Tag Archives: librarians

Further Questions: What are the different hiring stages at your organization and how long does each typically take?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

What are the different hiring stages at your organization and how long does each typically take? What are the factors that can lengthen the process? Is there ever a point in time when a candidate should attempt to check the status of an application? Keeping these factors and your area of librarianship in mind, how long do think job seekers should expect to be searching for a position?

Laurie Phillips

Our process is generally the following: The position will be open and advertised for a month. We then take about a week to review applications. We have a meeting at the end of that week where we decide who to interview by phone or Skype. Those interviews take place over about a week or week and a half depending on how many candidates. We generally like to speak to as many candidates as possible in that round. After that, we meet (almost immediately) to decide on a smaller group of candidates for whom we call references. This time, we left about 2 weeks to do that. We ask the references very specific questions so they can take time to set up and finish. We then are meeting with our whole library faculty at the end of the week to decide who will come to campus. Committee members have posted phone interview notes and reference notes in Blackboard so the library faculty can participate in the decision. Generally, nobody can come the first week after we invite. It takes time to set up travel and to prepare a presentation. The on-campus interviews take place over a 2-3 week period, based on availability of the committee and the Dean. After that, we meet to make a final recommendation and that must go to the Dean and the Provost’s office before an offer is made. All in all, from the first advertisement through offer, it takes about 2 ½ months. Factors that can lengthen the process are availability of committee members to meet, but we built some of that in and have done some streamlining to better share information about candidates and keep meeting time to a minimum. I took a trip to Europe that was over a week, but I was able to call references before I left and the rest of the committee completed theirs while I was gone. I think the length of time entirely depends on the type of library – academic searches just take longer. However, if you apply at the end of the advertising period, it may seem shorter. We normally don’t offer information on status – although I did have someone contact me last week. I was able to tell him where we were in the search so he knows that he is not under consideration. Absolutely do not check status before the job closes. There is nothing I can tell you.
- Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

bonnie smithAt the University of Florida Libraries the recruitment stages are: posting position, review of application, phone interviews, reference interviews, onsite interviews, offer.

The factors that lengthen the process are

  • If there aren’t any strong applicants – position is usually closed and reposted
  • Recruitment efforts over winter break
  • Search committees that aren’t efficient with their time
  • Scheduling difficulties for onsite interviews
  • Job offer not accepted and then have to go back to other qualified candidates
  • It is the applicants who are neither eliminated from the search or selected as a top candidate who wait the longest to hear from us

Candidates are welcome to check the status of their application but it makes most sense to do so if there is an immediate need for them to know. The process for librarian/faculty positions usually takes 4+ months.

- Bonnie Smith, Assistant Program Director for Human Resources, University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries

Marge Loch-WoutersAfter we close the search, the applications are read and rated (2 weeks). The top 20% receive a choice of essay questions to answer.  These answers are rated according to a rubric (3 weeks).  The 80% who did not reach this essay question level receive an email notice that they are not moving along in the process and we thank them for their interest.

The top 30% from this essay process either receive an invitation to a Skype pre-interview (if we have a large pool still) which is usually a two week component or an invitation to the final interview if the pool is at 4-5 candidates (usually three weeks to schedule and hold interviews). The 70% who wrote an essay receive notice that they are not moving along in the process when the final interview pool is set.

We make a decision within a day or two after the last interview if references contacted have been available. Then the offer acceptance is usually a day or two. At that point we inform the non-successful interview candidates that the job has been offered and accepted.

In general, I don’t recommend getting in touch along the way in the process. Our application process takes a ton of time and composing a response when we aren’t ready to say exactly where we are at is difficult. I am always appreciative when a candidate updates me that they are withdrawing from the process because they have attained another position.

We tend to end on the long side (3 months from application close to hire) but we almost always end up with exactly the person we were looking for. Other libraries that don’t have an essay component or Skype interview and smaller pools of candidates can do this process in much less time.  We average 70-100 candidates for our professional openings for youth librarians.

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

Christine Hage - Dark backgroundWe move quickly.  If it is an in-house only posting we post it for one week. Interviews are conducted the following week and the hire is announced the week after that so it is a 3-week process.
For postings outside of the library, we typically post for 4 weeks, evaluate the applications in week 5, interview in week 6, negotiate or make the offer in week 7, contact unsuccessful candidates in week 8.
- Christine Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library
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

Focus on understanding your patrons and managing your collection.

Alma Public School - opening of new playground for infants departmentThis anonymous interview is with a school librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Library paraprofessional

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?

√ 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)

5

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

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Services to Special Populations
√ 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?

Book repair

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)?

How to handle their particular population, task/time management

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

√ Internship or practicum

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

Emporia University

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

Focus on understanding your patrons and managing your collection.

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

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

Get experience working or volunteering in what interests you.

Public Schools Athletic League (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been and a member of a hiring or search committee.

This librarian works at a library with 200+ 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?

√ No

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
√ Vocabulary Design
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Archives
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ 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 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 working or volunteering in what interests 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 200+ staff members, Public, Urban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Learn how to do the least desirable jobs (ie. instruction and web design)

school children in japanThis anonymous interview is with a special librarian.

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?

√ 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)

5

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

√ Cataloging
√ Grant Writing
√ Web Design/Usability
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Reference
√ Instruction
√ Field Work/Internships

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

The vast majority of the jobs that are out there require skills in instruction and website management which are not usually required courses in library school.

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 procedural variations.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Conference presentation
√ Other presentation
√ Scholarly publication
√ Other publication
√ Student organization involvement
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience
√ Other: All of the above are helpful.

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

I’m not familiar enough with the different options to say.

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

Not that I know of.

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

Work-study, internship, volunteer as much as you can and for as long as you can! Learn how to do the least desirable jobs (ie. instruction and web design) because that’s how you often have to get your foot in the door. Don’t believe the lies your schools feed you about the job market and how much demand there’s going to be by the time you graduate.

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

be fearless in trying new things

school children in japanThis 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:

All types.

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 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)

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
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ 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?

Management 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?

√ 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 policy and procedures; their community.

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

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

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

Volunteer at libraries, even if not part of an internship or practicum. See what the “real world” is out there. Learn about personality traits and how to communicate in such a way your ideas make a difference. Take a management class and web design. Learn collection development, information retrieval, and be fearless in trying new things.

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

the ability to write clearly, effectively, and using correct grammar and punctuation

Keene High School, (Keene Academy), Keene, New HampshireThis 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:

Adult services and youth services (includes both teen and children’s).

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)

4

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

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ 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?

Generally, the MLS holders whom I have interviewed are lacking: the ability to write clearly, effectively, and using correct grammar and punctuation; the ability to collect, interpret, evaluate, and share data; and general project-management 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?

√ 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)?

Specific library policies and procedures, and knowledge related directly to the community in which they are working will always be learned on the job.

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

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

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

No preference.

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

No preference.

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

Take as many internships as possible, with a wide variety of different types of skills needed (i.e., positions requiring both adult services and youth services skills).

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, Public, Urban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

you can’t learn how to function as a member of a team until you know what the team you are going to be a part of is like

Blumengart School Children 1963This 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:

Information literacy librarians

This librarian works at a library in a rural area in the Southern 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)

4

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

√ Project Management
√ 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?

A lot of vacancy announcements for information literacy-related positions require experience teaching (preferably teaching information literacy in some form). Very few applicants seem to have that experience, even through coursework, and some do not even seem familiar with what information literacy is. Teaching students who are interested in academic library work about information literacy and pedagogy is something that is sorely missing from most programs.

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)?

Functioning as a member of a team is usually learned best on the job because you can’t learn how to function as a member of a team until you know what the team you are going to be a part of is like. A lot of software and databases can be learned on the job.

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

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

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

None. I check to make sure the candidate has or will have the necessary degree by the date of hire and pay very little attention to where they got that degree or what their GPA was. The experience level matters to me much more than where the candidate went to school.

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

Unaccredited ones.

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

Get experience working in a library. Preferably, this experience should be in the type of library work you want to do when you graduate, but any experience at all, even as a volunteer, shows that you know what being a librarian is like on more than just a theoretical basis. It’s very hard to take a candidate who has no experience of libraries outside the classroom seriously, no matter how focused their in-class work was during their time in library school. Find vacancy ads for the type of job you want to do and use that as a model for the experience you seek and the classwork you do. Have a realistic (but not pessimistic) view of what the job market will be like when you graduate and how best to position yourself in that job market.

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 Academic, Rural area, Southern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School