Tag Archives: librarians

Further Questions: How does your organization value or consider membership/involvement in professional organizations during the hiring process?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

How does your organization value or consider membership/involvement in professional organizations during the hiring process? Is there a difference when hiring for an entry level role vs. a position requiring more experience?

Laurie Phillips

We do place a high value on involvement in professional organizations but low value on just being a member. We want to see your committee involvement or presentations at the conferences for the professional organization.
For an entry level position professional involvement can be minimal such as a committee member as opposed to the committee chair or volunteering to work the registration booth.

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

Marleah AugustineMembership in professional organizations can be a bonus and show commitment to the field when hiring for a professional position, but it is not mandatory. However, once a candidate is hired, they are expected to join relevant professional organizations and to be actively involved.

For entry level positions, I would be very surprised to see any applicants being a member of a professional organization. It would definitely set someone apart.

- Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Usually I look for more than membership–involvement is a supplement to a well-rounded education and not a substitute. Continuing education is crucial for everyone.  Involving yourself in professional or community organizations gives you a broader base from which to draw experience, network, gather ideas, and learn about who you are throughout the community, the profession–all of it.
But also, depending on the position–not being involved–would not necessarily disqualify someone–once employed, the hire would be encouraged to learn and grow in the community and the profession as opportunities arise.
-Virginia Roberts, Director, Rhinelander District 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

We are in the information age

Fish MarketThis 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:

All types-Technical services, children’s, research, technology, marketing, subject liaisons, etc.

This librarian works at a library 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”?

Professional dispositions and alignment with our university’s doctrinal statement

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

weeded out by hiring manager; evaluated by internal committee; phone interview; then background check

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

Credentials and 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?

Personable and demonstration of professionalism

I want to hire someone who is

personable.

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?

√ 3-4

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?

√ 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 experience for entry level positions

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

We are in the information age and librarians are the ones who help to manage it and teach others how to evaluate, select, and use the vast amount of information available in a variety of formats.

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 Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

Power Point is dead and shows how behind the times you are.

Astor Market - Demonstrating CoffeeThis anonymous interview is with an 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, Teen, Youth and Cataloging Librarians.

This librarian works at a library 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?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

They had more than 2 years experience and had their MLS or MLIS.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR screens for the minimum qualification, sends the apps to the hiring committee and then usually 5-10 applicants are chosen for interviews.

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

They do not have their MLS.

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?

Be up on the latest technology and library trends

I want to hire someone who is

Innovative

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?

√ 5-6

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

√ 3-4

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?

√ 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, it is a requirement.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Younger librarians, i.e. Millennials, tend to be more technologically savvy and innovative. They aren’t afraid of change, initiating change or coming up with new programs to pull in new users. Those librarians who value continuing education will grow in their profession regardless of age and will mentor Millennials through management and coaching.

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

Bring examples of your work, for example in Prezi or Animoto presentation style. Power Point is dead and shows how behind the times you are.

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 Public, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015, Western US

Don’t take it personally that you can’t b a finalist for each one.

Children Lined Up at the Librarian's Desk, NYPL ca. 1910This 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:

Reference/Instruction, branch unit heads, tech service/cataloging, web librarian, digital humanities/scholarly communication, instructional design.

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in the Northeastern 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)

2

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
√ Metadata
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Marketing
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Project & Budget Management, Interpersonal skills, Cataloging (which amazes me that so many LIS schools now do not require it)

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)?

Collection Development, ILS usage

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)?

The ones that enforce a more holistic curriculum. I want to know candidates at least learned about different aspects of librarianship.

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

The ones that crank out graduates who then bemoan that they should have gone to trade school.

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

Learn the history & theory behind WHY things are done certain ways in the Library world. It’s a lot easier to enact change when you know the whole story. Just coming into an interview or job and saying your new theories are better… you are basically just creating antagonism.

Also, have some sort of customer service work experience, library or no.

(These both are basically people skills)

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

We often get several hundred applicants for each job and most are of equal experience. Don’t take it personally that you can’t b a finalist for each one.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses to this survey, or specific analysis of the responses discussing online school, the amount of coursework students should take, and preferences/reluctances for candidates from certain schools.

Do you hire librarians?  Tell us your answer to, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

We do give preference to candidates who have some library experience, even if it that experience was as a volunteer

Astor Market - Demonstrating CoffeeThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee a human resources professional. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference Librarians, Children’s Librarians, Programming Librarians and Branch Managers

This librarian works at a library 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?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

They must meet the minimum requirements for the position (education, experience, etc.).

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

It depends on the position. Usually the direct supervisor takes the first pass through the applications, and narrows down the choices, then works with their supervisor to identify 3-6 candidates to interview.

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

They don’t meet the educational requirements for the job, which are clearly stated in the job description. I have also disqualified candidates due to excessive spelling and/or grammatical errors.

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

√ Other:  If we interview them and don’t hire them, we do send a letter thanking them for the interview and letting them know kindly that they did not get the job.

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

READ THE JOB DESCRIPTION!! Be sure that they meet the minimum requirements for the position. Double check the application for spelling and grammatical errors, and be sure to use proper capitalization and punctuation on the application. Include a cover letter introducing themselves and telling the hiring manager why they might be the best candidate for the job – it isn’t always evident from their resume and application.

I want to hire someone who is 

enthusiastic

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?

√ 3-4

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?

We don’t require experience, but we do give preference to candidates who have some library experience, even if it that experience was as a volunteer.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarianship is changing, but it is not dying. The way that people access information has changed, and it is true that there is much more information easily accessible online. Our patrons need us more now than they ever have to help them navigate that wealth of information, and to understand the difference between good information and bad.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey

Or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

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Filed under Public, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

I emailed all applicants for the YA position, and included a sentence or two on why they were not chosen to be interviewed

Emily Passey
Emily Passey is the Assistant Director for
Shorewood Public Library, in Shorewood, WI (a suburb of Milwaukee). She is proud of her library’s strong relationships with community businesses and organizations and her own presentations at two library conferences in spring of 2014. When not at work, you can find her hanging out with her greyhound, Swift. She is on Twitter (although not particularly active) @emilybrarian , and you can find her on LinkedIn.
She told us a little bit about her own job hunt,

I just moved to my position, which requires me to hire circulation staff and assist with hiring librarians, in August 2014. Before that, I was the young adult librarian at Shorewood Library for about two years. To get that job I applied for 45 jobs, and interviewed for 15!

Ms. Passey has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. She hires the following types of LIS professionals:

clerks (para-professionals)
assist with hiring professional librarians in all areas of library

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”?

Meets the job qualifications of required education and experience level.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Applications are evaluated by me. Top applicants for librarian positions are then reviewed by the Library Director. All other hires go only through me.

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

Experience does not match job requirements. We recently filled a Young Adult Librarian position for which at least 50% of applicants were disqualified because they lacked public library experience and/or experience working with youth in any capacity.

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

√ Yes.  – I emailed all applicants for the YA position, and included a sentence or two on why they were not chosen to be interviewed. Those we interviewed received a more detailed email on why they were not chosen for the position.

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

For librarian jobs: Get the experience you want to use to apply for the job you want. Volunteer, intern, do whatever it takes to gain relevant experience doing what you are interested in, and apply to jobs which match that experience.

I want to hire someone who is

motivated

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?

√ 1

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

√ Other: I’ve been here for just over two years. In that time, we have changed our focus to better match our perceived community needs by replacing a Technology Manager/Librarian with a Community & Adult Services Librarian. We have also added one permanent, full-time librarian (administrator) position in the form of Assistant Director, which we did two years ago when the paraprofessional Circulation Manager retired.

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?

√ Yes – I believe one has.

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

For paraprofessionals (all are entry-level) and/or other hires such as shelvers: no. We do not require experience.
No librarian job is considered entry level, because we do not have multiple middle management positions into which librarians can be promoted. All librarian hires need to have relevant experience. It is an official requirement.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

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 Midwestern US, Public, State of the Job Market 2015

Your Help Needed: Interview Questions Repository and CV or Resume Review

Can you put the crowd in crowdsourced?  The Interview Questions Repository and Crowdsourced Resume/CV review need your help to continue to thrive!  Here’s the low down on these two job hunting resources.

Resource #1:

Have you been on a library interview recently?  Or are you prepping for one?

Sounds like you could use The Interview Questions Repository!

If you’ve had a library interview recently, help this resource grow by reporting the questions you were asked:

http://tinyurl.com/interviewquestionsform

or by sharing this link widely with your friends and colleagues.

If you are about to go on an interview, use the spreadsheet:

http://tinyurl.com/InterviewQuestionsRepository

to help you prepare.

Top tip: Switch the spreadsheet to list view, in order to be able to limit by answers – you can choose to only look at the phone interviews at public libraries, for example.

Bottom tip: For respondents, you should be able to edit your answers, if you think of something to add, etc.

You will also always be able to find these links in the sidebar to your right —>

If you think a repository of questions  that people have been asked in library interviews is a useful tool, please help keep it dynamic and relevant by sharing this post with at least one person today.  Thanks!

Resource #2

Are you interested in getting a lot of eyes on your resume or CV?

Sounds like you could use Hiring Librarians’ crowdsourced Resume/CV review, For Public Review.

Here’s how it works:

We’ll post resumes or CVs, and invite the public to respond with their feedback in the Comments section.  We’ve got a few ringers – people who hire librarians – who have agreed to regularly review and comment.  However, anyone and everyone on the internet will also be able comment (respectfully – we will do our best to moderate attacks and insults).

We will post resumes or CVs from any LIS job hunter who submits one. However, he or she must agree to comment on at least five other posted resumes/CVs.

To have your resume or CV posted,

  • First take a look at the comments on previously posted resumes/CVs, and see if any would apply to yours.  Edit if necessary.
  • Then send it as a Word document, PDF, PNG or JPEG to hiringlibrariansresumereviewATgmail.
  • It will be posted as-is, so please remove any information that you are not comfortable having publically available (I suggest removing your address and phone number at a minimum).
  • Please include a short statement identifying if it’s a resume or CV and…
  • describing the types of positions you’re using it for (ie institution type, position level, general focus).
  • Finally, you will also need to confirm that you agree to comment on at least five other posted resumes.

*YOU* are the value of this resource.  To help keep it valuable, submit your resume/CV today, comment on other posted resumes/CVs, and share this post widely!

Thanks, as always, for reading and contributing!

irish women's workers union

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Filed under News and Administration