Take advantage of free online resources and learn to code

School at Pie Town, New Mexico is held at the Farm Bureau BuildingThis 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:

Cataloguers, reference work, marketing

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in a city/town in the UK.

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

√ No

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

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
√ Programming (Events)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Yes, particularly ‘non-traditional’ ones. I would like to see MLIS holders with some knowledge of communications, marketing, fundraising (e.g. grant writing), web design/usability (even if just basic), and teaching skills.

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)?

I expect that the practical skills will often come on the job – cataloguing and classification (though theoretical knowledge is helpful), collection management, building budgets, reference work.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Conference presentation
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

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

Sheffield, UCL

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

Go beyond the classroom! Take advantage of free online resources and learn to code, get marketing or social media experience, give presentations, etc .

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 200+ staff members, City/town, UK, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Further Questions: Traveling for interviews: who pays?

This week we asked people who hire librarians:

Traveling for interviews: who pays? Does your library pay for the interview expenses of a candidate such as airfare, hotel, meals, or mileage? Are candidates reimbursed or do you pay up front? Has anything changed in this realm due to the economy, such as a focus on local candidates, paying for travel but not meals, etc.?

Laurie PhillipsWe pay all of our candidates’ travel expenses. We book them in a hotel that the university has a relationship with, so they don’t see a bill at all. We will also book their plane ticket for them on the library’s credit card, if they would like us to do that, but will also reimburse if that works better. We are well aware that some candidates who are in graduate school may not have credit card space for their travel expenses – especially when they’re booking for a trip that’s somewhat last minute (booked only a week or two in advance). We reimburse for extra meals, mileage and airport parking. No, we have not changed anything due to the economy. We are faculty so we do national searches and will sometimes have local candidates, but that’s not a priority. We are permitted to interview 4 candidates on campus rather than 3 if one or more are local (costing less to the university), but we rarely do that because of the extra time commitment. We want to narrow to our three best possibilities.

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

Petra MauerhoffAt our organization, we reimburse travel expenses for the successful candidate. We conduct the first round of interviews via Skype and then invite a very limited number of shortlisted candidates for a 2nd in-person interview. Travel expenses in our case include everything, from mileage to meals to accommodation.
We have been fortunate that candidates have no come from too far away.
- Petra Mauerhoff, CEO, Shortgrass Library System

Marleah AugustineIn recent years, we have not had the opportunity to pay for travel for candidates, nor do we have a policy in place. We have had candidates travel through on their own and visit the library when they submitted their application, and we have had candidates Skype or do phone interviews with us. We try to make those interviews as much like in-person interviews as we can.

- Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Celia RabinowitzWe have always paid all travel, lodging, food, and incidental expenses for candidates regardless of their location. We pay for airline tickets up front and make hotel reservations so the candidate does not have to pay out of pocket. We can make rental car reservations but not pay for them so we reimburse for that, mileage, parking, etc.

The economy has not had an impact on faculty searches which are always advertised nationally. We have been lucky to be able to continue to search broadly and support candidates’ visits so that we can focus on hiring the best people.

- Celia Rabinowitz, Director of the Library, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

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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I don’t feel confident that my resume is at a professional level, but not sure specifically how to fix it.

ConDev5378A Hunting Dog, 1945, Washington County, NCThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), and has been looking for a new position for a year a year to 18 months. This person is looking in academic, archives, library vendors/service providers, public, and special libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience, and supervisory. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

Archive intern/volunteer for an archive processing, digitizing, creating metadata

This job hunter is in a suburban area in the Northeastern US and is willing to move anywhere.

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

Regular work schedule
Professional development
Networking

Where do you look for open positions?

State Library jobsites, Simmons jobline, specific employers websites, SchoolSpring on occasion, ALA job posting

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?

1-2 hours. I don’t feel confident that my resume is at a professional level, but not sure specifically how to fix it. I spend a good amount of time on my cover letter and researching the locations mission statement, programming, etc

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 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?

Be honest about why you are looking for. Also be honest with yourself about the attractiveness if the position. If you are not upfront and have 50 applicants with a ton of experience but an entry level salary, maybe you should bring in a few less experienced applicants. The enthusiasm might make up for their lack of practical experience

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Knowing someone, having a great resume. I’ve never been turned down for a job I interviewed for, but have a hard time getting that interview in the first place

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, Northeastern US, Suburban area

Candidates are expected to maintain a high level of etiquette and professionalism during the hiring process, but it is rare that employers show even a minimum level of the sam

Hunting Party at Norderhamn beach near the Cave of Stora Förvar, Stora Karlsö, Gotland, SwedenThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field) and has been looking for a new position for less than six months. This person is looking in archives, library vendors/service providers, public and special libraries, at the following levels: supervisory or senior librarian.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Northeastern US and is not willing to move.

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

Interesting work, collegial atmosphere, opportunity for growth

Where do you look for open positions?

Metro.org, SLA-NY, Simplyhired.com, Indeed,com, Archivists.org, nyfa.org, NJLA, NYLA

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

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

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

Candidates are expected to maintain a high level of etiquette and professionalism during the hiring process, but it is rare that employers show even a minimum level of the same. Form emails acknowledging receipt of an application and notifying that the position has been filled should be the minimum. I think most candidates would be grateful for even that.

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

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

Leave a comment

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

As this ties up two thirds of budgets in most research libraries, its kinda vital.

School Children In AlgeriaThis 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:

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

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?

√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ 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?

lack of experience with online resource management – subscriptions, knowledgebases, and a general understanding of the whole online resource space and online resource management. As this ties up two thirds of budgets in most research libraries, its kinda vital.

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)?

Local system use, teamwork, soft skills, finance, some specific skills around technical work (metadata, cataloguing)

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Student organization involvement
√ Other: Online publishing

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

Sheffield in the UK is the only one to watch

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

UCL still creates 20th century librarians. Bright ones, but 20th century ones in terms of skillset and approach.

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

Get some great experience beforehand, afterwards and on the side.

Don’t stress out on coursework and exams, most employers are not looking for that distinction. Do enough for a solid pass, thats all.

Have a great time and network with other students, they are your future colleagues and contacts!

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

Rethink the whole thing along with the MCILIP. The profession needs a serious upheaval and that starts with professional development.

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

Leave a comment

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

It isn’t “job hopping.”

Constable examining licenses - hunting (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for six months to a year. This person is looking in academic libraries at the following levels: requiring at least two years of experience.

This job hunter is in an urban area in Canada and is willing to move anywhere.

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

Relevance to my experience and goals
Location
Length of contract

Where do you look for open positions?

CLA and ALA list-srvs, LinkedIn, HigherEd jobs

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

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

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

I write a cover letter and tailor my CV. It takes a few hours.

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

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage

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
√ Being able to present

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

Be upfront about salary and benefits, as well as specific job duties, in the job posting.

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

Understand that those of us who started in librarianship post-2008 have usually had to move from contract position to contract position, and that there simply aren’t many permanent, tenure track positions available. It isn’t “job hopping,” it’s taking whatever job is available that will allow us to continue to pay our student loans in a library-related position.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Starting in librarianship before 2008, when more permanent, tenure track positions were available.

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada, Job hunter's survey, Urban area

Shake up the job description so it’s not scripted and boring

Hunting guide Mr. Brown with wild turkeys near Green Swamp, 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 a year to 18 months. This person is looking in academic and public libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Western US and is willing to move with some limitations

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

Room to grown and learn and try new things, positive working environment with supportive management who are also advocates, competitive pay and opportunities for advancement.

Where do you look for open positions?

Indeed.com, INALJ, Ala joblist, CLA listserv

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?

Depends on how many supplemental questions there are, but then I either revise or rewrite my cover letter to match the job description and type of position.

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

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

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

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

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

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

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

Shake up the job description so it’s not scripted and boring, show some personality, have good interview panels with panelists who are engaged and interested, offer a competitive salary with room for advancement, offer support for professional development activities like conferences, support a positive culture of collaboration and transparency and make that apparent.

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

Make the application process more user-friendly (less repetitive, clear instructions, accessible website), consistent communication and clear timeline, creating a job description that is descriptive and encompasses actual job duties.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Luck, right time/right place, personality/connection, experience.

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

What are the secrets to finding a library job when trying to change library types? For example, how does one move from public to academic?

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

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

Leave a comment

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