A Free Webinar, An Announcement, and A Not Too Ranty Rant

Hello Friends, Family, and Those Who Cannot Be Named,


(This is the webinar)

Remember Megan Hodge and Nicole Spoor, who wrote a guest post based on their research into library hiring?  They are co-presenting a LLAMA webinar entitled: 

How to succeed in an entry-level librarian interview: Research and experience-based tips.

It takes place on Wednesday, July 25th from 1:30-3:00PM CDT. You can register here.  It’s FREE, and sounds like a great opportunity to learn more about their work, as well as get some tips and insight.



(This is the announcement)

I now have four jobs.  I know, I know, I shouldn’t try to take ALL the jobs; I should leave some for everyone else.  But you see one job is temporary and will end in August,and the others are on-call positions at public libraries near me.  So together they kind of make one job, but without those pesky benefits.

I’m telling you this for two reasons:

1) To disclose that I’m much less of an actively-job-hunting-librarian now and more of a trying-to-juggle-multiple-jobs-while-keeping-an-eye-out-for-the-perfect-position-librarian. 

2) To publicize my Facebook group for on-call librarians.  If you are an on-call, hourly, pool, temporary part time, or othersuch librarian, or if you know one, or if you’ve hired one, or if you’re a student who thinks she might be working in this kind of position when she gets out, please join us and forward the link to anyone who might be interested: http://www.facebook.com/groups/librarianpool/

One of the things we’re working on is a collaborative document with all the different questions to ask when you get to a new library.


(this is the hopefully not too ranty rant)

This is not an advice blog.  Granted, a lot of the interviewees do give you advice.  But really, what do you know about them?  Most of them are anonymous.  I don’t even know who most of them are – not even an IP address. Don’t ever take an individual interview as gospel.  It’s just some person, some random person, who hopefully wasn’t lying when they filled out the survey.

This blog isn’t about telling you what you should or shouldn’t do while applying for jobs.  This blog is to give you more information when you make your own decisions about how you will conduct your job search and yourself. Perhaps that’s a silly distinction, I don’t know. To me it’s different.

Library hiring managers/committees/etc. are a group of real, flawed people, who have all kinds of strange and varied opinions, but who also share a few common and perhaps not particularly describable or enumerable values. I hope this blog helps to illuminate that.

I have heard people express frustration that they are not getting a consistent message here.  But really, there just isn’t one, because this is not an advice blog.  It’s just the opinions of a bunch of different people.  Yesterday I posted an interview from someone who said their hiring process moved faster and “those who apply quickly get more consideration.”  Contrast that with “First Reponders That Don’t Personalize Appear Needy Not Qualified.”   @katecythr pointed out that while Tuesday’s survey told us “The Cover Letter is the Most Important Document. It May be the Only Thing I Read“, a survey last month said not to bother with the cover letter because the interviewee only wanted to look at resumes. Opinions.  Everyone has them. 

If you’ve found more opposites, let me know.  Maybe I’ll do a post of dueling interviews.

I actually find these inconsistancies encouraging.  You can be yourself and still find work.  The real bonus to the variation in approaches to library hiring is that somewhere out there you could probably find your perfect library job soul mate, and your perfect library job soul mate will think the same sorts of things are important in hiring and like you just as you are, just as long as you have had a shower somewhat recently.

Finally, I really want to encourage dialogue.  But sometimes I have trouble with how angry people get in the comments. Which I guess happens on any blog, but it makes me feel a bit defensive on behalf of the people who have done the interviews.  They’ve taken time out from their work to help me as a blogger and us as job hunters.  I sometimes think about just deleting those comments, but ultimately I’ve approved all of them. I know it’s frustrating to job hunt but you’re making me uncomfortable.

That uncomfortableness is my own fault though I think, for having soft, feeling insides. I don’t want you to stop expressing your frustrations.  Job hunting sucks, dudes. 


/end rant. Thanks for your indulgence. If you want to discuss anything in the comments, please do feel free.  It helps me be a better person.


Filed under News and Administration, Op Ed

20 responses to “A Free Webinar, An Announcement, and A Not Too Ranty Rant

  1. melld

    Emily, the blog is brilliant


  2. Chris Eaker

    I really enjoy reading the interviews for the content and take it for what it’s worth. But I don’t like the often condescending tone some of the interviewees have towards us students. I think sometimes they forget that they were in our situation at one point. There’s alot of bad resume and interview advice out there, so if we do things they don’t like, alot of times it’s because we heard that advice elsewhere. None of us are interviewing pros, so I wish they would be a bit more gracious towards us.


  3. T_reader

    This is an awesome blog. Thank you for all of your time and effort in keeping it fresh and current. Unfortunately, there is so much desperation out here…I see it a lot in the job interview sessions at conferences. Everyone wants that magic “thing” that’s going to get them hired. The fact is, there are just too few jobs and far too many applicants out here. And the situation doesn’t seem to be getting any better as places keep cutting and cutting. We’ve got to just remain calm and carry on the best way we can.


  4. anonymous, but not really.

    I am one of those angry commenters. Perhaps the only one 🙂 ? I’m sorry to have made you uncomfortable with my real feelings and stuff. Real feelings that were never directed personally at you, but sometimes at some of the incredibly condescending and smug folks who have taken time to respond to your survey, and sometimes at the general state of the world.

    Thank you for not erasing my comments. I have left them to encourage dialogue as well (this whole blog idea of yours is pretty fantastic and I wish there was more dialogue!) but that doesn’t seem to work. Anger is scary, no? Easier to read and dismiss me as a crank instead of “whoa, this was written by that well-dressed, well-educated and charming interviewee we had the other day?” (I should get extra points for my acting abilities!)

    I have been suffering from depression, situational depression, related to not being able to find work related to my skills (extensive, well-honed) abilities (diverse!) and education (expensive and lengthy). I know this because whenever I have had a call for an interview, I am giddy and excited and ecstatic for days. All things become possible again.

    Sadly, I am rarely called for interviews, and I have exhausted my current “please read over my cover letter and resume and tell me how to improve” resources: they are like your survey respondents – everyone has a different opinion.

    Sometimes I leave comments on blogs because I don’t think a whole lot of people are truly honest about how deeply horrible job searching can be. Everyone wants to be “positive”. For some people, job searching doesn’t just suck. It is soul-shattering. It is devastating. I know (knew?) one person who committed suicide due to job-related issues.

    But I know the topics of suicide and depression makes people uncomfortable. As do angry blog comments. Even when that anger is justified. Reality can be just so darn inconvenient and upsetting!

    Good luck with your blog, and your career. I think you are offering a fine service. I also think it’s great you have four jobs and a sense of humour. Kudos!

    But I fundamentally disagree with the idea of playing nice all the time, or as the commenter above says “remain calm and carry on the best way we can”. Nothing would ever change if people didn’t get angry every once in a while. African Americans would still be slaves, women still wouldn’t vote or even work or go to school, and the French Revolution (or any revolution!) would never have happened. And man, that revolution needed to happen.


    • I am glad you are commenting! Even though it is angry and sometimes it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t think you are the only angry one, but I also haven’t conducted an in-depth examination of IP addresses indexed by anger magnitude.

      I also disagree with being nice all the time. I think ultimately it is valuable to be able to let job hunters blow their tops a bit, and to let hirers complain about how naive and/or entitled job hunters are.

      I think I’m just trying to express how weird it makes me feel. I’m trying to be respectful and responsible to people who’ve filled out the surveys and to you readers and blah blah blah. I worry about all your widdle feelings getting hurt.


    • T_reader

      I exist in a fugue of rage and in order to maintain my sanity (and to resist possible hostage situations), I try to take a step back. As a child of revolutionaries and a descendant of slaves, I fully understand anger and the need to vent. I appreciate the position of the anonymous responder. Things are really bad with our economy and are only getting worse. The job search is “soul-shattering” and exhausting. I’m just trying to redirect my own frustration onto a more positive path by suggesting we all stay calm. Believe me, I have more than enough anger to go around.


  5. Thank you for putting this info out there. I find it insightful and worth my time. You provide a great service!


  6. I too appreciate that the information is out there. AND I love that the different interviewers have different preferences on almost everything. OK, I didn’t at first. I found it frustrating, but then I realized that if my resume hits one desk and they don’t want to see it because I put my cover letter in an email and used the word *I* one too many times, someone else is going to love those things.

    In my mind, these interviews help me remember that my resumes have been going to very real people – some of whom I would love to work for and some of whom I’d just rather not be interviewed by 😉


  7. Dan Robinson

    Anyone who wants advice should head over to the Ask A Manager blog , run by Alison Green. Read these two blogs together to get a good sense of the application processes. And other stuff.


  8. Kim

    I just wanted to say thanks for this blog. I have also noticed the variance in opinions by the respondees, but I tend to view that as a reminder that it is important to find a position that is the right fit for you. I am not currently job hunting, but am reading this so when I am ready to move on, I have some good tips for my own job hunt. Therefore, the content is not quite as emotive for me.

    I am curious however about some of the stronger opinions of some respondents, whether this reflects the culture of the organisation they work in, or is their own personal preference, or specific to a certain type of library related job?

    Regardless, many thanks to you for writing this blog and for all the respondents, it is wonderful to get such a broad coverage of information for me to work out what approach would be best for me and the role I will be aiming for in the future!


    • That’s a great question – it’s hard to determine, although there is demographic information included in each post, and in the categories, so if one had more time than I have at present, one could group and analyze responses by library type, size, and relationship to the hiring process.


  9. KellyP

    I’ve only recently found your blog and have been enjoying all posts. I like seeing the varying opinions. My current institution has a wildly different culture around hiring than my former one and since I’m on a lot of search committees I’ve struggled with it, thinking they’re “wrong”. (Ex. ranking a candidate highest when they didn’t bother with a cover letter! Ignoring tons of typos on a resume!) Your blog has helped me see there’s no set way of doing things and candidates need to know that and roll with it.


    • Thanks for sharing that perspective – it’s interesting to think about that internal struggle within hiring committees. And also a little daunting. It’s not just that expectations for candidates vary from institution to institution, they vary within an institution as well.


  10. Pingback: Did you miss the LLAMA webinar? | Hiring Librarians

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