You cannot be a successful librarian if you are introverted and are afraid to move outside of your comfort zone.

School Children in Keene New Hampshire2This anonymous interview is with a special librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

law librarians

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?

√ Yes

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

3

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

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Marketing
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

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

Some lack refined speaking and presentation skills; Lack of an outgoing personality – you cannot be a successful librarian if you are introverted and are afraid to move outside of your comfort zone.

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

√ No preference–as long as they have the skill, I don’t care how they got it

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

The Culture
The People
Practice or Subject areas unique to the organization.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Conference presentation
√ Other presentation
√ Other publication
√ Professional organization involvement

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

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

Online-only schools. Attending live class (with some online courses, of course) shows effort and a willingness to move outside one’s comfort zone.

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

Spend at least a year in a quality internship or practicum program. The experience is invaluable.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom 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

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

Minimize written requirements unless they are key to the position.

Hunting with dogsThis 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 academic, archives, library vendors/service providers, public, school, and corporate libraries, at the following levels: supervisory, department head, senior librarian, branch manager, director/dean.

This job hunter is in a city/town in the Midwestern US and is willing to move anywhere.

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

Salary, Responsibility, Challenge

Where do you look for open positions?

MAME MI, ALA Joblist, listservs, and Linkedin

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?

All of my materials are gathered so I spend 30-60 minutes tailoring things to the specific job.

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
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone

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?

Be honest and clear about compensation and responsibilities.

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

Minimize written requirements unless they are key to the position.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Having a vision that exceeds expectations of the employer.

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

Further Questions: How has library school changed in the past decade?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

From your perspective, how has library school changed in the past decade (or since you graduated, whichever you prefer to consider)? What areas of knowledge or experience do you see lacking in recent graduates applying for positions in your organization? Is there a difference between applicants from traditional and online programs? As a new crop of librarians-to-be start classes this fall, your advice can help them plan and prepare for the future.

Marleah AugustineI don’t typically hire for full librarian positions, but in my experience hiring part-time support staff, who are essentially clerks and pages and do circulation and basic reference duties, I have seen some differences in who applies for these openings. I’ve noticed that more applicants are emphasizing their skills in technology, as well as customer service skills. In the past, it seemed as though folks felt it was enough to state that they “enjoy reading books” in order to be hired at the library, but what I really need are people who aren’t afraid to talk to patrons no matter what, won’t back down from a challenge, and can motivate themselves to complete tasks.
- Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

J. McRee ElrodLack of practical cataloguing skills taught in the class room and practiced during field work.

 

 

 

 - J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging
 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 us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.

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Filed under Further Questions

My resume typically stays the same for every application

digres hunting lodgeThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not 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 six months to a year. This person is looking in academic libraries, library vendor/service providers, special libraries, at the following levels: entry level; requiring at least two years of experience.

This job hunter is in a city/town in the Midwestern US and is not willing to move.

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

Is the position worthy of my degree or can anyone do it?
Salary
Hours

Where do you look for open positions?

listservs
joblists
web sites of well known companies in my area

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 read the description a few times and note the keywords. I have a template for a cover letter that I’ll change based on the job description. My resume typically stays the same for every application. I change my references based on the job description.

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
√ 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
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

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

Being open to different opportunities, locations, etc.

Man and Hunting Dog: Tallahasee FloridaThis 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 six months to a year. This person is looking in academic, archives, library vendors/service providers, public, and special libraries, at the entry level.

This job hunter is in a suburban area in the Midwestern US and is possibly willing to move,

depending on the location.

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

Opportunity to work with a strong, collaborative team
An environment that puts a premium on offering the best services to the patron
Integration of new technologies that help enhance services

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ
LinkedIn
Specific university/college and library HR websites
GCHERC
Listservs
Twitter feeds
LISJobs
ALA Joblist
State specific resources (RAILS, ILA, etc.)

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 save jobs ads I believe I am qualified for (I keep them all organized using Evernote), then I’ll comb through each posting individually and take notes where my experience directly resembles the qualifications, as well as the transferable skills. I’ll also take a look at the library/company website, as well as the library website (and their social media presence) to see what kind of services are offered and how resources are organized to give me a better idea of the library environment I am applying to. Then I tailor my resume and cover letter to the posting, triple check everything, and send it off. All told, it generally takes a couple hours to put everything together – sometimes more depending.

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)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

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

Posting on a variety of job sites can be helpful (you’ll definitely be visible to a larger candidate pool) but also make sure the postings are clear. If there are certain specifications that are non-negotiable, or others that are not necessary but preferred – say so. It’s sometimes hard to gauge how your experience will match what the employer is looking for, so clear expectations make it easier to determine whether or not it’s worth your time and theirs to send in your application.

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

More follow up. I know that there are generally quite a few responses to postings, so it can be difficult, but it certainly helps the applicant to know what is going on. After applying, it’s stressful to sit around wondering if your application is being considered, or if it’s already been put aside in favor of more qualified candidates. A quick email saying “thanks but we are looking at other candidates” (while not the best news) at least lets you know where you stand so you can pursue other positions.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Tailoring your resume/cover letter, networking, and being open to different opportunities, locations, etc.

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, Suburban area

If you aren’t willing to re-locate, this is not the field for you.

Alstead School House and Students, Alstead, New HampshireThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Any who might work in my library.

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 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)

3

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

√ Cataloging
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ 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 skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Collection development is very difficult to learn in a course and not many students have experience with it at a library job.

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 in a library! Through a job or internship — it doesn’t matter. Use that to more deeply examine your coursework. If you are working in a library, then a part-time or distance program is okay. If you are new to libraries and librarianship, it is crucial to have some kind of experience in a library during school.

Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?

If you aren’t willing to re-locate, this is not the field for 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 50-100 staff members, Academic, Urban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Do not whine on listservs about your internships.

School Children in Keene New HampshireThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Academic Librarians and Archivists

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town in the Midwestern 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)

3

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

√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Archives
√ Research Methods
√ Information Behavior
√ 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?

I’m amazed at the number of candidates who dislike or are not knowledgeable about basic technology needs in libraries and archives.

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)?

To some extent, soft skills may be learned on the job, but it helps if the student at least recognizes they matter before starting a job. Every institution is different and a flexible, well educated new employee will pick up on institutional culture and adjust.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Student organization involvement
√ Professional organization involvement

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

Michigan; Illinois; UNC Chapel Hill.
however, I do not think it truly matters. I have hired people from all sorts of institutions. I may think the above are the best but I do not think it influences it my decision. I may be more likely to look closely at a candidate from one of those schools.

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

I wonder about online degrees from any institutions.

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

Find excellent library related jobs or internships. Pay your dues. Do not whine on listservs about your internships. Take group projects in school seriously. Take advantage of every opportunity to explore and learn about the career from visiting speakers, your professors, and your fellow students.

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 10-50 staff members, Academic, City/town, Midwestern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School