Get a balanced education

Sydney Primary Schools (N.S.W Rep. Team), 1922 who beat Q'ld [Queensland] Reps. 2 Matches to 1This 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 “all” types of LIS professionals.

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

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
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

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

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

Organizational procedures and specific software packages.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Conference presentation
√ Scholarly publication
√ Other: Depends upon type of library

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

University of Pittsburgh, Michigan, Drexel

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

Clarion university

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

Get a balanced education so you have a base knowledge in a variety of subjects to supplement your focus area.

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 10-50 staff members, Northeastern US, Public, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Things in common with the hiring supervisor

digres hunting lodgeThis 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 more than 18 months. This person is looking in academic, archives, and public libraries, at the following levels: entry level. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I interned at the Brooklyn Public Library in the youth wing from Sept, 2012 to Dec 2012. I am also working as a part-time librarian at a public library in the Hamptons in the children’s department.

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?

Children’s or YA departments in a public library
Job security
Set hours

Where do you look for open positions?

I’m on the Queens College Listserv, The LIU Listserv, INALJ, ALA Joblist and Metro Job Postings

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 have a cover letter and resume saved, I change the name of the library and position and try to include skills they are asking for in my cover letter. Depending if there is an application or not – it can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour to apply.

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 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

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

In this job market I’m not sure if it matters. I think they shoud interview many people, because meeting in person is very different from seeing someones qualifications on paper.

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

Make the interviewee feel comfortable from the get go and be honest with them – what are they looking for, the hours, the responsibilities…

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

A good personality, willing to go above and beyond, dress for success, things in common with the hiring supervisor.

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, Suburban area

Further Questions: How many people have been hired by your organization in the last fiscal year?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

How many people have been hired by your organization in the last fiscal year? What is the breakdown of roles (i.e. librarians, paraprofessionals, student/hourly, etc.)? Subjectively, is this figure standard or does it fluctuate year to year?

scott wiebensohnGreat question for this week!

As a growing company (Jones eGlobal Library) http://www.egloballibrary.com/ , we have tripled our librarian staff from 2 to 6 over the last calendar year. Everyone is full-time and salaried employee. The specific roles are blended and it seems that there is a primary and secondary librarian for every task. We also have lots of cross-training opportunities to even out the workload and fill in gaps if a specific team member is out sick or on vacation. It is difficult to say if the number fluctuates from year to year, and yet with our current workload and collaborative projects, five is a healthy number.

- Scott Wiebensohn, Manager of Library Services, Jones eGlobal

Samantha Thompson-FranklinThis past fiscal year we hired one librarian for a newly created position of Instruction/First Year Experience Librarian, and we hired two library assistants/paraprofessional staff. We have a small library staff (director, 5 librarians, 5 full-time support staff) and not a lot of turnover so it was unusual for us to hire 2 staff positions this past year. We normally hire approx.. 12-15 student workers throughout the course of the year, depending upon the students’ schedules from semester to semester.  Our student hiring numbers is typical for us.

- Samantha Thompson-Franklin, Associate Professor/Collections & Acquisitions Librarian, Lewis-Clark State College Library

Lake Forest (public) Library with 29.2 FTE’s hired 2 paraprofessionals for the new positions of Tech Instructors and hired 2 others to replace 2 who had retired and moved away; we also hired 2 part time professionals to replace 2 who moved on to full time positions at other libraries. This was not a standard year with a number of people retiring and 2 new positions; it does fluctuate.

- Kaye Grabbe, Lake Forest Library

Laurie PhillipsWe had staff cuts this past year, due to lower than expected enrollment. We were not able to replace staff who left and we chose not to fill a faculty librarian position that had been open. We’ve had some staff turnover since then and have been able to fill those positions. We did hire a part-time librarian to fill in for two librarians out on parental leave in the spring. We generally only hire when someone leaves. When faculty are tenure-track or tenured, turnover is less common. In the coming year, we have an interim dean of libraries, so we have an extraordinary faculty position to replace her. We will also have an opening for an entry-level tenure-track position coming up soon. Stay tuned if you’re a job hunter!

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

J. McRee ElrodWe have 20 cataloguers, two of whom have training other than the MLS, e.g, IT for one. Turnover is slight, only about two replaced per year.
 
 
 
- J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

Jacob BergWe hired two part-time staff, both of whom are in MLIS programs. We plan on hiring two more this fiscal year, and our hiring fluctuates based on our budget and current needs.
 
 
 
- Jacob Berg, Director of Library Services,  Trinity Washington University

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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Hiring committees are Complex Beasts

Hunting guide Mr. Brown with wild turkeys near Green Swamp, Florida

 

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 more than 18 months.

This person is looking in academic libraries, at the supervisory level.

This job hunter is in a city/town in Canada and is not willing to move.

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

fit to my skills/interests
appropriate salary
reputable university with excellent morale in library

Where do you look for open positions?

LinkedIn, professional listserv, Partnership joblist (Canadian), ALA joblist, Facebook friends’ posting.

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

√ Other: I think it should be posted, but at the very least there should be a link to the university’s salary tables…plus the listing needs to clearly state the salary level of the position

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

I spend about 2-4 hours preparing. A new cover letter has to be written, as it needs to respond to the job posting. Additionally, my resume or CV is tweaked to best reflect my skills/experience relevant to that position. I also do a fair bit of research on the university, library, and librarians (if possible). I’m interested in finding out how truly innovative, or progressive the library is, and whether people are satisfied in the workplace.

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
√ Other: I’d also like employers to offer a follow-up conversation if I haven’t been the one selected for the position (to discuss the interview strengths and weaknesses)

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Other: Phone for personal communications, email for details.

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?

Provide better constructed job postings (I know that HR often controls this, which is problematic), include salary in the listing and more details about the culture.

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

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I don’t think there is one. Hiring committees are complex beasts with an ever changing collection of personalities, expectations, and desires.

I’ve not been successful in the last number of interviews I’ve had (over a 5 year period), and only one employer offered a detailed summary of my interview. This conversation was invaluable to me, and I’m much better prepared for any interviews in my future.

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

I’ve been employed with my current employer for 6 years, so not all job seekers are new to the field. I’m only applying for the right job (location, title, salary, etc), so the urgency or haste isn’t a factor in my job search.

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, City/town, Job hunter's survey

I think the secret to getting hired is finding the “human in” in the hiring process.

PhC42.Bx17.Hunting.F13This 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 libraries, library vendors/service providers, public libraries, and software companies, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I volunteered at a public library for about 6 months. I worked as a library assistant for about 3 months at a public library (temp position). I did a semester long internship during Library school at a University Library.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Western US.

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

  1. Location
  2. Interesting work (Not just something that provides me with a paycheck. I want something that I find interesting and enjoy doing.)
  3. Salary

Where do you look for open positions?

  1. INALJ
  2. ALA Joblist
  3. LinkedIn
  4. Indeed
  5. Google searches (In many cases I don’t even look for open positions. I just find a library or company that is interesting, then reach out to see if there is something I can do there.)

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?

If I find a job ad:

  1. I read the job ad.
  2. Research the company.
  3. Look for reviews from current employees.
  4. If I find good information/nothing alarming, then I write a cover letter and modify my resume. This usually takes me 1-2 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 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
√ Other: Being able to ask questions

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

I think they should avoid using application forms, and instead state specific application requirements or instructions such as submission of a cover letter and resume. Those that follow the instructions move on to the next round, those that don’t can be skipped over.

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

They should explicitly list the characteristics they want and don’t want so that potential applicants can determine whether or not they’re a fit and should even apply.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I think the secret to getting hired is finding the “human in” in the hiring process. By this I mean finding a way around an online form application. I have never had luck hearing back from a company when I submit an application through an online form. However, if I have the chance to write a cover letter and tailor my resume to the position, I usually find that I get contacted.

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

I currently work at a software company as a Researcher. Prior to this position I worked at another software company as a report writer/database specialist and taught myself how to program in a few languages. Though I didn’t work in a traditional librarian role, I do believe that my work experiences are directly related to the library field. I hope to transition to a more traditional library role in the future, so it will be interesting to see how my background is received.

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

How to use the computer software.

School group, Culp, ArkansasThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian.

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

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Archives
√ Research Methods
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Instruction

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)?

How to use the computer software.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

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, City/town, Public, Southern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Have alternative positions to offer

PhC42.Bx17.Hunting.F12-2This 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 more than 18 months. This person is looking in academic, public, school, and special libraries, and library vendors/service providers at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I have and still am volunteering for a medical library in an urban setting.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Midwestern US and is willing to move anywhere.

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

Good Location, Good wages, Good, diverse environment

Where do you look for open positions?

MICHLIB listserv, LinkedIn, The Library Network

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 have no specific routine. I prepare the application based off my resume and other information the application needs. I spend about 30 minutes on it.

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

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 with HR to talk about benefits/salary
√ Being able to present

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

Specifically say what kind of skills they expect from prospective employees and have alternative positions to offer.

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

Stop asking unnecessary background questions

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being enthusiastic during an interview, and presenting yourself as the best candidate for 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!

Leave a comment

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