Tag Archives: librarians

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

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I would really like to know what you liked about me and where I can improve.

Woman with gun and hunting dogs Tallahassee, Florida by State Archive of Florida via Flickr CommonsThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for a year to 18 months. This person is looking in academic and public libraries at the following levels: requiring at least two years of experience, supervisory, department head, senior librarian, branch manager.

This job hunter is in a small urban area in the Midwestern US and is not willing to move.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

1.Salary that I can live on
2.Professional development opportunities
3.The ability to create positive change

Where do you look for open positions?

Indeed
ALA Joblist
State library association websites
Higheredjobs website
Websites of places I am interested in working

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Other: No, even though it absolutely should be.

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

The time I spend depends on each application. I keep folders of all jobs I have applied for and if the job is similar to something I have applied for in the past I will work from that template. I will go through the requirements of the position and personalize the template to highlight skills that would be needed for the job. Sometimes I spend hours on an application and sometimes the process doesn’t take very long at all.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Posting the salary being offered for the position is something I would like to see more of. Additionally, it is always helpful to have as many details about the job as possible in the listing.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

If there is already somebody in mind for the position, be honest about that.
Give feedback after the interview process. I would really like to know what you liked about me and where I can improve.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I don’t know what the secret is. Knowing somebody on the inside who can put in a good word for you is always helpful, but I really hope there are more secrets than that.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Midwestern US, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

They are churning out degrees to people who will never get a job – there are no jobs

School children singing, Pie Town, New Mexico (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee, and a human resources professional. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Public services, reference, collection management, adult and children’s.

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

2

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

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Field Work/Internships

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

1) they don’t think like professionals. They need to learn the big picture stuff so they can understand their role in it and then understand what their employer is trying to accomplish.
2) internships need to be mandatory. They need practical experience or they will never get a job after graduation. The hard truth is that no one is hiring – and when we can finally hire someone, we need them to hit the floor running.
3) it’s not about technology. Tech skills are great, but I need someone who can manage a budget and a collection. I don’t care if they can code or blog. I need someone who doesn’t need me to hold their hand and tell them what to do every step if the way.

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)?

They need to know the basics of their speciality, whether adult or children’s, reference or cataloging, instruction or reader’s advisory. They need a basic understanding of customer service. And patience and respect. We will teach them to finesse these with training, mentoring, and time doing the job.

 

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum

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

I prefer students who took courses in person rather than online. My own experience has taught me that you learn MUCH less in an online environment.
As for schools, I’m in California so I see a ton of graduates from San Jose State. Personally, I’m not a fan. They are churning out degrees to people who will never get a job – there are no jobs. And, I’m not remotely impressed by the quality of graduates. I’d rather see more graduates from other schools like Arizona, North Carolina, Illinois, and Washington.

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

San Jose State.

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

Work in a library in any capacity you can while in school. And do internships. Learn the theory; gain the experience. Then you will be more hirable.

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

The profession needs to figure out whether we are “professionals” or “workers.” If you teach how to do library work, then we’re not justifying our requirement to mandate the degrees. Anyone can learn how to answer a reference question or order books or teach a class. And, we need to stop churning out these graduates. It’s not fair to rob them of several thousand dollars and then let them loose into a jobless market. Just stop.

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

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

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

Read the library literature, as horrid as much of it is.

Work with schools, Hudson Park Branch : children gathered around librarian who is reading in the park, ca. 1910sThis 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 person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

I’ve served on search committees for all types of librarians: collection development, music, cataloging, reference, discovery/IT, etc.

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 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)

4

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

√ Cataloging
√ Vocabulary Design
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ 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 of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Student organization involvement
√ Other: Needs vary depending on position & status (tenure-track or not)

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

Get a library job during school or volunteer at one — ideally do so before going to grad school to ensure you like the actual work. Work at or at least visit multiple libraries; talk in depth with librarians. Read the library literature, as horrid as much of it is. Theory/history classes aren’t too helpful unless those topics will be your research/teaching foci. Socializing in a program track is good, but know doing so limits you & there aren’t that many jobs out there. If you want an academic librarian job, research, publish, present, attend ALA, & begin committee service now.

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

Think twice before embarking on this career. Budgets are being slashed year after year. We aren’t as valued (or needed) as before. Space is reassigned to non-library roles. The MLS degree is increasingly undermined and dismissed as unnecessary, even for library directors and reference librarians (a subject masters alone or even no degree is becoming ok). Patron demand is for instant access to everything for free, which just isn’t possible. We’re now expected to be more concierges (providing everything without effort or waiting) than guides. You’ll most likely spend much more time performing administrative tasks (budgets, statistics, schedules, HR issues, building renovations, outreach, fundraising, marketing, report writing, business analyses (SWOT, ROI, cost/benefit, time/process, etc) than you will helping patrons with research, building collections, cataloging, etc. You’ll also probably answer more IT questions than research ones. Long, stressful, often thankless days are ahead. Oh, I’m only 35 with about 10 years in the field, so am not exactly a Luddite curmudgeon pining for the library of my youth.

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

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

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Researcher’s Corner: Comparing Reference Service in Academic and Public Libraries

What do employers really want?  A lot of this blog deals with the translation between job ad speak and the real needs and wants of hiring managers.  I’m pleased to share the following post with you, because it represents another way of looking at the skills and competencies candidates might wish to cultivate, specifically – What skills do you need to be a good reference librarian?  I also find it pretty fascinating that there are so many similarities between what public and academic libraries want…


(This is a recap of our article “Significantly Different? Reference Services Competencies in Public and Academic Libraries” published in Reference & User Services Quarterly, vol. 52, no. 3, pp. 216–23, which won the 2014 Reference Service Press Award, which honors the most outstanding article published in RUSQ. )

Reference is reference – or is it?

It’s a commonly held belief that reference skills needed to be effective are necessarily different in public and academic libraries. However, there has been no research to either confirm or deny that idea. In 2011, we carried out a nationwide study looking at reference library work in academic (Saunders) and public (Jordan) libraries, and compared them for similarities and differences. These data will be of interest to professional librarians who are considering a change in setting and to hiring managers interviewing such candidates, as well as to library students who are in the process of planning their program and choosing a career path. The ideas shared here could also inform revisions or changes to reference courses and related areas of the library science curriculum and as such should be of interest to library science faculty.

We sent out surveys to a randomly selected sampling of 10 academic and 20 public libraries from each state. Every effort was made to identify the reference librarian or reference department manager at each library, but in some cases the invitation was sent to the library director, assistant director, or a public services librarian, asking them to forward it to the appropriate person. This is always surprisingly difficult in public libraries; too many websites have no contact information – leading Professor Jordan to wonder, in every study she does, how their patrons are contacting them. The surveys were essentially identical between the academic and public libraries, with different demographic questions. In addition to basic demographic information, librarians were asked to review a list of thirty-seven competencies in three categories and choose those they consider important. There were three categories of competencies: General, Technology, and Personal. They were then asked to list the three competencies in each list that they believe to be the most important. The list of competencies for the survey was drawn largely from the professional competencies and behavioral guidelines provided by RUSA, and was supplemented by competencies identified in the literature.

The General library skills, those skills traditionally associated with reference work, most frequently selected as important by our respondents were:

Academic Library

  • Search skills (95.6%)
  • Customer service (94.0%)
  • Familiarity with online reference sources (93.4%)
  • Traditional reference interview (75.5%)
  • Familiarity with paper reference sources (67.1%)

Public Library

• Customer service (97.1%)
• Search skills (95.6%)
• Familiarity with online reference sources (92.7%)
• Traditional reference interview (77.8%)
• Familiarity with paper reference sources (70.3%)

There was complete overlap here between the two types of libraries, with only a slight reshuffling of order of importance. These results suggest that the two types of libraries value the same skills, although they might prioritize them differently, and contributes to the finding that librarians who have worked in one type of reference situation should be able to transfer their reference skills to other venues.

We next asked the participants to identify the most important Technology skills from the provided list.

Academic Library

• Online searching (98.4%)
• Software troubleshooting (71.2%)
• Chat/IM (65.8%)
• Social media (65.5%)
• Web design (53.0%)

Public Library

• Online searching (98.2%)
• Software troubleshooting (77.8%)
• Hardware troubleshooting (64.4%)
• Social media (64.1%)
• Chat/IM (38.8%)

The two lists were similar, but somewhat more varied for technology skills. While online searching is equally important to both types of librarians, the numbers of respondents identifying each of the other competencies as important varied more widely: 65.8% of academic librarians identified chat/IM as important, while only 38.8% of public librarians did. Academic librarians selected web design as an important skills, but not public librarians; they selected hardware troubleshooting as important while academic librarians did not. These differences might reflect the difference in services and staffing in the different types of libraries. For instance, academic libraries might be more likely to have dedicated technology staff on campus who can assist with hardware and software troubleshooting, while public librarians might have less on-site tech support. Whatever the reason, the two types of libraries do seem to emphasize some different technology skills.

The third grouping of competencies was the Personal list, the soft skills reference librarians need to function effectively.

Academic Library

• Verbal communication (97.8%)
• Listening (96.6%)
• Approachability (95.3%)
• Comfort with instruction/teaching (92.5%)
• Adaptability/flexibility (91.8%)

Public Library

• Verbal communication (97.8%)
• Listening (97.1%)
• Approachability (94.8%)
• Adaptability/flexibility (88.9%)
• Sense of humor (87.2%)

As with general skills, there was a lot of similarity between the two lists. Regardless of type of library setting, verbal communication, listening, and approachability are crucial for all reference librarians as they will spend much of their day interacting with the public. It is reasonable that academic librarians identified instructional comfort as important so frequently, as it is such a significant part of many academic library jobs. In some academic libraries, reference librarians will spend equal amounts of time providing instruction and staffing more traditional reference service points. Public librarians commented the need for a sense of humor to effectively deal with the fast pace of work on the reference desk, and also to avoid being overwhelmed by the huge diversity of patrons who come into the library for help. Both instruction and sense of humor are important in both types of libraries, but as with certain technology skills, each setting seems to emphasize or prioritize one over the other somewhat.

There was a lot of similarity between academic and public libraries on the competencies they felt were most important for success at the reference desk, so were the least selected competences also comparable?

Academic Public

• Programming 8.5% (Technology)
• Foreign Language 11.9% (General)
• Budgeting 24.8% (General)
• Second Master’s degree 28.2% (General)
• Research/publishing 33.5% (General)

Public Library

• Second Master’s degree 5% (General)
• Research/publishing 12.5% (General)
• Programming 13.1% (Technology)
• Web design 22.4% (Technology)
• Foreign Language 28.3% (General)

It is often taken on faith that academic librarians will need a second Master’s degree to be employed; but this survey suggests that a second Master’s is not considered essential by most academic librarians. The data did suggest, however, that reference librarians in research universities were more likely to consider a second Master’s degree important than those in other types of academic libraries. Another Master’s degree was almost universally viewed as unimportant in public library reference work, as was research and publishing. Interestingly, only a third of academic librarians identified this as important; we did not ask whether respondents were required to publish to obtain tenure in their libraries, but presumably libraries with these requirements would be more likely to value it than libraries where it is optional. The lack of importance given to a foreign language might be surprising.Public librarians are required to deal with the entire spectrum of a community, including those with weak or non-existent English skills, and many academic institutions are seeing increasing numbers of international students whose English language skills can vary widely. This is an interesting area for potential follow-up study.

After looking at all these data, the main conclusion is that the differences between academic and public libraries are not as pronounced as people may have previously thought. The heart of library work is always going to be customer service, and that is emphasized in these soft skills such as communication, listening, and flexibility identified by librarians in both academic and public libraries. Librarians, and library students, hoping to be successful at reference work will do well to focus time and attention specifically on developing these skills to make themselves valuable regardless of the institution. The biggest differences seem to be in the areas of the harder skills, such as research and publication, certain technology skills, and assessment and evaluation. Librarians who aspire to move between academic and public reference desks would benefit from restructuring their resumes and the answers they use in the interview process to emphasize the skills of interest to the hiring libraries.

We thought this was a very interesting study, and hope it put to rest some of the misconceptions about reference work as well as helping to guide some training for good reference work. If your library would like us to come talk to you about this or other studies we have done; or if you would like us to do some other training for you, do not hesitate to contact us!


Laura SaundersLaura Saunders Laura Saunders received her PhD from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science in May 2010.  She holds an M.S.L.I.S from Simmons as well as a B. A. from Boston University in English Literature and Italian.  She worked as a reference librarian and branch manager of the Career Resource Library for Simmons College from 1999 to 2003, where she provided reference and instruction services, as well as participated in collection development, Web page maintenance, and marketing of library services.  While completing her PhD, she worked as an adjunct faculty member.  Currently, she is an Assistant Professor at Simmons College, teaching in the areas of reference, evaluation of information services, information literacy, and academic libraries. Her first book, Information Literacy as a Student Learning Outcome: The Perspective of Institutional Accreditation was published in June 2011. Her research interests include information literacy, assessment, accreditation, reference services, and the place of libraries in higher education.  She has had articles published in The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Library & Information Science Research, College & Research Libraries, and portal: Libraries and the Academy.  You may also recognize her from the Hiring Librarians post: Researcher’s Corner: Reference Competencies from the Academic Employers’ Perspective.

Mary Wilkins Jordan (425x640)Mary Wilkins Jordan came to Simmons College GSLIS from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where she earned a PhD.

Prior to entering academia, Jordan worked in public libraries as a Director and administrator.

Her research and consulting work now focuses on ways to help libraries to function better and to serve their communities more effectively. She teaches Management and also Evaluation classes, as well as Public Libraries, Reference, and the Internship class, all with a focus on helping students acquire the skills they need to be successful in their professional careers.

Jordan also has a J.D. from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law and worked as an attorney before entering the library field.

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Filed under Academic, Guest Posts, library research, Public, Researcher's Corner

here in Ghana there is only one library school

School Children in Keene New Hampshire2This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

all rounders as all of us have to do a range of tasks/duties

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in Ghana.

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?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

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

√ No preference–as long as they have the skill, I don’t care how they got it

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

how to deal with people – colleagues and users

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

√ Internship or practicum
√ Student organization involvement

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

here in Ghana there is only one library school

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

not sure about some of the Nigerian library schools

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

try to get some practical experience

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from 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

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Suburban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Personally I think there is a lack of training in instruction, including theory and instructional design.

Sydney Primary Schools (N.S.W Rep. Team), 1922 who beat Q'ld [Queensland] Reps. 2 Matches to 1This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian. When asked what role they have served in terms of hiring, they responded that they have “sat in on interviews and given feedback.”

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

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

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

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

3

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

√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Reference
√ Instruction
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Personally I think there is a lack of training in instruction, including theory and instructional design.

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 of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum

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

Do as much as you can and find the ways to fill in gaps while in grad school and after graduation.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from 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

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