Tag Archives: librarians

The only reason it might be dying is because of funding issues

Paramaribo market scene. Women and men. 1922.This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Branch librarians.

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area in the Western US.

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

√ Other: City HR forwards candidates to us

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ Other: 50 – 75% of candidates interviewed

And how would you define “hirable”?

Capable of doing the job with minimal training.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

2 managers interview all candidates. Each answer is rated on a points scale, and interviewer also writes an overall impression at the end of interview. In a consensus meeting, interviewers discuss candidates with HR person and higher lever manager, and a candidates are ranked.

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

I don’t play a role in this part of the process.

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?

Understand the library and the job they are applying for. Answer all of the questions fully and completely.

I want to hire someone who is

unflappable

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 fewer 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, but it sure helps to have it. This is an urban library and those who don’t know what they are getting into will be at a disadvantage.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

The only reason it might be dying is because of funding issues. As long as libraries continue to be funded, we will always have a purpose and fill a community need.

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

Further Questions: When contacting applicants for interviews, how long will you wait for a reply before moving on in the process?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

When contacting applicants for interviews, how long will you wait for a reply before moving on in the process? When do you expect a reply, and does it differ by position? Do you have issues with applicants not replying in a timely fashion? Of course, this is very circumstance-dependent, but if an applicant does not reply within a week, or two, and you have moved on, is there anything they can do to salvage the relationship for this position or a potential open position in the future?

Jason GrubbIf an applicant hasn’t replied after a couple of days, we will try contacting them again. We will usually only call or email. If we haven’t heard from the applicant by the time interviews begin then we will not consider them for the position. At this point there is little they can do to be reconsidered. Thankfully, in all my years of hiring, I’ve only not been able to contact an applicant once. Most applicants are very good about responding. Not only is a quick response professional, it demonstrates a genuine interest in the position. The take away for job seekers: if you are on the job hunt sync your email to your phone, set alerts, have the volume on your phone turned up, if messages are left respond promptly.

– Jason Grubb, Director, Sweetwater County Library System

Celia RabinowitzThis is a really interesting question.  In over 15 years of managing searches, I don’t think I have never actually had a situation where a candidate did not reply to a communication about a phone or in-person interview.  These days it is so easy to set up voice mail and email with messages indicating if a person is not accessible (and when they will be), that I might consider waiting if I had that information and the candidate was really strong and we wanted to talk/see them.  But that might also depend on how long it would be before they were available.

If there was no information about the candidate’s availability I would not wait more than one week at the very most (and possibly less).  Without a reply I would assume the person was no longer interested for some reason (and it is really OK for you to communicate that to us – we’d prefer it).  Reestablishing the relationship later would depend primarily on where we where in the search process.  Adding someone to a phone interview list isn’t usually very difficult. But communication at that point would require some explanation on the part of the candidate about why they did not respond initially.  And the search committee would need to decide whether it was worth the risk of continuing to include that candidate.

So my best advice is to keep communication open.  If you need a day to think once you receive an email about an offer of an interview, take it.  If you want more time, ask if that is possible.  If you have changed your mind, tell the search chair.  If you are submitting applications and sometimes inaccessible, be sure you have accurate messages with information about your availability and try to check when you can.

– Celia Rabinowitz,  Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH

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.

2 Comments

Filed under Further Questions

The value in education according to area is what determines it as a dying profession.

Push cart market -- New York (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Library Assistants, administration, supervising librarian

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met the qualifications and interviewed well

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Library staff weed out those not meeting the criteria. Highest applicants are interviewed by outside committee first, then Library Staff.

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

Not meeting 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?

Accurate and up to date resume, honesty in the interview, good attitude, strong work ethic

I want to hire someone who is

optimistic

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?

√ Other: none

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

√ Other: none

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?

√ 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?

Depends on the position. For shelving positions, experience is preferred, but not required. For entry level Library Clerk positions, officially the city prefers experience, but is not an official requirement. It just what happens in practice.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Other: On the west coast it is less emphasized

Why or why not?

The value in education according to area is what determines it as a dying profession. In California, for example, education is less valued as a culture and as such, librarian positions are slim. Temporary or part time positions are often replaced with qualified candidates which results in those who are served by libraries suffering the consequences.

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

Everyone I hire will need to be able to assist patrons with tech issues.

Queipo Market in Little Havana - MiamiThis anonymous interview is with an employee at a public library who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. When asked, “Are you a librarian?”  this person responded, “It’s complicated.” This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Department Heads, Managers of large branches, Administration, Cataloging, Acquisitions

This person works at a library with 100-200 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?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Strong computer/tech skills, knowledgeable about library processes, ability to plan and execute appropriate programs and events (if in a public services position), practical experience. An MLIS degree is great; however, I expect them to have worked in a library, even as a page or in a practicum course. If they have no real library experience, I’ll want them to be able to give examples on how their past work/life experience may have prepared them to work in a library, such as excellent customer service skills, organization and planning, personal library use, etc.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Initially they are weeded out by a application software (ApplicantPro) which assigns rankings. If they do not meet requirements they are automatically weeded out. Next the top ranked applicants are sent to the hiring manager to determine how many people to interview. They must be interviewed in order of ranking.

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

Does not meet requirements, unfavorable past employment with us, ranking lower than 75%.

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?

I hire for public services so great communication and tech skills are a must. Everyone I hire will need to be able to assist patrons with tech issues. Being knowledgeable about library functions (in practice, not in theory), is also very important and I need to be able to discern these things from the interview. If someone said on the application that they have advanced computer/tech skills, I need to be convinced of this when I ask computer/tech related answers. I expect them to give specific examples, and not just say “Microsoft”. I need them to convince me that they realize “tech” skills extends to eBooks, tablets, smartphones, software, apps, etc. and are not limited to knowing how to use Microsoft suite.

I want to hire someone who is

useful

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?

√ 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 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?

The very basic entry level position requires a high school diploma and 1 year full-time customer service or 2 years part time customer service. This is an official requirement. the next level up require college degree. Library experience is only preferred/strongly desirable.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

We are busy every day so obvious libraries are still relevant, useful, and needed. We should be rethinking qualifications of front line staff. I don’t necessarily think that having an MLIS is required for some positions, but it’s important to hire knowledgeable and helpful staff members. Supervisors, at the very least, should have the formal training of a graduate degree.

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

If you are in LIS program or planning to be in one, PLEASE get some library experience before applying for Post-MLIS jobs, however small it is. Volunteer, work as a page, take a practicum class, whatever it takes. It makes a difference. While a graduate degree is often a requirement for many professional library, nothing beats practical experience.

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

Show us why you are truly interested in THIS job at THIS library

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

library managers (aka senior librarians, branch librarians, library supervisors) and children’s librarians

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Meet minimum qualifications and show the ability to do or learn the techniques needed for the particular job, which always include being able to work with other staff, a diverse public, and library supporters/community leaders.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR first weeds out applications that don’t meet the minimum qualifications as laid out in the job specification. For example, if we ask for an MLS and 2 years of library experience, and the application fails to show that experience, the application never even makes it to a hiring manager. If HR receives more than a certain number of applications, then we must go through an examination process to rank applicants before moving to the hiring interview. The examination may be written, multiple choice, or “interview-style.”

These are countywide procedures, not specific to our department.

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

Aside from being disqualified for meeting minimum job specification requirements, we might not interview someone who has made no effort to show how they fit the qualifications for the particular position. For example, someone with 30 years of adult reference experience applying for a literacy outreach job should not fail to include a cover letter or other information on the application that describes their ability to step into such a different position. If the resume seems generic or targeted for some other job, we may not interview. I have seen people submit resumes that list an “objective” that has absolutely nothing to do with the job for which they are applying.

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

√ Other: Yes, on request

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

Always customize each job application, resume, and cover letter. Show us why you are truly interested in THIS job at THIS library and not just looking for some job, somewhere. Show that you have done some research about what the position and organization are like, and that you can see yourself contributing here. For example, if you’ve only worked in cataloging/technical services in an academic library in a city, and the position is for children’s services in a public library in a rural area, we want to know what made you interested and how you expect to make that sort of job transition.

I want to hire someone who is

flexible

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 fewer 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?

Yes – 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.

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Public, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015, Western US

Don’t go into a detailed skills list for jobs you’ve had that have no relevance.

View of street vendors at 7th and B Streets, NW (Ca. 1880) 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:

catalogers, electronic resources managers, subject liaisons/subject research instruction, reference.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Western 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”?

Meeting minimal qualifications

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR dept screens for meeting basic requirement(s) (e.g. has the appropriate academic degree)
Library Dean & Dept. head review the candidates and preselect those with the credentials/skills that most closely match the position to narrow the list to about 25. That list with the applicant’s submissions is reviewed by the search committee. The committee recommends 6 or 7 candidates to interview.

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

The applicant didn’t respond to the job description/list of qualifications needed, they sent a generic resume.

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?

Only apply to positions for which they are qualified or have a strong interest in developing skills to be successful in that job.

I want to hire someone who is

goal 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?

√ 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?

We don’t have entry level positions, but are flexible in the type of experience needed to meet our needs. Often non-library experience, both paid and volunteer, will transfer well into a position and fill the skills base we’re looking for.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

There is always a need for organizing, preserving, aggregating information and helping or teaching others how to retrieve it. That’s especially true in our information clogged world. The titles may change, but the skills are needed.

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

Even though it’s time intensive, tailor each application/cover letter/resume to address the qualifications needed by the place doing the hiring. Tell them how you will fit into their workplace and into that particular position.
Don’t go into a detailed skills list for jobs you’ve had that have no relevance. E.g. List the job title, but don’t give a list of all the duties for that accounting job if you’re applying for an online reference position. It just clutters up the resume.

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

Don’t just recycle a recommendation from another application.

Young boy tending freshly stocked fruit and vegetable stand at Center Market, 02181915This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee, and a human resources professional.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban 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 the qualifications of the position. Had the skills needed to perform the job on day one.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Rubrics are established along with the development of a job description / ad by a committee of peers. Candidates are selected for a phone interview based on how they match up with the requirements of the position. Finalist are invited to the campus to interview / present / and feedback is received regarding each finalist from the library Dean, fellow librarians, and library staff. Based on these responses, a recommendation is developed by the committee which is reviewed by the librarians as a group and forwarded to the Dean as a recommendation to hire.

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

Resume / cover letter did not match the requirements of the position. Finalists better met the requirements of the position / had experience that would permit them to succeed in a challenging environment

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

√ Yes

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

Read the job description, match their cover letter / application to the requirements of the position. Be familiar with the organization they are seeking to be employed at. Don’t just recycle a recommendation from another application.

I want to hire someone who is

hireable

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?

√ 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?

Depends on the position being advertised.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Other: It is evolving

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