many applicants do not answer these truthfully, in order to get their cvs to the committee

Man selling dill at vegetable market in Stockholm 1951This 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:

subject liaisons, special collections librarians and archivists

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in an urban area Southern 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”?

Having any experience at all in the areas we need.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

The HR application software asks questions that are supposed to weed out people who do not have our minimum requirements, though many applicants do not answer these truthfully, in order to get their cvs to the committee. We use search committees as well as a matrix based on our required and preferred qualifications.

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

Not having one of the required qualifications.

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?

Demonstrate interest in this particular library.

I want to hire someone who is

curious

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 100-200

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

√ 5-6

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

√ 5-6

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, we do, but only 6 months for most positions and we accept internship or student jobs

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

The field has changed.

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

— It is very obvious when you send one cv or cover letter to many jobs, even if you change the name of the university.
— Do some research into the library you are applying to, and demonstrate your knowledge in your cover letter.
— If something is listed on the job announcement as required, we are unable to hire someone without that requirement without closing the search, getting approval from HR, and starting a new search.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

Traditional librarianship is not so much dying as out of fashion

Market before PassoverThis 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:

Subject liaisons, data managers, information literacy specialists, user experience specialists

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in a rural area in the Midwestern 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”?

Met basic requirements, had required experience, knowledge & skills

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Applicants not meeting educational requirements are weeded out by HR. We can give HR other rubrics but have not. Then the search committee compiles a very basic “yes” and “no” list. After that it gets more difficult. The search committee comes up with 3 to 5 applicants to contact by telephone; then we like to bring in 2 or 3 candidates for on-site interviews. However, in some cases our administration will allow only 1 on-site interview.

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

Not enough of the right kind of experience – or less of that experience than others who are invited to interview

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?

Tailor resume and cover letter for each position applied to rather than sending the same thing to all employers. Become familiar with the requirements and be sure the employer knows you can meet the requirements. Give concrete examples to demonstrate experience, knowledge & skills during interview.

I want to hire someone who is

intelligent

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 100-200

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

√ 5-6

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?

√ I don’t know

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?

Yes, we usually require 2-3 years of experience, which is listed in the official job ad. We are generally so short-staffed that we can’t really provide training, so experience is important.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

Why or why not?

Traditional librarianship is not so much dying as out of fashion, it seems to me. We feel the need to use different terminology and “prove” we’re relevant because we worry so much about being a dying profession. It seems to me that we worry too much, which causes us to abandon traditional library functions even when they are still useful. Then we hire multiple people to redesign websites every year with new bells and whistles but little improvement in accessibility to information. New search capabilities can’t find data or metadata that has not been created in the first place or has been poorly created.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015

Librarianship is changing into a community connections field, where we connect people with other people or services that can benefit them

OUTDOOR MARKET AT HAYMARKET SQUARE. PUBLIC PROTEST KEPT THE SQUARE FROM BECOMING PART OF AN EXPRESSWAY, 051973This anonymous interview is with a public 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:

Catalogers, Adult Services Librarians, Youth Librarians, Managers

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in a rural area in the Pacific Northwest US.

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

√ more than 100, but less than 200

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Experience!! I see far too many LIS degree-holders applying for professional, supervisory roles who have no idea how to even shelve a book. I also see too many lazy mistakes, such as leaving the name of the previous library system on the cover letter, rather than my system’s name – this earns an automatic trip to the trash can without further review.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

In my system, we can ask that HR weed through the initial glut of applications if we feel we will be overwhelmed, but they certainly don’t automatically weed them. The rubrics for weeding are the base qualifications listed in the job posting: years experience, possession of a degree, etc. A hiring committee is formed for each position, usually consisting of the Library Manager, the supervisor for the position, an Admin employee, and sometimes a Library Manager from a neighboring library.

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

Another applicant has a particular skill set that we are looking for, more experience, or we simply feel they articulated who they are in their cover letter/resume better than the eliminated applicant. We are not only looking for hard skills (MS Office, Overdrive experience, etc) but also soft skills (customer service, experience defusing difficult patron interactions, etc) AND if they will be a good fit for our organization (personality).

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?

Ask others in the profession to critique their cover letter/resume and participate in a formal mentorship program.

I want to hire someone who is

passionate

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

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?

√ I don’t know

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?

We do not require experience, but it is just what happens in practice.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarianship is changing into a community connections field, where we connect people with other people or services that can benefit them (whether connecting a bunch of knitters together for a craft group or helping the homeless find food, shelter, and jobs). However, if we aren’t smart about how we maneuver into this change, we can quickly be deemed irrelevant or useless.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Public, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015

Further Questions: Broadly, what does “or equivalent” really mean in a job announcement?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

Broadly, what does “or equivalent” really mean in a job announcement?  And more specifically, could a paraprofessional position ever stand in for librarian experience, if it included some librarian duties such as staffing the reference desk?  Can you describe any instances where someone with “equivalent” experience was hired at your organization?

Laurie Phillips

Yes, we absolutely consider paraprofessional experience, as long as it is relevant experience. We have also considered experience working for a vendor. We generally hire at entry level so if we ask for experience with something, it’s at any level. We just want someone to have familiarity with the type of work and perhaps with the setting.
– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

We do count paraprofessional experience providing reference service, tours, instruction, etc. In public services, we frequently hire candidates with paraprofessional backgrounds for entry level professional positions since they usually have a lot of front line customer service experience which is extremely valuable when providing in depth subject specific reference and instruction.

– Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Library Learning Services, University of North Texas Libraries

J. McRee ElrodWe usually mean a library credential from outside North America.

 

 

 
We do consider a library tech graduate who has demostrated ability to perform original cataloguing.

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

Marge Loch WoutersAt our shop, equivalent means you may have a BA/BS or MS/MA in something with substantial experience working with the public in a non-profit or tax supported institution, creating partnerships or doing something that would add to our team strengths. In our library, we have hired former teachers and historians. Colleagues at other libraries have shared that they have hired paralegals and social workers as well. A paraprofessional can most definitely be hired into an open MLIS position – the key is showing that they have strong advocacy skills and ability to take on and handle increased responsibility and independent work projects.

– Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library

angelynn kingWhen an academic job ad says “ALA-accredited MLS or equivalent,” this is generally meant to include foreign degrees (which by definition would not be ALA-accredited.) In some places, a degree from an entity that used to be a library school but now calls itself something else — a School of Information, for instance — would also be acceptable.

As far as experience, I have seen paraprofessional experience counted as library experience but not as librarian experience. It would depend on how the job requirements were worded.

– Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus

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

libraries are not quiet :)

Market scene in ParamariboThis anonymous interview is with an public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

library associates and shelvers

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Southern 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”?

able to perform duties required

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

I evaluate all applications by reading them all and sorting those with potential to be called in for interview and actual test.

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

poor resume writing

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?

make resume pop

I want to hire someone who is

passionate

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

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

√ Other: none

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

√ Other: none

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?

none required

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

will always need librarians just have to be flexible to change to the requirements

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

libraries are not quiet :)

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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

trivia skills or the ability to track down info in print resources aren’t really the focus anymore

Paramaribo market scene. Woman seated with baskets of produce. 1922.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:

Subject librarians
Discovery and Digital Initiatives librarians
Library IT staff
Catalogers
Reference librarians

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Midwestern US.

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

√ 75-100

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ more than 75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Had the minimum and preferred qualifications for the job description

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Applicants who don’t meet certain basic requirements (have an MLIS, etc.) are weeded out by HR. Then the search committee (elected by the library faculty) reads the materials for and rates each candidate based directly on their ability to meet the requirements or preferred qualities described in the job ad. The top candidates, after all scores for each candidate have been combined, are invited to conduct a phone interview.

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

Not enough relevant experience or obvious mistakes in the application materials

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?

Take advantage of all opportunities to gain experience available to you and use specific examples from this experience to demonstrate how you stand out as a candidate.

I want to hire someone who is

eager

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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

√ 3-4

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

√ 2

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

√ I don’t know

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?

√ I don’t know

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

Experience is listed as preferred, but often makes candidates stand out and those with experience have a much higher chance of being considered.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

I don’t know why anyone would ask that, but if someone did, I would say it’s not a dying profession because there is so much expertise that librarians can offer that, while not always appreciated, is essential to the functions of academics and society. The expertise of librarians is certainly changing–trivia skills or the ability to track down info in print resources aren’t really the focus anymore–but what we offer continues to be valuable.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

As long as there are libraries, there will be librarians.

Shulman's Market at the southeast corner of N Street and Union Street S.W., Washington, D.C., with a 1931 Chevrolet car parked in frontThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a rural area in the Southern 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?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Desired skills and/or sufficient experience to come in ready to do the job.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Discussed by the hiring committee (typically ~5 persons). No rubrics.

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

Lack of library degree and/or no relevant experience.

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?

Address the job description and desired skills in your application materials.

I want to hire someone who is

qualified

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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

√ 2

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

√ Other: 0

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

√ I don’t know

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

√ I don’t know

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?

Not in my experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

As long as there are libraries, there will be librarians. And libraries are not a dying institution. Possibly diminishing, and the degree to which that’s true can be debated, but not dying.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Rural area, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015