Tag Archives: librarians

We have hired new librarians

Man selling artichokes at vegetable market in Stockholm 1951This 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:

reference and children’s librarians, branch managers

This librarian works at a library 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?

√ 51-75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Have required education and experience.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Interview committee of 3 people (staff who will work with new hire and branch manager) see all applications and evaluate them.

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

Applicants don’t have specific experience we are looking for.

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

√ Other: always a thank you letter. Other feedback is given if requested.

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

Be specific and complete in applications, resume and cover letter. In interviews, tell us what you can do and like to do. Give us enough information, but don’t be overly talkative. Be enthusiastic!

I want to hire someone who is

customer-oriented!

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?

√ 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 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?

√ Yes

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

Experience is preferred but not required for professional positions. We have hired new librarians.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarianship doesn’t mean exactly the same thing as it did 20-30 years ago, but we still need librarians! Our knowledge base has changed, and we no longer work in a single area. We need to be more diversified.

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, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area, Western US

Be bold — take a chance and apply for positions that excite you

Market scene. Women and men. 1922 2This 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:

Catalogers; instruction librarians; reference librarians / subject liaisons (though a second masters in a subject specialty is not required); electronic resources librarians; digital resources librarians; special collections/archives librarians; government documents librarians

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

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

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ Other: about half

And how would you define “hirable”?

Possessed the required MLS degree (or equivalent degree).
Had at least minimal experience being in a library, whether paid or unpaid, for instance as a volunteer, student worker, or graduate-school intern.
Able to present himself professionally in cover letter and application (used appropriate language and style, demonstrated good writing mechanics, etc.).
Demonstrated something compelling about himself as an applicant (e.g., not just “I had a job” but “I accomplished this and contributed this value to my employer”).
Ability to communicate clearly and professionally during a telephone interview (providing complete yet concise answers and not babbling incessantly).

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Applications are submitted in an online system and visible to a committee (composed of library faculty and staff, appointed by the library director). The committee weeds out applications which lack posted requirements, such as MLS or equivalent degree, or years of experience if required for a particular position. Then the committee evaluates the remaining applications and selects the top three candidates for telephone interviews, which are scored on a rubric. Based on those telephone interviews, candidates are invited for on-site interviews (after references are checked) or else additional applicants are selected to be interviewed by phone.

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

1. No MLS or equivalent degree.
2. Signs of frequent “job-hopping” in the employment history, or unusual gaps in the employment history which are not explained in application or cover letter.
3. Extremely poor writing and presentation in cover letter and application.

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

√ No

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

Ask a professional, or someone you trust and respect, to review your cover letter and application for clarity, professionalism, and a compelling presentation of your achievements and contributions. Your cover letter is your first impression, long before you get a chance to make a first impression in person, so be sure that it presents a person with whom we would be excited to have a conversation.

I want to hire someone who is

enthusiastic

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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

√ 3-4

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

√ 2

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

√ 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?

Entry-level professional positions do not officially require experience. In practice, we tend to prefer candidates who have at least had “exposure” to a library via a graduate school practicum/internship or even as a volunteer. However, we do regularly hire entry-level professional librarians with no paid library experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Titles may change, and daily tasks may change, but information management is becoming more essential than ever in our information-overload society. I think one important key to remaining relevant is to be able to articulate your skills in the broader terms of information management, not just in terms of traditional libraries, books, serials, etc. Remaining relevant also requires a willingness to diversify and learn new skills, especially with respect to technology.

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

Be bold — take a chance and apply for positions that excite you, even if you aren’t sure you have all the needed skills. You might be surprised how small or poorly qualified an applicant pool can sometimes be, and if your application presents you as a compelling, enthusiastic, motivated candidate, that may count for more than specific skills which can be learned.

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.

Leave a comment

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

Further Questions: Do employers even look at portfolios?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

What is your perspective on portfolios, especially if they are mostly comprised of class projects? Some library schools build them into coursework as a graduation requirement. Are they useful or influential in the hiring process? Do employers even look at them? If so, does format (electronic vs. print) matter?

Christine Hage - Dark backgroundNot really interested in portfolios.  Sometimes the web pages are interesting, but I haven’t seen anything super impressive.
I’m much more interested in personality.  What kind of work ethic does the person have?  What kind of customer service skills?  Do they have any library experience?  Have they worked anywhere as a volunteer?
- Christine Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library

I’ve never been given a portfolio as part of an application. Resumes, yes, but portfolios, no. I’m not sure when it might be useful, unless I was advertising for a very specific job and the portfolio showcased skills needed for that position. But for the kinds positions I’ve hired-general reference or public service librarians, I can’t really think of how a portfolio could be any more helpful than a well-crafted resume and/or solid work experience.

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

Julie TodaraI like it when applicants send or bring portfolios to the interview. While it is not practical to think that employers would look at it during the interview, it is great to have someone provide something to review post-interview. Also, it is my opinion that employers understand that recent grads have content from their coursework. With that in mind; however, it is important that people choose class projects that relate to the jobs they want…so if you are applying for work with me at the college and it’s for reference, a portfolio of technical services projects (or visa versa) – while helpful by design and delivery – is less helpful than a reference class project. If that’s all you have for us though…connect the dots for me…that is, indicate what about it contributed to or formed your skill sets…. the instructional design, the webpage success illustrated by metrics, etc.
I also love to get podcasts, streaming video, a CD/DVD of a body of work OR a webpage designed by the applicant. That being said, you need to have been responsible for all of it…so a LibGuide or SubjectsPlus or a teaching or IL presentation should be content ONLY from you.
So they ARE helpful or useful and can be influential (especially when the content relates to the institution you are interviewing with)…YES, we look at them and while the general format answer is “it depends” in today’s market you can prepare something in print but I would have a e-component to it.
- Julie Todaro, Dean, Library Services, Austin Community College

I have found portfolios to be very helpful, especially when hiring librarians for children’s work. And for a position in Graphics, it was essential.

- Kaye Grabb, Lake Forest 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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Further Questions

There is a lot of regard for the contributions of librarians who fit this description.

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:

Catalogers, subject librarians, archivists, instructors, and most recently people with technology skills (hardware, software, digitization, web services, etc.) and experience with assessment.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Meets qualifications, shows evidence of achievement and initiative

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR forwards most applications without review. Search committees winnow the candidates down further using rubrics that match the job requirements.

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

Terrible resumes. We’ve seen task lists cut and pasted into resumes, candidates who aspire other than the jobs they are applying for, big disconnects between skill sets and job requirements, spelling errors, 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?

Write a resume that shows a record of achievement in areas that match the job requirements.

I want to hire someone who is

self – managing

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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

√ 3-4

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

√ 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?

Experience is not a requirement but as a matter of practice the best candidates often have some workplace experience that allows them to document a record of achievement.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarianship does not need to die. Smart librarians provide needed services, are flexible and willing to change in ways that support their institutions, and provide strong customer service. There is a lot of regard for the contributions of librarians who fit this description.

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

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

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

There is a level of expertise required that can only be filled by a trained librarian.

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

Circulation Managers, Adult Services Managers, Youth Services Managers.

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in a suburban area in the Midwestern US.

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

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Having the education and qualifications for the job.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

The person who will be the supervisor receives the applications from HR and determines who will be interviewed. This person handles everything up to offering the position.

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

Doesn’t have the proper education or skill set required for position.

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 detailed, but truthful; no grammatical or spelling errors.

I want to hire someone who is

the best.

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 100-200

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

√ 3-4

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?

√ 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 some positions, yes.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

There is a level of expertise required that can only be filled by a trained 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.

Leave a comment

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

Further Questions: How should applicants address gaps in their employment history?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

How should applicants address gaps in their employment history? Does it matter if applicants have a long gap for personal reasons (moving for a partner’s career, raising children, illness or injury, etc.) or because the job market is tough? Should gaps be addressed in the cover letter or the resume/CV, or both?

Jacob BergBecause I tend to read the cover letter first, that’s where I’d like applicants to address employment gaps. Volunteering is one way to fill gaps in a resume or CV, but I understand that not everyone is able to do that. Raising children can be an explicit strength. As a fellow parent, I know it requires a significant amount of scheduling, time management, and patience, among other things, and those are skills that I hope many employers are looking for.

 

-Jacob Berg, Director of Library Services,  Trinity Washington University

angelynn kingI would expect a gap to be briefly addressed in the cover letter, but not on the resume itself.

 

 

 

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

Julie TodaraThere are many reasons why people might have gaps in their resume. Rather that ignoring them; however, (and I know you aren’t suggesting that) people can:
Add a sentence in a cover letter that something like:
“The interview committee will find two gaps in my application and resume and should I be considered for an interview, I will be more than happy to address them through email or by phone or during the interview.”
or
“The gaps in my application represent 8 months where I was searching for work and 18 months where I relocated to an area that did not have a job market in my profession (or in my specific area of expertise.) During this time I (waited tables, ran a busy bakery counter where I learned great customer service skills)!”
or
“My gap in employment represents a time when I was refreshing my skills set and updating my technology expertise through extensive distance learning and working with a mentor.”
or
“I chose to take one year off between my first professional job and my second position.”
What applicants shouldn’t do is ignore the gaps or try to hide them by obscure or generalized dates. The best example of where this backfires is – my institution will NOT let me count any experience less than six months…so if you had three summer jobs and a fall or 5 month semester position, I can’t count any of that toward experience. In an effort to look as if they had longer than these four short positions, I have seen applicants use general dates such as 2003-2005. So within this time period it could only be14 months because let’s say you went to work – beginning in December of 2003 and then left in January 2005.
So, address it somewhere in your packet, ask them if they need clarification before the interview process and be honest. Don’t be afraid to list experiences that contributed to an overall skills set and although we typically can’t count volunteerism, it provides exposure, networking, etc. and these days one can get a great deal of experience at a distance in areas such as supporting virtual reference programs, working on association committees, volunteering to  design a groups web environment or keep a group’s web content current.
 
- Julie Todaro, Dean, Library Services, Austin Community College

 

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Further Questions

We have very few entry-level professional positions

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

subject liaisons, department or branch heads

This librarian works at a library with 200+ 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?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ Other: 10

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met all the required qualifications.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

There are rubrics based on the required job qualifications and the search committee reviews all the applications.

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

They don’t meet all the required qualifications.

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

√ No

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

Make sure they address every single required job qualification, using the same language as what is in the job ad, in their resume/cv and/or cover letter.

I want to hire someone who is

qualified.

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?

√ 5-6

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

√ 7 or more

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

√ I don’t know

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

√ I don’t know

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ I don’t know

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

We have very few entry-level professional positions, but when we do, we don’t require experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Information will always need to be organized, made accessible, and users taught how to find it.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under 200+ staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area