desk. When we have students inquire about internships or placements, we usually get very vague information that someone wants to do a placement or internship. It’s more helpful if the person tells us their interests and skills, then we can determine if we have work for them. We would be interested in someone who is willing to take on a project or learn new skills, pitch in right away with what needs to be done.

- Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans 

Our library accepts practicum students and since we have a library school on campus, we also hire quite a few graduate assistants.

The time of the practicum student is fairly limited so they are usually project based. Since I work in public services, I once used a practicum student to try out some online reference service hours that we weren’t sure if we wanted to start assigning paid staff too. I also gave the student some collection development projects to do in between assisting online patrons. If the practicum student were in technical services they might have an inventory project or a short cataloging project. Practicum students are interviewed and selected just like any other paid staff. Library experience is great, but not required. I would be looking for someone with customer service experience given my area but also someone with a clear idea of what they hope to accomplish during their practicum and what their plans are post-practicum for their career.

Our Graduate Library Assistants are paid and are on a 9 month contract. Ours mostly work the reference desk, give library tours, help with library instruction, collection development, and research projects. Other Graduate Library Assistants in the library may be working on metadata, responsible for copy cataloging or assisting with interlibrary loan. Again, library experience is a plus, but not required. Candidates must have customer service experience and be able to articulate why they are pursuing their MLS and why they want the position they are applying for.

- Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Eagle Commons Library, University of North Texas Libraries

Marleah AugustineWe have a couple of long-term volunteers in the Adult Department. They have both been volunteering here for several years. One comes in weekly on Monday afternoons and re-shelves nonprint media to help out the front desk staff. Another comes in daily in the mornings and does the running inventory process throughout the library.

In the YA and Children’s Departments, volunteers come through on more of a rotating basis and do tutoring and homework help or Foster Grandparent-type activities with young patrons.

We have an active Friends of the Library group that runs periodic book sales and has a permanent used book store located within the library. When people express interest in volunteering, we direct them to Friends, who can often put them to work doing cashier work in the book store or helping organize donated items for sales.
- Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library
At our academic library we don’t generally use volunteers.  We might run into union problems if we used volunteers to do tasks that union members normally do; I know that has happened at some libraries.  We do have interns and practicum students.  They are usually students at library schools.  The practicum students work through an organized program at their library school and earn credit.  Interns usually work through more informal (and unpaid) arrangements.  The library itself doesn’t have an organized program for these students; each department can arrange them to suit their needs.  I currently have one practicum student in my department, who is the first we have ever had.  I try to assign tasks that give the student a picture of what the department does as a whole, as well as incorporating tours and meetings with various people.  While I don’t expect someone who is only here for 10 hours a week for a semester to jump into librarian-level work, I don’t just give him the tasks our student employees do.  There are stated goals and objectives for his practicum experience that I helped to write, and we focus on these.In a previous job, we had two undergraduate student employees who were interested in library work.  We were able to create special paid internships for them one summer, where they did higher-level work in various library departments.  We also took them on several field trips and tours.  Both went on to become librarians.

In these students, I am looking for enthusiasm, curiousity, and interest/classwork in whatever specialized area they will be working in (reference, cataloging, digital projects, etc.)  Of course, I also want some qualities I would like in any employee: organizational skills, capability with technology, and showing up for work.


Thank you as always to the above for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email me at

And thank you for reading!  Ten thousand people stand to sing on the miry comment.


Filed under Academic, Further Questions, MLIS Students, Other Organization or Library Type, Public

Stats and Graphs: Biases Against Online Library School


For the newest survey, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?, the responses which have received the most comments are the ones which express some sort of bias against online schools or classes.  I’m a graduate of an online-only school myself (SJSU).  I had thought the prejudice against online degrees was not prevalent, and was surprised to see it crop up in the surveys.  But how frequently?


Here’s what I did.  On the Excel spreadsheet of responses, I used the Find All tool to find all responses which contained: “online” “on-line” “on line” “brick and mortar” “face to face” “face-to-face” “f2f” and “distance” (if I missed any key terms, let me know and I’ll search again).


Out of 291 responses, only 52 contained those terms (17.86%).

Of the 52, 11 responses (3.78% of 291 total) were using “online” or “distance” in another context, such as describing a commonly lacking skill like “understanding the importance and significance of cataloging and our online catalogs,” expecting students to have skills in “online tutorials,” describing skills needed by librarians working with distance learners, mentioning something often repeated in online discussion, or advising students to “be very, very careful with your online reputation through social media.”

Of the 52, 3 responses expressed a positive opinion about online classes (1.03% of 291 total responses).  One named SJSU online as a school whose alumni were preferred, and the other two suggested that students should expand their experiences by taking online classes in another discipline (e.g. coding) or at another university.

Out of the 52, 1 response was neutral, saying,

In this order specifically….hands down I prefer graduates from the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign.  NEVER been disappointed in any of their graduates and they excel!  After that, U of North Carolina – Chapel Hill; U of Wisconsin-Madison; Indiana.  I don’t care whether they got their degree online or on-campus.

So out of 291 total responses, only 36 expressed a negative opinion about online schools.  That’s only 12.37%.

Analysis of Negative Responses

I characterized the negative comments about online education in three categories.

“Concerned” Respondents

12 responses expressed concern – concern for students of online courses or concern for the state of library education.  These respondents said things like:

I feel bad for students who have to do everything online now. It’s difficult to really learn effectively without being around other students and having personal interactions with instructors and peers.


Library schools have been moving to the online model of instruction but in the case of our local school, it seems to coincide with the watering down of the curriculum a LOT. If libraries need motivated, tech savvy leaders, our local school is not turning them out.

and finally:

It’s a hard job market and has been for the near 30 years I’ve been a librarian.  Sadly the MLIS degree has been oversold, particularly by online programs but ALA has been a willing partner in the deception. Not a one of the librarians I work with is contemplating early retirement and just one is planning to retire at 65.  Most are going to be working to at least 70 and some plan to work until they die.  Despite what ALA says, libraries are filled with librarians who cannot afford to retire and make way for new librarians.

The reasons for a “concerned” response included the perception of online schools as degree mills – particularly in light of the tight job market (3), the perception that online education was of poor quality (1), the perceived lack of professional contact (5), the perception that online school did not develop of people or customer skills (1), the perceived lack of real world experience (1), and no reason given (1).

“Hesitant” Respondents

I characterized 18 responses as “hesitant” (4 respondents talked about online education in more than one question, so I’m actually looking at 39 individual responses, from 34 respondents). The “hesitant” responses expressed a reluctance to hire candidates from online schools, but did not dismiss them entirely and often suggested techniques for mitigating the “negatives” of online education.  These responses included:

I wouldn’t be reluctant, exactly, but I’d want to be sure the applicant had significant real-world library work experience, as the degree itself does not prepare graduates, IMO.


None that I can think of … except if the program was entirely online, I would be a bit hesitant.  I’m old school enough to think that there is real benefit in at least some face to face time with the instructor.  There is a real benefit in a live classroom experience in terms of learning to work in teams (because librarians are constantly working together in internal working groups and so on and you have to learn to play nice).  I am not saying that the classes all have to be held in person, but I do think that at least some classroom attendance is a good thing.


Prefer someone who attended graduate school in person over and online degree, but would still hire an online-degreed person if they had the right mix of personality and experience.

and finally

There are many more MLS holders than there are jobs, so we can be picky. Personality is important. People generally learn the theory of libraries while pursuing an MLS, but personal organization, people skills, and enthusiasm are not things that everybody possesses, but are key when working in a service-oriented library. We want people with experience, but lack of experience is not a dealbreaker. However, if someone received an MLS through an online program, and has no experience, we are not going to grant an interview. As librarians we are concerned about the dumbing down of the education system, which we are a part of, and many of us here feel that an online degree is not the same as immersing one’s self with other MLS candidates.

The reasons given for hesitancy could be categorized (with some responses falling into more than one category) as perceived lack of real world experience (4), no reason given (6), perceived lack of people/customer service skills (4), perceived lack of professional contact (3), perceived lack of quality of education (3), and past experience with poor candidates/programs (1).

“Negative” Respondents

I characterized the final 12 responses as simply “negative.”  These responses do not try to advise the candidate on how to mitigate their online library education, and they did not express the possibility that online learners *could* be good candidates.  They simply expressed a negative opinion about online education.  These responses included:

I won’t state specific schools in this forum, but there are those that typically graduate very underachieving graduates with marginal identifiable skill sets.  I will say, and it pains me to say this, but exclusively online programs don’t graduate the same caliber students as those who have at least some on-site matriculation.  There’s no substitute for creating relationships in the classroom that you’ll carry with you your entire career.


Alumni from completely online programs.  To me, it’s important that a student at least attend a class or two in-person, even if it’s just an introductory and a final meeting.  I don’t trust completely online programs.

and finally

Something that is totally on-line and no face to face is required.  “Most” librarians work with people.  It is odd to get a degree for that kind of job online…I believe that many folks are graduating that should not….university thoughts are we promise folks an education not a job…however, that is messy on the other end when they try and get a job.  We are not doing them any favors!

The reasons given in this “negative” catch-all category include perceived lack of people/customer service skills (2), perceived lack of professional contact (1), past experience with past experience with poor candidates/programs (2), no reason given (5), perceived lack of quality of education (1), and the perception of online schools as degree mills (1).

Addressing Concerns about Your Online Degree

If you’re worried about a negative response to your online degree, these responses suggest that you might be able to do a few things to address employer concerns.

Demonstrate your people skills and customer service expertise

Respondents are concerned that the online degree doesn’t allow students to develop good people skills.  While you and I know that people can and do develop strong connections online, you might want to supplement your online work with face to face interactions.  If you’ve got customer service experience, you might highlight it in your application.  You might talk about the number of disgruntled customers you’ve soothed, or about all times you’ve volunteered to work closely with children, or seniors, or teams of other librarians.  Be friendly and outgoing.  It might not be a good idea to sarcastically point out that you’ve got friends – close friends – from all over the world on Twitter, but if there’s a way you can show that you’re ever so charming online and that virtual people skills are increasingly important, go for it.

Build a Good Professional Network

Professional contacts will help you be a better librarian, enjoy your career, stay relevant, and get a job.  Employers who know you, or who know people who know you, will be more likely to advance you in the hiring process. Don’t just take the time to build friendships with your virtual classmates, attend professional opportunities in person.  The SF Bay Area, for example, has several LIS social groups, including both The Information Amateurs Social Club and The Information Professionals Social Club (both groups welcome amateurs and professionals).  And of course, keep in contact with professors, librarians you volunteer for, librarians you run into at the grocery store, fellow conference attendees, and anyone you ever meet in your entire life.

Get Library Experience

Some respondents were worried that you got your online degree in a virtual bubble, and are totally practically inept.  Get some library experience to show them that you can work synchronously just as well as asynchronously, and that you can deal with being around physical items such as books and chairs.  Seriously, get library experience.  Volunteer and/or intern, while you’re looking for paid work.

Be a Scholar

Prove that online education can be high quality by showing off your big brain. Do research and get published.  Review books or articles.  Engage in intelligent discussion with other librarians, online or in person.  Show off your theoretical understanding and rhetorical prowess.

Contribute to the Field

Demonstrate that you’re not a puppy from a degree mill by making your own positive, individual contributions to the field.  Take part in committees or run for association office.  Think about a unique project that might benefit other librarians – a database of a certain book genre for example, or an open source program or app, or … I don’t know!  Be you!  Be you and help other librarians!

In Conclusion

We could all get very mad that biases against online degrees still exist.  But, I think it’s a great opportunity to understand factors that might weigh against you, and what you might do to mitigate them.  I think it might be likely that the general population reflects the population in this non-scientific survey – and in this survey only 12.37% expressed a negative opinion about online schools, and most of those opinions were hesitant or cautious, rather than dismissive.  So don’t sweat it too much.

Further Readings

There’s a recent Reddit Discussion about online versus campus-based library school.

You can search the ALA Database of Accredited Schools by online/in-person options.  The list that resulted when I asked for schools that offer 100% online degrees was as follows:

1. Clarion University of Pennsylvania
2. Drexel University
3. Florida State University
4. Indiana University
5. Kent State University
6. Louisiana State University
7. North Carolina Central University
8. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
9. San Jose State University
10. Southern Connecticut State University (Conditional)
11. Texas Woman’s University
12. The University of Southern Mississippi
13. University at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York (Conditional)
14. University of Alabama
15. University of Kentucky
16. University of Maryland
17. University of Puerto Rico
18. University of South Carolina
19. University of Tennessee
20. University of Washington
21. University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
22. Valdosta State University (Conditional)
23. Wayne State University

Hack Library School has several posts about online school, including: Online Classes: A Non Love StoryThe Perils/Possibilities of attending Library School Online, and In defense of online LIS education

Michael Stephens talks about it in Online LIS Education – or Not

Brief discussion of Online Classes in an interview with one of LJ’s teaching award winners: LIS Education Q&A with Martin Wolske

Finally, here are all 42 Negative Responses to Online School, with my coding/analysis.

**Edited 8:50 AM 9/28/2013 to add Further Readings

***Edited 8AM 10/2/2013 to add in responses using the term “distance”


Filed under MLIS Students, Stats and Graphs, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Residency Run-Down: National Library of Medicine Associate Fellowship Program

Applications are now open for this residency:

REPOST FROM June 6, 2013

Here is another post for you new and soon-to-be new grads.  Kathel Dunn was gracious enough to speak with me about the Associate Fellowship program at the National Library of Medicine.  If you’re interested in being a health sciences librarian, please pay close attention!

Can you give us a brief introduction to the NLM Associate Fellowship Program?

NLM FellowsSure! The Associate Fellowship Program is a one-year residency program at the National Library of Medicine on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. The fellowship offers recent library science graduates the opportunity to learn about NLM’s products, services, and databases; its research and development areas; and its outreach to the public, particularly underserved populations; and to health professionals.

Why does the NLM continue to fund this program?  What makes it important to your organization?

NLM continues to fund the program – it’s over 40 years old – because of a strong commitment to training health sciences librarians. It’s part of our Long Range Plan.

What are the main job duties of  the Associate Fellows – do they differ from those of “regular” librarians?

The Associate Fellows’ main “job” is to learn. So their responsibilities are first to participate in a curriculum, taught by staff, which covers all of the work that NLM does. It’s extensive – lasting approximately 5 months. At the end of that time, the Associate Fellows then move into the project phase of the year where they work on projects proposed by staff. In addition, they go to conferences, visit other health sciences libraries, and present on their project to all NLM staff at the end of the year.

Are Associate Fellows paid?  Do they get any other special benefits?

Yes, Associate Fellows are paid $51,630 for the year. In addition, they receive:

  • An additional amount provided to assist in paying for health insurance
  • Up to $1,500 to aid with moving expenses
  • Full funding to attend local and national conferences

What would you tell a potential applicants in order to convince them to apply for the program?

Nlm_building_lg (resized)I usually don’t try to convince someone to apply.  If someone has to be   convinced, it’s probably not a good match. What I want to convey, though, is how exciting it is to be at the National Library of Medicine, where many of the products and services used not just by health sciences libraries and libraries but by researchers and the public across the United States and the world are created, maintained and reinvented. For a librarian in any stage of his or her career, NLM is an amazing place to be.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Applicants must have graduated from an ALA-accredited program within the past two years. That’s the basic eligibility requirement. What we also like to see is an interest in health sciences librarianship and in leadership.

What does the selection process entail? How does it differ from the regular job application process?

nlm frontWe ask for a structured resume**, three written references, transcripts, and responses to two questions: What do you hope to gain by participating in the NLM Associate Fellowship Program and If selected, what will you bring to the NLM Associate Fellowship Program?

The regular job application process for NLM is through the USAJobs web site and does not usually require responses to narrative statements.

**Emily’s note: The structured resume in this context is a resume which is formatted and contains information as specified on page 6 of the current application.

Any tips for students?  Is there anything they could do to improve their chances of winning a spot in your program?

The biggest tip is to pay attention to the application instructions. We ask for a complete job history on their resume, to include library and non-library jobs. We respect the work and skills someone may have learned from another industry, including customer service, management, project planning, or marketing, as examples.

We also look for signs of leadership or interest in leadership in the resume, reference letters, or responses to the questions.

When will the next Associate Fellows be picked?

The next Associate Fellows’ application deadline will be in early February 2014. We then review applications and in late March ask between 10 and 12 applicants to visit us for an interview in mid to late April. We make our decision on who we’ve selected by late April or early May.

Anything else you want to tell us about the program, or about job hunting in general?

Kathel DunnYes. I’m happy to take calls or emails from students interested in the program or anyone who would like to work at NLM. Really. It’s my job and it’s a pleasure to hear from someone who’d like to know more about the National Library of Medicine.

Photos of NLM Fellows and Kathel Dunn by Troy Pfister, National Library of Medicine.

Thank you to Ms. Dunn for taking the time to answer my questions!

If you run a LIS residency program and you’d like to discuss it here, please contact me.  I’d love to talk to you.

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Residency Run-down: Santa Barbara City College Library Residency

I know a lot of you readers are new librarians or current students. And we all know it’s a tough market for emerging information professionals. That’s why I’m really happy to be able to share this interview with Kenley Neufeld of Santa Barbara City College. In this interview, Mr. Neufeld describes, the origins of the program. as well as why Santa Barbara City College Library is a great place to learn about academic librarianship and the top two things he looks for in applicants.

Can you give us a brief introduction to the Santa Barbara City College Library Residency Program?


Why was this program started? or Why does Santa Barbara City College Library continue to fund this program? What makes it important to your organization?

The program was started to meet a need to serve more students. Between 2005-2010 the number of students using the library more than doubled and yet we weren’t able to make any staff changes to meet this increased demand. We are an extremely busy library with very limited staff. We also wanted to keep our approach to serving students fresh and innovative. By bringing in new librarians on a rotating basis we can assure freshness.

I approached a community member to fund this position because the institution wasn’t able to add more librarians to our staff. As a leader in the library profession, as an award-winning library and award-winning college, it is the right thing for us to continue being innovative in how we provide services.

What are the main job duties of residents – do they differ from those of “regular” librarians?

The duties of the resident are no different than our “regular” librarians. We try to expose the resident to as many aspects of library service as possible, assign them areas in which they have interest or strengths, and push the resident to take on leadership responsibilities.

Are residents paid? Do they get any other special benefits?

Yes, the residents are paid as part-time faculty. No other specific benefits.

What would you tell a potential applicants in order to convince them to apply for the program?

We are one of the top community colleges and library in the country. We are exciting, innovative, and passionate about what we do. The view is spectacular.

What are the eligibility requirements?


What does the selection process entail? How does it differ from the regular job application process?

The selection process is less formal than our regular job application process. Applicants must complete one of the online college applications and then are screened by the library director and other librarians for interview selection. The interview is performed by the library director and a selection is made.

Any tips for students? Is there anything they could do to improve their chances of winning a spot in your program?

At this point we’re on a 2-year cycle and so the next vacancy will be in Summer 2014. Reviewing the criteria should provide the best indication on how to improve their chances.

When will the next residents be picked?

Summer 2014

Anything else you want to tell us about the program, or about job hunting in general?

Communication and customer service skills are two of my top criteria when interviewing people. I want to see someone who is creative, smart, and has some vision on where to go.

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Residency Run-Down: Kress Fellowship in Art Librarianship

I know a lot of you readers are new librarians or current students. And we all know it’s a tough market for emerging information professionals. That’s why I’m really happy to be able to share this interview with Allen Townsend of Yale University. In this interview, Mr. Townsend describes the basics of the Kress Fellowship, as well as why Haas Family Arts Library is a great place to learn about art librarianship in all its facets and how this fellowship can help a new librarian begin a successful career.

Can you give us a brief introduction to the Kress Fellowship in Art Librarianship?

During their eight-month tenure based in the Arts Library, the Kress Fellows have the opportunity to learn the profession of art librarianship and in doing so, to complete projects of their interests ranging from innovations in Library support for teaching art history, architectural archive management, digitization and delivery of art image resources, and the history of illustration and the book arts. The Fellows may draw upon the resources of the Yale University Library and the University’s two great art museums: the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art. The combination of these resources provides for a multi-faceted professional development program of unparalleled depth and breadth.

Why was this program started? or Why does The Samuel H. Kress Foundation continue to fund this program? What makes it important to your organization?

The idea for the Fellowship was conceived by the former Director of the Arts Library at Yale, Max Marmor. The Kress Fellowship in Art Librarianship was initially funded, and continues to be funded by the Foundation because of its ongoing interests in advancing and sustaining the highest standards of scholarly activity in the field of art history. The Fellowship has been, and continues to be important to Yale because it supports the University’s mission, that of creating knowledge through research.

What are the main job duties of residents – do they differ from those of “regular” librarians?

The Fellowship is shared among various units of the Haas Family Arts Library, and rotates through the Arts Library’s departments e.g public services, special collections, and visual resources. The job duties vary based on the Fellow’s departmental assignment. The job duties are always professional level and mirror those of librarians.

Are residents paid? Do they get any other special benefits?

Fellows are paid through Kress grant funds. Yale pays health benefits and provides a stipend for professional travel.

What would you tell a potential applicants in order to convince them to apply for the program?

The Kress Fellowship in Art Librarianship at Yale was the first of its kind in the United States and has been the gold standard among professional development programs for art librarians since its inception in 1997. It is the most prestigious fellowship of its kind in the field of art and allied librarianship and is widely respected within the library profession at large. The ten individuals who have held the Fellowship to date have gone on to diverse and important careers in academic art and museum librarianship, visual arts resources administration, special collections and archive curatorship, and art information consultancy.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program for library and information science. Excellent analytical, organizational, customer service, and interpersonal skills. Ability to effectively build partnerships and promote the benefits of change in an academic culture that often values ambiguity, diversity of opinion, and historic precedent. Ability to communicate effectively through both oral and written expression. Ability to work both independently and collegially in a demanding and rapidly changing environment.

1. Advanced degree and/or relevant experience in history of art, architecture, or related arts disciplines.
2. Reading knowledge of two or more Western European languages.
3. Experience with web design and development and electronic information resources.
4. Experience with HTML and XML.

What does the selection process entail? How does it differ from the regular job application process?

The selection process is not unlike the selection process for a librarian position, and does not differ greatly from a job application process.

Any tips for students? Is there anything they could do to improve their chances of winning a spot in your program?

In addition to the required academic credentials, actual work experience in any type of library is helpful.

When will the next residents be picked?

The next call for Fellowship applications and nominations will be posted in spring of 2014.

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Job Hunter’s Web Guide: LAI CDG

Irish sites two weeks in a row?  Tá Éire uamhnach!  This post provides a look at what an Irish professional group does to support its members’ careers, and I’m so pleased to be able to share it with you. Keeping reading to learn more about The Library Association of Ireland’s Career Development Group.


What is it?  Please give us your elevator speech!

The Career Development Section of the Library Association of Ireland represents both existing library and information professionals and new graduates looking for job opportunities. The function of the CDG is to develop a proactive approach to employment in libraries through the discussion of issues such as career development, CV and interview tips, alternative funding models for job creation, non-traditional work opportunities. This will be done through formal events, informal events such as Library Camp Ireland 2013, talks and joint training with other LAI committees/groups.

 When was it started?  Why was it started?

The LAICDG was initially developed by our previous chair, Giada Gelli. After many, many months of meetings with interested parties we began, in 2012, to develop a definite vision of the aims of our group. The primary reason for the development of the CDG was due to there not being a similar group in existence in Ireland. Given the current economic climate, we believe that it is necessary and essential to have a group like ours to help those who currently find themselves without employment in the information professional field.

Who runs it?

The LAICDG is run by a committee. The members are as follows:

Catherine Ryan (chair)

Ciara Boylan (treasurer)

Daniel Murray (secretary)

Sarah Connolly

Celia West

Bryan Whelan

 Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

The members of the LAICDG have many diverse experiences. Some of us have worked as JobBridge interns, others have been unemployed and some are working in paid positions as information professionals. One thing we all have in common, however, is that we have a Master’s in Library and Information Studies.

 Who is your target audience?

We represent new and existing library and information professionals in Ireland and we aim to help those who are currently seeking employment opportunities as well as those currently studying for a library degree or MLIS.

 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 main mode of communication is Twitter where we will announce any training or events. We also tweet items of interest relating to job search, the different aspects of librarianship and career development in general. For library job listings in Ireland we recommend

The best way to use our site is to consult it as needed. Our blog contains details of our own events as well as others that our members have attended. We also have a page on the blog with links to career and job search resources. We encourage anyone with an interest in career development in libraries to make a submission to the CDG blog.

Does your site provide:

√ Links √ Research  √ The opportunity for interaction

√  Other: Our main interaction is through events and we run unconferences, talks, workshops on resumes, cover letters, and interviewing. These events all include a networking aspect. Libary job listings in Ireland are available at

Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats? 

√ Twitter: @LAICDGroup

√ Facebook:

√  Other: CDG Blog; Library Camp Ireland 2013 site

Do you charge for anything on your site?


Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

Not yet! Our main impact comes through events so hopefully we’ll have some stories for you soon!

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 just recently organised a very successful and well-received unconference in the Chocolate Factory recently and we are hoping to organise more career development events in the forthcoming months.

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Residency Run-Down: University of West Georgia Information Literacy Librarian Fellowship

This interview is with Anne Barnhart, Head of Instructional Services at University of West Georgia.  Ms. Barnhart describes the basics of the information literacy residency, as well as why UWG is a great place to learn about library instruction and why cover letters are so important for job seekers.  I know you will enjoy learning about this excellent opportunity for new grads.

UWG Collaborative Instructional Services space

UWG Collaborative Instructional Services space

Can you give us a brief introduction to the Information Literacy Librarian Fellowship Program?

We now are in our 2nd year of having an Information Literacy Librarian Fellowship Program that provides a two-year learning experience for a recent LIS graduate. Since I am the Head of Instructional Services, the fellowship focus is primarily on teaching. Few LIS programs have instruction courses and even fewer provide practical experience for LIS grad students. This fellowship is designed to fill in that gap. We learned a lot in our inaugural year and are modifying some of what we expect from the fellows for the 2nd year. We hope to make the experience even better!

Why was this program started? or Why does the University of West Georgia Libraries continue to fund this program? What makes it important to your organization?

Last year (2012-13) on July 30 the Provost gave us money for two 9-month positions so we could increase the number of sections we teach of our library’s credit-bearing course. I decided to advertise it as a “fellowship” instead of as a temporary position because I wanted to provide a safe place for new graduates to get the experience so many “entry-level” job ads prefer. Over the course of last year I made sure the Provost saw benefits to the whole campus so we could get ongoing funding. For example, the presence of the two fellows allowed me to adjust my own workload and start a long-needed faculty & staff development series called Good Librations. The Provost often attended these events and I was not shy about letting him know that we could not continue them without the fellows. In response he established a permanent funding line for one fellow and the new funding is for a 12-month position. I’d like to eventually have two fellowships, but I’ll take one!

UWG Libraries does not directly fund the fellowship. The money is from the Provost’s office as a “limited-term instructor” (not tenure-track). The Libraries chooses to dedicate this money to the fellowship because we see our role in instruction as not limited to our students, faculty and staff. This fellowship gives us the chance to help teach our professional colleagues and create new leaders within the field of information literacy instruction who can then leave UWG and teach new colleagues in future positions.

What are the main job duties of residents – do they differ from those of “regular” librarians?

The residents teach sections of our credit-bearing library instruction course (see here for information about the success rates of the course). They also work in the reference rotation (face-to-face and chat) and teach other library workshops. In the inaugural year we did not encourage any collection development or committee work. While we still will not make the fellows subject liaisons (due to the potential disruption to the academic departments if they were to have temporary liaisons), we will encourage future fellows to shadow a liaison in an area of their interest in order to develop those skills. And while only tenure-track faculty can serve on faculty senate committees, committee meetings are open to anyone so we will encourage fellows to pick a committee and attend its meetings to learn more about faculty governance.

Are residents paid? Do they get any other special benefits?

Residents are paid the same as other limited-term instructors. We learned what the salary is for limited-term 9-month positions across campus and then made the appropriate adjustments to make an equivalent 12-month salary. They have some support for professional development, mostly focusing on opportunities that are in-state. Thankfully there is a fabulous instruction conference (the Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy) in Savannah so the fellow(s) can just rideshare with other librarians attending. We hope to secure a grant to pay for fellows to attend ACRL’s Information Literacy Immersion program however at this point we do not have the funding for that.

What would you tell a potential applicants in order to convince them to apply for the program?

Our instruction program is a leader in the state of Georgia and beyond. Nearly every one of our instruction librarians has attended at least one ACRL Institute for Information Literacy Immersion track. Therefore Information Literacy fellows are surrounded by well-trained instruction librarians who are passionate about teaching. We have a collaborative environment and we all care about student learning and mutually-supportive professional development. We like to experiment with new pedagogies and we are not afraid of making mistakes. We reflectively introduce new concepts and methodologies and measure their effectiveness. Unlike institutions that are hesitant to change, the phrase “We have never done that before” usually precedes, “so let’s try it and see what happens!”

What are the eligibility requirements?

Candidates must be graduates from an ALA-accredited LIS program within the past 2 years and have an interest in teaching.

What does the selection process entail? How does it differ from the regular job application process?

The selection process included having applicants write an essay about their teaching philosophy. This was to help us determine interest as well as to check their written communication skills. For permanent (tenure-track) positions we conduct phone interviews and on-campus interviews. For the fellowship we only conduct Skype interviews and do not have a budget to bring applicants to campus. Unfortunately we also do not have any funds for relocation expenses for non tenure-track positions.

Any tips for students? Is there anything they could do to improve their chances of winning a spot in your program?

Students should take an instruction class if one is offered in their library school. I know not all schools have one and that is a large part of why we have this residency program. Students who are familiar with course management systems and learning technologies will probably have a better chance than those who don’t. My main advice is that applicants should read carefully what our program is about and tailor their application materials (especially the cover letter) to what we do that is different. Not very many libraries teach a credit-bearing course. Of those that do, very few teach as many sections as we do (about 30 two-credit sections per academic year). Our program is extremely instruction-intensive. Some of the cover letters we received were totally generic and it was obvious that the applicants had not really thought about the position. Those went in the “no” pile immediately. In order to increase their chances of winning a spot, applicants need to communicate clearly WHY they want to be HERE.

When will the next residents be picked?

Right now the plan is to pick the next resident in the spring of 2014 for a July 1, 2014 start date. I say “right now the plan is” because if the Provost surprises us with funding for an additional position this summer, we will adjust our plans accordingly. We won’t say no to new money!

Anything else you want to tell us about the program, or about job hunting in general?

Candidates should not underestimate the importance of a good cover letter. Entry-level positions (and our residency program) do not have that many required qualifications. Tailored cover letters are where applicants can stand out. We typically get 60-80 applicants for each position we advertise and it is easy to discard any generic-sounding cover letters. If an applicant cannot demonstrate that he or she has looked at our website or thought about why they want to be at UWG, we are not very likely to consider that applicant.

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Filed under Academic, MLIS Students, Residency Run-Down, Southern US