Further Questions: How much does your institution consider ALA accreditation status in the hiring process?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

How much does your institution consider ALA accreditation status in the hiring process? If a school was accredited when a candidate graduated, is that good enough to fulfill any accreditation requirements? What if the school loses accreditation or is granted conditional status? How does that reflect on graduates? Does that affect a job seeker’s chances of being hired?

When EPPL advertises for librarian positions, it specifies an ‘ALA accredited school’ as part of the requirements. I’ve never run across anyone who has gotten an MLS from a school that has since lost accreditation, but assuming they made it to the interview process without their application being rejected by City HR then I would say that it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for me. When I interview, I look for experience, so if the person has had a solid job history since getting their degree, that would matter more.

- Margaret M. Neill, Main Library Manager, El Paso Public Library

ALA accreditation is VERY important in our hiring process.  So much so that we make it a specific requirement.

If a school was ALA-accredited when the candidate graduated (but subsequently lost it), that would fulfill the requirement.  However, if loss of accreditation or conditional status was during the time of the librarian’s attendance, I would hope the candidate would address any real or perceived deficit of the program in their letter and explain how their training, experience or other factors could compensate.

- Anonymous

My school was in conditional status when I was hired, so I’ll say it’s not a problem here. I would expect it to be trickier with academic libraries.

- Kristen Northrup, Head, Technical Services, North Dakota State Library

Celia RabinowitzWe always require a degree from an accredited program but I would argue strongly that anyone with a completed degree from a program that was accredited at the time the degree was granted fills that requirement.  If a candidate was strong and the program she/he is currently in (and presumable close to finishing given the job application) I might want to investigate the reasons for the accreditation problem which might not have anything to do with curriculum or not enough to make a difference.  The potential impact is far greater on students who are at the beginning of their studies.

- Celia Rabinowitz,  Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH

Laurie Phillips

Our candidates must have an MLS from an ALA-accredited school, but it is enough if the school was accredited when a candidate graduated. We certainly wouldn’t hold it against a candidate even if the library school had closed since the candidate graduated. It does not reflect on the graduate or affect his or her chances.

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

Jessica OlinI’ve only hired paraprofessionals since I started, but I can tell you that my proposal to unfreeze a tech services position and change it to instruction includes the intention to accept either an MLIS/MLS or an equivalent level of education with education as the focus. However, the advertisement for my position stipulated “a master’s from an ALA accredited institution.”
- Jessica Olin, Director of Parker Library, Wesley College

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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If attention to detail is a criterion, which it is for the Library, we eliminate resumes with poor spelling and/or grammar.

Man selling artichokes at vegetable market in Stockholm 1951

This 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:

Generalists – those who are adept at doing anything and everything.

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Midwestern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met all the qualifications posted, and willing to work PT for the salary offered, with the skills we needed.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom? For example, are a certain number or type of applications weeded out by HR before they even get to you? Are there rubrics? Committees?

No – we have to weed. We have a very manual process.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

They do not meet the posted qualifications. For us, that can mean this: If attention to detail is a criterion, which it is for the Library, we eliminate resumes with poor spelling and/or grammar.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Other: We have been advised by legal to NOT do this

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Beyond taking care of business to GET the interview – do some homework and make sure it shows that you did, DRESS like you want a good job, and prepare questions about us.

I want to hire someone who is 

smart

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: zero

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: zero

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are fewer positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

It is listed as preferred, but we have the option to hire new graduates.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Other: certainly it is changing like journalism…

Why or why not?

Perceived value of the degree (MLS) at my institution of Higher Education is very bad, partly due to some very poor librarians who held on to their jobs for a very long time. It will take those of us who are left years to recover, if we ever do. I fear for my students most of all.

Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?

People need to understand that we in large institutions have
A – no control over what HR has us do with regard to posting, accepting, interviewing, etc. We feel your pain but this is the way it is and will continue as far as I can see – quit complaining.
B- We are constrained by HR and our legal advisers about what we may say and do with regard to candidates who are not selected to interview or be hired. Please don’t ask.
C- POLITENESS – send thank you notes, even electronic. It goes a long way.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey

Or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

Quality people want to apply to jobs they can do well at

Brian Hunter, 1984, Asst Librarian, Slavonic Collections, London School of EconomicsThis 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 libraries and Public libraries, at the following levels: Entry level. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I had a three month internship at a public library and a three month internship at an academic library.

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

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

A job that I am qualified for

A decent salary (it doesn’t have to be amazing, just not insulting)

An area of the country that I like

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA joblist
INALJ.com
Regional and State Library Assoc List-servs

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?

Review the job description and think of ways that my skills/education/history meet every one of the required qualifications and most of the preferred qualifications. If I can’t do that, I don’t apply for the job. Then I update my resume highlight ways that my past experience meets the job requirements. Finally, I write a cover letter explaining the highlights of my qualifications. I don’t mention the typical filler requirements (excellent written and verbal communication skills) that are on every job description ever written.

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?

√ 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

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

Write good job descriptions! So many people put every possible qualification that they can think of. Quality people want to apply to jobs they can do well at, so won’t apply for jobs that they aren’t qualified for.

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

Communicate! Frequently and promptly.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Showing your potential employer how you will make their organization better.

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, Public, Northeastern US, City/town, Job hunter's survey

For Public Review: Job Hunter Brough

Welcome to crowd-sourced resume review for LIS job hunters!

Please help the job hunter below by using the comment button to offer constructive criticism on her resume. Some guidelines for constructive feedback are here, and the ALA NMRT has brief tips for reviewing resumes here.

This 2 page resume was submitted by a job hunter who says,

I am currently working as a high school librarian in a small boarding school in California but will be looking to move on at the end of the year. Ideally, I would love to work in a public library but I know that I’ll be applying to lots of high school school library jobs as that is what I have the most experience doing and it is something I enjoy doing. I’m drawn to private schools, but I’ve also worked in public education and like it, so both are options for me.

broughresume-0 broughresume-1

To submit your resume or CV For Public Review,

  • send it as a Word document, PDF, PNG or JPEG to hiringlibrariansresumereviewATgmail.
  • It will be posted as-is, so please remove any information that you are not comfortable having publically available (I suggest removing your address and phone number at a minimum).
  • Please include a short statement identifying if it’s a resume or CV and
  • describing the types of positions you’re using it for (ie institution type, position level, general focus).
  • Finally, you will also need to confirm that you agree to comment on at least five other posted resumes.

7 Comments

Filed under CV review, For Public Review, Resume Review

For Public Review: Job Hunter JZ

Welcome to crowd-sourced resume review for LIS job hunters!

Please help the job hunter below by using the comment button to offer constructive criticism on her resume. Some guidelines for constructive feedback are here, and the ALA NMRT has brief tips for reviewing resumes here.

This 2 page resume was submitted by a job hunter who says,

This is a CV intended for an Electronic Resources Librarian position at a smallish (2,000 students) liberal arts college.

JZ-2 JZ-3

To submit your resume or CV For Public Review,

  • send it as a Word document, PDF, PNG or JPEG to hiringlibrariansresumereviewATgmail.
  • It will be posted as-is, so please remove any information that you are not comfortable having publically available (I suggest removing your address and phone number at a minimum).
  • Please include a short statement identifying if it’s a resume or CV and
  • describing the types of positions you’re using it for (ie institution type, position level, general focus).
  • Finally, you will also need to confirm that you agree to comment on at least five other posted resumes.

3 Comments

Filed under CV review, For Public Review, Resume Review

Get lots of exposure to the things that you love doing

Australian Institute of Librarians' inaugural meeting at Canberra, August 20, 1937. Photographer A. Collingridge, CanberraThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Subject Liaisons, Web Designers, Instruction Coordinators, Department Supervisors, Data Specialist

This librarian works at a library with 50-100  staff members in a city/town 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)

4

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

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Archives
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Instruction
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Data Management, Grant Writing,

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 Management, Library Management

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

√ Internship or practicum
√ Conference presentation
√ Professional organization involvement

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

UT Austin
UCLA

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

Drexler University
San Jose State

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

Get lots of exposure to the things that you love doing. Take classes based on your interests and intern at any and every institution type you may want to work at in the future.

Also student organizations are highly recommended as are conferences to meet other librarians.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses to this survey, or specific analysis of the responses discussing online school, the amount of coursework students should take, and preferences/reluctances for candidates from certain schools.

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

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

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, City/town, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Retirements are happening fast and frequent

Fruit and vegetable vendors, Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington

This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Academic librarians, mainly public service

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in a suburban area in the Northeastern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

All the required qualifications

How are applications evaluated, and by whom? For example, are a certain number or type of applications weeded out by HR before they even get to you? Are there rubrics? Committees?

No applications are weeded by HR, the search committee decides everything. First we all review them and identify applications to remove based on not meeting minimum criteria. Next we score all remaining candidates based on a each qualification separately.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Not meeting basic experience or educational criteria.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Be clear about all job duties (teaching, collections work, and public service) for each job listed. For tenure track positions, list all publications and service in date order.

I want to hire someone who is 

Self-motivated

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 7 or more

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 7 or more

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are more positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

Yes, there is no requirement, but our university provides financial incentives to the library budget to do so.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Library use is growing and librarians can do more than ever with digital information.

Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?

Retirements are happening fast and frequent

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey

Or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

Leave a comment

Filed under 200+ staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, Suburban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School