Tag Archives: librarians

Being able to articulate a personal value proposition that relates to my position

Market day, KillarneyThis 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:

Youth Services and adult reference positions

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

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

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Hirable means:

1) having appropriate credentials (MLS or equivilent) and education (taking at least 1 class in the area I’m hiring for)
2) having appropriate experience (either working, volunteering, or doing an internship in the area I’m hiring for)
3) Being able to articulate a personal value proposition that relates to my position – too many cover letters tell me what a candidate wants to do with his/her career, not what he/she can do for my library

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

I am the director of a very small library. I look at the applications and have the final say, but I included all full-time staff (1 librarian, 1 paraprofessional) in the resume review and interviewing process.

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

Lack of MLS or equivilent

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?

Obtain skills and abilities that go beyond the MLS – graphic design, web design, writing, fundraising

I want to hire someone who is

cooperative

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?

√ 1

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?

√ There are fewer 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?

We don’t require experience, but we would look at someone with experience first. However, experience can also be an internship or volunteer experience – it does not have to be a paid position.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Other: Changing & constricting

Why or why not?

Since many librarian positions are government (municipal, state, federal) jobs, and there is considerable pressure to eliminate government jobs, it stands to reason traditional librarian positions are shrinking. There is always the possibility that librarian positions will reinvent themselves, but right now it’s hard to see how that will happen.

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, Northeastern US, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

We look kindly on internships and student library worker experience.

Market scene. Women and men. 1922 2This anonymous interview is with a 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:

assessment librarians, collection development librarians, electronic resources librarians, open access librarians, data curation librarians,

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a suburban area in the Western 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?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

met all the minimum qualifications in the ad

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Evaluated by chair of committee to see if have minimum qualifications.
Then evaluated by committee for preferred qualifications using a yes or no grid. Then committee gets together and discusses the applicants.

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

Doesn’t meet minimum 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?

make sure their application reflects they have all the minimum and most of the preferred qualifications.

I want to hire someone who is

teachable

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 50-100

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?

√ 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?

√ 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?

For entry level, usually not. Though we look kindly on internships and student library worker experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It is evolving into new areas like data curation, web/search engine design, clinicalresearch librarian

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 50-100 staff members, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area, Western US

LIS education is a bad joke.

Push cart market -- New York (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee, and a human resources professional. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Adult Services, Children’s Teens, Circulation Specialists, Paraprofessionals, Clerical, Subject Specialists.

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

Capable of mastering the basic skills necessary in a publicly funded customer institution in a way that would not be detrimental or embarrassing to the service as a whole.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR grades applications on a point scale based upon a committee designed legal job description

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

Illiteracy, spotty job history, insufficient credentials, falsehoods included on document, criminal record, fake references.

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

√ Other: If they ask, I will. It is against our policy, though

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

Have someone else proofread their application. Have someone else evaluate if they are addressing the job description. Don’t lie.

I want to hire someone who is

doesn’t immediately start our professional relationship making demands or questioning our judgment

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?

√ There are more 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?

No, we do not. Due to the volume of hiring that we do, those with experience tend to interview better.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Yes

Why or why not?

Librarians are killing it. LIS education is a bad joke. We need people who have good IT skills and can talk with the public. These people no longer look to librarianship as a viable career. Instead they go to management positions in IT. We get the second careerers whose first careers just didn’t work out. There’s usually a compelling reason why, and its often not what they tell us.

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, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

Don’t fudge, if you do and I hire you, you will probably be fired!

Push cart market -- New York (LOC)This 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:

Catalog
Children’s

Social Media
Adult Services
Administrative

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a rural area in the Western 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?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Able and competent to do the job as outlined in the advert

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Computer ranks based on application, then reviewed by library hiring managers

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

Lack of qualifications, poor grammar, misspelled words, etc.

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?

Pay attention to detail. Know something about our library and DO NOT lie!

I want to hire someone who is

Energetic and excited

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 50-100

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?

√ 2

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, official

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Changing, but not dying. Our numbers have doubled over the past ten years. We are busier now than at anytime in our history.

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

Be honest, energetic and like your job.
Don’t fudge, if you do and I hire you, you will probably be fired!
Be willing to “pay your dues”. You are new, remember that.

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 50-100 staff members, Public, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015, Western US

Further Questions: What about part-time work for MLS degree holders?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

In a tough job market, flexibility is important for applicants. Many LIS blogs/websites suggest exploring part time work, even post grad school, as a way to gain experience and enter the library world. Sometimes this means multiple part time jobs. Do you have MLS degree holders in part time positions (professional or paraprofessional) in your library? Would you hire MLS degree holders for part time positions? What would your advice be for these part time job applicants, and how would you advise applicants for full time jobs to sell any part time experience they may have?

We have, in the past, hired MLS librarians for 20 or 30 hour a week positions. It’s not ideal. I think we’re trying to move away from doing that because it’s difficult to find qualified candidates who are willing to accept part-time employment, especially since PT work doesn’t automatically translate into future FT work here. I think any library experience, whether it’s part time or volunteer is a plus on a resume, especially in a crowded job field; so if your choices are limited to PT, take it, learn everything you can from it and use that to move up.

– Margaret M. Neill, Regional Library Branch Manager, Main Library, El Paso Public Library

Celia RabinowitzI currently have two adjunct library faculty members whose contracts identify a specific number of hours per week/semester they work and not number of credits which is the basis of all other adjunct faculty contracts.  I also have a full-time staff member in a non-librarian position who has a MLS.  The part-time adjuncts are getting teaching and other experience (one is assistant archivist).  They attend library faculty meetings when they can.  Both are geographically tied to the area so there positions are helpful for them and for us.  Both continue to look for full-time positions.

There are many reasons people might be seeking part-time employment and I would consider a MLS holder for a position and consider that they might continue to seek full-time employment.  The nature of part-time work is that we hope to get people to stay but they often do not, and our budgets are sometimes unreliable enough that we cannot offer a lot of job security.

>Part-time experience is experience – period. Anything you learn at a job is worth thinking about and using when you prepare for an interview.  What did you learn about the challenges of being a part-time employee?  What did you learn on the job that was new and enhanced your skills?  Your work experiences in and out of libraries can make you a stronger candidate so use all of it!– Celia Rabinowitz,  Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH

At my former place of work (FPOW), when I was a director, we often had MLIS degree holders in part-time positions. Often it was a way to supplement income and/or gain experience on their part, and it worked out well for us. They got pay and experience, and we got their labor. In fact, they continue to employ MLIS degree holders in part-time positions. Some have been there for years.

I don’t think there is, and if there is there shouldn’t be, stigma around working part-time doing the same tasks as full-time, employed MLIS holders. You’re doing the same work, just less of it. Where I was director, it was never a consolation prize; we never offered a PT position to someone who applied for an FT one, for example. And based on the number of people with MLIS degree who applied for PT work, I don’t think they felt that stigma either. Thus, if you’re an MLIS holder working part-time and reading this, I’d sell that job like any other, be it FT or PT.

– Anonymous

angelynn kingI have and do work in places with numerous part-time employees, both professional and paraprofessional. It is not unusual to have MLS-holders in library assistant positions, but it’s important for such colleagues to understand that the job description is different and that they will not be functioning as “librarians on the side” — any more than they would be dispensing legal advice or diagnosing engine trouble if they were qualified in those fields.

If you are a degreed librarian in a paraprofessional position, my best advice would be to keep your eyes and ears open and try to absorb the culture and learn as much as you can. Then, if a professional position later becomes available, you will be familiar with the policies and procedures and “speak the language,” which could give you an edge.

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

Laurie Phillips

I am more likely to hire a library school student for part time work than someone with an MLS. In the past, I always felt that it was taking advantage of someone with an MLS to hire them for a staff position. I also don’t want people to assume that it’s getting a foot in the door for a faculty librarian position. It’s generally not. That said, the current job market has changed my previous thinking. We currently have one or two MLS holders in part time positions in our library. For one of them, it’s been difficult because she’s capable of doing more and does higher level work (although by no means what we expect of our faculty librarians) and she can’t stay in this position long-term. That’s the difficult thing for us – how long will someone with an MLS stay in a part-time position and will they be miserable? I think, if we’re honest with each other from the beginning, it can work. As for selling part-time experience, you can certainly pull out skills learned or experience gained and apply it to the requirements for a full-time job. We wouldn’t care how you got the experience – full time, part time, librarian or staff. Just that you had it and could apply it.
– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

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

Write a good cover letter. Be patient with the process.

Queipo Market in Little Havana - MiamiThis anonymous interview is with a librarian working in a joint-use facility who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference & subject specialist

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 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?

√ 75-100

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Applicants who met the basic Job requirements

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

I will head a search committee who use a rubric

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

Do not meet basic requirements such as already have MLS or number of years required

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?

Write a good cover letter

I want to hire someone who is

Innovative

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 50-100

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?

√ There are the same number of 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?

No

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

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

Make sure you are qualified for the position for which you are applying. Write a good cover letter. Be patient with the process.

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 50-100 staff members, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

It was never about the books – they’re just the containers!

Vegetable and flower seller and stall, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WashingtonThis 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:

Library assistants, research librarian posts, teaching librarian posts

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban area in the UK.

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?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

meet the requirements of the job

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR and hiring manager look separately at every application at professional level.

We check how well they meet requirements in each area of the person specification, grading from 0 (none) through to 4 (exceeds requirements) and add notes where there are other particularly positive (ooh look, they’ve also done this!) or negative (they didn’t use capital letters when writing their name!) points.

We then meet to compare notes and shortlist candidates. We’ve done this twice so far and the results were remarkably similar each time.

The rubric is taken directly from the person specification in the job description, so if you’re applying for jobs in the UK make sure you highlight each one/have equivalent experience/can quickly gain those requirements!

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

Doesn’t show that they meet the requirements of the post. The threshold can vary for this – if there are a lot of qualified applicants you need to meet/exceed every point to get a look in. If it’s a rarer position /fewer likely to meet the requirements it’s definitely more worth an application because you’re more likely to get shortlist even if you’re missing a couple of requirements.

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

√ Other: On request

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

Keep up to date with key developments in the area your working in, e.g. Information literacy and educational technology for teaching roles, scholarly communication for research roles.

I want to hire someone who is

Astute

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?

√ 2

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

√ 1

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?

Our library doesn’t currently have any entry level professional positions, it’s a very small library within a larger network of libraries. In our library the lowest professional posts still require a qualification and some relevant experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It was never about the books – they’re just the containers! Librarianship increases in importance the more information and data there is to navigate. The roles evolve to meet specific needs, as good ones always have.

Note:  We do correct typos, here at Hiring Librarians.  This one was really funny: In answer to the question about how applications are evaluated, respondent originally put: “HR and hiring manager lol separately at every application at professional level.”

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, Academic, State of the Job Market 2015, UK, Urban area