Tag Archives: librarians

I am tired of running into candidates that went to library school because they like to read books and think that’s all we do.

Lagere school in woonwagenkampThis 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:

Tech services

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

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ No

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

5

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Information Behavior
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

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

People skills, I am tired of running into candidates that went to library school because they like to read books and think that’s all we do. It’s not, and we want people with enthusiasm and technology adaptability.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

-Basic cataloging
-some basic IT
-reference tools

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

Simmons is the closest to me, but it’s a bit of a factory. Drexel has some good people

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

Get a full time job and go to school part time.

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

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, Suburban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

I got my job based on my volunteer work at a library.

Rural school children, San Augustine County, Texas (LOC)This 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, Cataloging, Archives

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town in the Southern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ No

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

5

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Field Work/Internships

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

How to teach library skills in a one-shot setting, how to write a peer-reviewed article.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Things that are specific to my library and not all libraries in general. Such as: where things are located in the building, the policies and procedures for my library, the organization of my library. These will be different for each library.

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

No preference.

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

No, as long as it is accredited by the ALA.

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

Get real world experience.

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

Work in a library, get experience, even if it is volunteer experience. I got my job based on my volunteer work at a library.

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

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, City/town, Southern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Don’t take courses from instructors who have very little real librarian experience.

New England Girls School, ArmidaleThis anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. When asked what type of institution they hire for, the respondent replied with “have done several types.” This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Have hired everything but archival, IT, and children’s (but I was a children’s).

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town in the Western 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
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

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

Resume writing and interviewing! (a shortcoming they share with a lot of others)

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

I do not expect them to really know most skills. They should know about them enough that I do not have to start from zero, but they will be proficient in few skills unless they are “2nd” career. I expect them to be able to do most computer functions and I expect them to be able to write intelligently and proofread.
It would be nice if they had an idea of how to dress for work as a professional.

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Other presentation
√ Professional organization involvement

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

It helps if they went to school or have lived in the area (region) where the library is located so we do not have to deal with culture shock and they have some understanding of the people they will be serving. What courses they took and who their instructors were is more important than the School. If I am hiring for a specialty such as archival work, then I want a graduate from a school that teaches that well.

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

Not so far in my experience.

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

Take some of everything. Even if you never catalog it helps to know what is involved so you can relate to the staff.
Try to do some “real world” work in as many different types of libraries (school, academic, public, etc.) as possible so they have a realistic idea of what they are really like.
Don’t take courses from instructors who have very little real librarian experience. They need to have “been there and done that”. Avoid those who think only one type of librarian (academic or school or public, etc.) is a real librarian.

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

Every librarian should have some knowledge of dealing with library boards, city/county councils, or other types of administration. Some time should be spent on budgeting and understanding how they work.

It should be presented to them early and often that if they are not willing to move around they can expect it to be much harder to get a job and or promotion.

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

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

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

1 Comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, City/town, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Further Questions: What education or experience requirements do you have for paraprofessional positions in your library?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

What education or experience requirements do you have for paraprofessional positions in your library? Of course, these will vary by position but what would you say is important for those pursuing paraprofessional roles, either for their career or while in library school?

Laurie PhillipsFor many of our staff positions, we require either a bachelor’s degree or two years of college and two years of library experience. Most of our exempt staff positions require a bachelor’s degree. Experience varies widely from position to position.

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

J. McRee Elrod

We of course only hire cataloguers. We prefer those with cataloguing experience. With many library schools no longer requiring cataloguing, we find recent library tech graduates have more cataloguing skills than some recent MLIS graduates. We will not hire directly from library schools, unless and until ALA requires cataloguing for library school accreditation.
- J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

Cathi AllowayParaprofessional positions at our library usually require a minimum of 2 years of post-secondary education.  The most successful paraprofessionals have come to us with some prior retail or customer service experience.  They understand and have experienced the stress of working with  a very wide variety of people, and can handle difficult customers.  Personal attributes such as curiosity, a desire to learn and a customer-pleasing orientation – those are the most important attributes, and “emotional intelligence” is just as important as book learning in a busy library situation.

- Catherine Alloway, Director, Schlow Centre Region Library

Celia RabinowitzI always follow the minimum qualifications we have set.  When a position becomes available it is always a good time to review those minimum education and experience qualifications.  My previous institution was in a rural area where it would be unlikely that we would find a lot of people with prior library experience so we usually listed this as desired.  We almost never had anyone in library school or with an MLS apply for a paraprofessional position.  Most of our positions required a high school diploma (full-time circulation assistants and supervisors, or technical services folks).  We did hire a student in library school as a part-time reference librarian.  We had a digital media center and we needed trained and educated staff there.  At my new library we do have an Access Services staff member who completed a MILS while in a paraprofessional job.  She has significant responsibility for staff and services.
The MLS-in-a-paraprofessional job is a contentious issue these days, I know.  My advice for folks in library school or with a MLS and looking is to match your qualifications to the job.  If you are in library school you have a great opportunity to begin to apply what you are already learning.  Think about what you can offer, and what a job can provide you (beyond that much-needed paycheck).  Depending on the size of the library or library system there can be good ways to move up and to take on added responsibilities that might be good career moves.
- Celia Rabinowitz,  Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH.

At my library it varies between a high school diploma, an associate’s degree and a college degree depending on the rank but also years of library experience are considered. In public services we require customer service experience and prefer library experience and supervisory experience. Beyond that it will vary a lot depending on the position, some will need reference experience, staff training experience, or project management experience. For entry level positions, working in a library as a student assistant is very helpful (or a volunteer or a part time clerk) when applying for a full time paraprofessional position.

While in library school, I highly encourage students to get ANY library position so you can start those networking relationships early. Very few libraries are hiring for professional positions that do not require library experience (paid or unpaid).

- Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Eagle Commons Library, University of North Texas

Marleah AugustineI hire for a few paraprofessional roles. One of them is a part-time PR Coordinator, and for that we focus heavily on knowledge of social media and other tools, willingness to learn, and excitement about the library, as well as standard experience with various software programs (Adobe and Microsoft especially) and any experience with photography, journalism, graphic design, and/or video creation and editing.

We also have what we call support staff, those who work the desk and do shelving, work with patrons, make telephone calls for request availability, basic reference, etc – basically a part-time combination of pages/clerks and reference librarians. For that, I specifically look for customer service experience as well as experience with office-related tasks like keeping files in order. I also ask questions in the interview that involve giving scenarios of something that might happen in the library and see how the candidate responds, as well as asking about the process they would use to find similar books if a patron really liked something by a particular author. These are not so much related to experience, but they are very important for getting a clear picture of how a candidate works.

Some of those things that I look for are a more natural ability — the ability to really identify what a person is seeking, the ability to determine which resource is going to be the best for the patron and not just the one the candidate thinks is the best to use, etc. That being said, a lot of this can also be learned from either educational experiences or job experiences. Some people flinch at adding their fast food experience to a professional resume, but it lets me know that you were able to work on a team and that you likely dealt with unhappy customers. So, no matter what your past experience, look at how you can best sell it in the context of the job for which you are applying.

I’m less picky regarding education requirements — experience and knowledge are a much better reflection of which candidate will be successful in most cases, I think.
- Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public 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.

1 Comment

Filed under Further Questions

if they volunteer in a library chances are they will be offered a professional reference

Keene Grammar School Class, Keene New HampshireThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee.

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a city/town in the Southern 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)

3

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Readers Advisory and Outreach- These tend to be learned by talking with and building professional relationships with library customers and in the community the library serves. I find that folks wanting to work in a public library seem taken aback that they should have solid people skills- communication, approachable friendly manners and a desire to meet and work with people. Many say they like working with and reading books, they don’t seem keen on emphasizing their people skills.

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Conference presentation
√ Other presentation
√ Professional organization involvement

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

Schools that issue degrees that are ALA-MLS accredited

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

intern, volunteer or get a part time library job so that they can have professional library job experience by the time they graduate. Even if they volunteer in a library chances are they will be offered a professional reference if they do well in their volunteer/intern position.
Network like crazy with professionals in the field. Lastly keep up their skill sets. Attend conferences, take advantage of free workshops, tutorials and webinars.

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

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under 50-100 staff members, City/town, Public, Southern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Crowdsourcing Reminder: Interview Questions Repository and CV or Resume Review

Please share this post.  These Crowdsourced resources need your help in order to draw crowds and be better 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

Leave a comment

Filed under News and Administration

Librarians should not be put off by a command prompt.

Work with schools story hour in the open, librarian and ch...This 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, reference, instruction, tech, reserve, ILL, media

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Midatlantic 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)

4

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Project Management
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Instruction

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

Basic programming skills — librarians should not be put off by a command prompt. Familiarity with technical terms is a major plus. In addition, knowing information policy is often not addressed: both typical institutional policy as well as relevant state/federal laws.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Specific tech skills, eg database software, beyond basic understanding of the underpinnings. Some reference and instruction, since patrons are often different between libraries. Some project management, since in school a student is mostly working with library-focused young people, rather than the ‘real world’ of many offices/depts and people of many generations.

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation
√ Professional organization involvement

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

R1-level schools — UIUC, UMich, UT, UW

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

Small, traditional schools that don’t teach new technologies and require cataloging classes

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

Polish your web presence (including your own domain name); spend time in different public- and information-oriented places, not just libraries; take classes in database and basic coding; when looking for jobs, read hiring blogs, both library-focused and not

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

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School