Tag Archives: librarians

If we fill positions with those who insist on holding the profession back they will be the last generation of librarians.

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. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Children’s librarians

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a rural 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”?

Telling me that they have the qualifications or experience that are listed as “required” in the posting for the opening.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Applications come directly to me, the library director. I evaluate them, using my own rubric (a list of the minimum qualifications). Those who meet all/most are shared with a committee who use thier own rubric to share with me (individually) those they think would be a good fit for our team.

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

Not helping me understand why they believe they are qualified for the position I have advertised. After looking at a cover letter, application, and resume if I can’t see the degree/credentials or experience listed in my posting they are disqualifed.

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

√ Other: if requested by the applicant

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

Present themselves professionally from the very first communication.

I want to hire someone who is

personable

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?

√ 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 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

Why or why not?

If we can fill our position with friendly, outgoing, dynamic professionals who understands that the future of their profession is going to be very different but still very challenging and gratifying will make ALL the difference. If we fill positions with those who insist on holding the profession back they will be the last generation of librarians.

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

Help me, hire you! I want to hire you but I need to see your passion and qualifications on the first documents you send me.

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

Currently we have an academic president who does not support libraries

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. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

There are only 3 of us here at a branch campus and we do instruction and circulation activities. Specific library jobs like cataloging are carried out at the main campus.

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban area 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”?

We only interviewed about 4. Others did not have the right qualifications or just did not look “right”.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

A committee meets to go over applications and decide who looks eligible.

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

not sure. I was not on committee.

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?

not sure

I want to hire someone who is

a good fit

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?

√ Other: 0

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 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

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

Why or why not?

On one level (in the media and talk) it seems like it is. Currently we have an academic president who does not support libraries and I think there are others who are only looking at the bottom line for their institutions. On the other hand, the presence of a library is so historical I am not sure it is seen as something to eliminate.

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

We will occasionally choose to interview persons who do not exactly meet our criteria

Market scene in ParamariboThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee, a human resources professional, and a non-library organization executive. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

all

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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”?

meets the requirements outlined in the position announcement; holds appropriate degree and experience

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR does not review library application – we will occasionally choose to interview persons who do not exactly meet our criteria because of past experience or training. Applications are first reviewed by the search committee chair. Those that appear to fit our needs are then shared with the entire committee. A base list of candidates is identified for telephone interviews conducted by the committee. From the phone interviews, three candidates are selected for on campus interviews. Once those are identified, the application materials are shared with the rest of the library personnel. All candidates brought to campus meet separately with the Associate University Librarian and the University Librarian.

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

Lack of qualifications, poorly composed application ( applying for wrong position or some other institution’s position – demonstrates a lack of attention to detail).

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

√ Other: If asked, we will give general feedback; not detailed

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

Read the position announcement carefully, address the key points of the position clearly and concisely in the application letter, check spelling and grammar, provide some detail to stand out as a strong choice for the advertised position.

I want to hire someone who is

prepared

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?

√ 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?

We prefer experience, but frequently hire new professionals with minimal or no library experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Academic librarians need to serve in a teaching role, rather than a caretaker role. Incoming students may be technology users, but they are not natural researchers. Our role is to guide them through the process and equip them with the appropriate skills for the future.

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

Further Questions: How do personality types play out in interviews?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

How do personality types play out in interviews? Librarians tend to be stereotyped as introverts–so what tips do you have for quiet, shy, and/or timid individuals to sell themselves and ace the interview? Are moments of silence/pauses in conversations, particularly during the more informal periods of an interview day (such as a meal) taboo? So as to not leave anyone out, feel free to provide insight into how more extroverted individuals can succeed in interviews as well.

I think personality type can be a factor in hiring decisions, but you don’t necessarily have to be an extrovert to get the job offer. You need to be thorough in your answers to interview questions and give examples that show you are passionate about the work that you do. Pauses in conversation are fine, but you may want to have a list of questions you could ask your dining companions about just in case you run out of things to say.

– Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Library Learning Services, University of North Texas Libraries

I know that interviewing for a job can be stressful and people are often nervous, so I don’t necessarily judge them on that. When I’m interviewing, I pay attention to what they’re saying, even if they fumble it a bit. The only time I get concerned is if I have to pull an answer out of someone. A person who just says “Yes” or “No” and requires me to lead them towards a more complete answer is someone that gives me pause. You don’t have to weave an elaborate tale, but being able to follow up on questions with your relevant experience (or, if you don’t have relevant experience, admit it but talk about your strengths) is important, no matter how nervous you are. If you’re really shy, try practicing with friends and family until you’re a bit more comfortable talking about your work experience. Most interviews usually have questions along the lines of the following (in some form or another):

  • Why did you apply for this job?
  • What skills can you bring to the organization?
  • What kind of library experience do you have?
  • Where do you see librarianship going in the next ten years?
  • What kind of people do you work best with?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

 

 

If you practice answering those questions, you’ll be more confident during the interview. Also, another tip, be sure to know the job description. Often the questions are directly related to the duties listed in the description, so you can practice answering with that in mind. Oh, and please, try to make eye contact. I know for some people it’s difficult, especially if you’re nervous, but looking down at your lap or staring at the table is not good. Try to look at your committee while you’re answering, it makes you seem more confident (even if you’re secretly quaking in your shoes!). One of the best things a mentor ever told me was to “Fake it until you make it!” Meaning, just pretend you’re confident until you feel confident. It’s worked for me!

 

If you’re chatty, pay attention to the room. Often times, if you’ve gone on for too long, if you look at your interviewers, you’ll pick up subtle hints that it’s time to move on. If people put down their pens, start shuffling papers or look like they’re trying to speak, finish your thought and let them continue. Don’t interrupt or speak over people. Be thoughtful and concise, don’t ramble.

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

Celia RabinowitzOne thing I would not recommend to either personality type is doing anything to draw attention to it such as telling people you are an introvert (or extrovert).  If you tend to be quiet try practicing with friends before the interview.  Go out to eat and just chat about anything.  Make a point to join the conversation or to ask a question.  If people around you are paying attention they may sense that you are quiet and find ways to draw you into a conversation.  But if your dinner companions and talking away and you are not contributing, don’t worry about it too much.  We know you are tired and overwhelmed and it’s OK if you just want to listen for a while.  That’s how you’ll get to know us.  So plan on a balance.  Be quiet rather than say something just for the sake of saying it.  But listen and think about ways you can participate in a conversation.

The same goes for the extrovert.  Practice answering questions in 2-3 minutes rather than 5.  Become more aware of how long you have been talking and find ways to stop so others have a chance.  Think of questions you have since asking them gives other time to talk and might lead to some good back and forth.

Stay within your comfort zone.  Don’t try too hard.  Be yourself, but be interested in the position and your colleagues for the day.

– 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.

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Filed under Further Questions

In fact, I was hired without any library experience

Market before PassoverThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee and a Department Chair (independently reviews candidates). This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

We hire multiple positions with varying specialties. At our institution, all librarians are subject liaisons and all of us are required to perform reference work, but beyond that we do specialize in various areas (e.g. sciences, education, instruction).

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a rural 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?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

There are a couple criteria: one, meeting the minimum requirements specified in the job description (we are not permitted to consider candidates who do not meet specified minimums), and two the level of “fit” to the duties of the position (in terms of previous similar experience, accomplishments in areas we’re looking for, and so forth).

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

There are a few steps in the process.

First, applications are evaluated by the search committee; we use an online application system. HR does not weed out candidates prior to the search committee review. Subsequently, the search committee conducts telephone interviews and reference checks, and finally the candidate has an interview on-site. During the interview, they meet with the search committee and several other groups, all of whom provide written evaluations using a simple rubric.

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

Failure to meet specified requirements (for example, if the job description specifies a minimum of 2 years experience in academic librarianship, that is a hard and fast rule–if the candidate can’t demonstrate that, they cannot be considered for the position at all).

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?

Well, there are two things to consider. For first-pass hirability, where I work the candidate (as mentioned) needs to meet the minimum requirements. However, that’s more or less a “yes/no” situation.

In the interviews, though, the most hirable candidates are those who can engage with the committee, provide concrete examples of their accomplishments and how they make the candidate ideal for the position. A candidate who can highlight what they have that they think no other candidate can offer is definitely a strong contender for the position.

I want to hire someone who is

adaptable

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 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?

The experience requirements vary by job; generally experience is preferred even for a position that might be considered “entry level,” but it’s not an official requirement for those just starting out (in fact, I was hired without any library experience).

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

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, Northeastern US, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015

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