Further Questions: Does Your Library Do Background Checks?

This week I asked people who hire librarians:

Does your organization do background checks?  If it does, what exactly is checked? Credit rating, conviction history, job or education history, etc.? What kinds of things would keep a candidate from getting hired?

Emilie Smart

We do not do background checks on classified employees nor does the City’s HR Dept (which handles all City employment applications).

– Emilie Smart, Division Coordinator of Reference Services & Computer Services at East Baton Rouge Parish Library

Marleah AugustineAt this time we do not do background checks. We do ask that if someone has been convicted of a felony, that they explain that charge. We haven’t had too many issues with it, but I think that a candidate would not get hired if their felony conviction was violence or theft related. As for job or education history, we just call references rather than doing a formal background check.

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Nicola FranklinAs a recruiter the type of background checks I do varies depending on the type of role I’m looking to place the candidate in.  For those seeking just a permanent position, I carry out an interview (to fact check their resume for the skills and experience they’ve laid claim to, and to assess personality, attitude and motivations).  Other checks (for example taking up references, medical, credit check) remain the responsibility of the ultimate hirer and are usually carried out by them (although once in a while a client will ask me to carry out the reference checks on their behalf).  For those seeking contract or freelance work, in addition to the interview, I take up the references myself, and also check their eligibility to work in the country where the job is based (UK, USA or elsewhere).  References could be from employers or educational institutes or both, depending on the person’s career history and the requirements of the job.

Reference checking in the UK can be a frustrating process as employers are very wary of committing anything to paper that could later be deemed to be a subjective opinion and so open to legal challenge if it caused any disadvantage to the candidate.  Many written references are therefore little more than confirmation of employment dates, job title and number of sickness days (if any).  To counter this I often take up a verbal reference, as people are often willing to be more frank on the phone.

The main thing that would stop me putting a candidate forward to a client would be lying on their resume/CV, whether about qualifications, length or type of experience or skills.

– Nicola Franklin, Director, The Library Career Centre Ltd.


J. McRee Elrod



No.  For a distance cataloguer it is irrelevant.

– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging


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 me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.

Thanks for reading! I hope you found some comment ground!


Filed under Further Questions, Public

3 responses to “Further Questions: Does Your Library Do Background Checks?

  1. Pingback: Further Questions Questions | Hiring Librarians

  2. Pingback: Return to Further Questions Questions | Hiring Librarians

  3. Beverly King

    Libraries are quickly becoming a dying institution, and I deeply regret that. My library is my sanctuary.


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