Further Questions: What “hot topic” would you include if you were currently interviewing candidates?

Readers, I’d love if you’d chime in on this as well.  What issues would you prepare to speak about, if you were heading out on an interview?  Or what would you ask, if you are an interviewer?

What “hot topic” would you include if you were currently interviewing candidates?  Or what “hot topic” have you recently included?  For example, in an interview about six months ago, I was asked for my opinions on “Bookgate”. What are the current library issues that you think candidates should be aware of?

Laurie Phillips

Honestly, this is something that would depend on a) when the interview was taking place; and b) (most important) what is the job we’re interviewing for? Usually the hot topic we pick is associated with the particular position. At the time we hired our last faculty librarian (in 2012), the search was for a Collection Development Librarian who would be working on ebook resources. We asked about DDA for ebooks and ebook interfaces, download restrictions, and print vs. ebooks. We were also in the thick of a somewhat bold move where we reduced print (bound) periodicals by two thirds and replaced them with large e-journal packages (a combination of JSTOR and other publishers). It was funded by the university administration because they were asking us to take in another campus unit, but we had to be willing to do it, determine the process, and carry it out. It was a win-win for our students and faculty because we gained journal titles, space, and an important campus unit with whom we closely collaborate. At least one of our candidates was somewhat horrified by what we were doing and talked about the fallout with faculty. Well, yes, there was fallout, but everything we did was accomplished with careful study and data and was completely defensible. The candidate who said, “Wow! You all are so brave to undertake this and it’s incredible” was the one who got the job. Not because she flattered us, but because she got it.

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


Sherle Abramson-Bluhm
Hot Topics will depend to some degree on the area of responsibility.
In my area of Acquisitions we would want candidates who are informed on balancing print and electronic; demand driven acquisitions and shared collections (development and/or repositories) but other topics in the greater library world could include:  Open Access, Copyright, Big Data, Assessment, Linked Data, cloud based resources and scholarly communication.
– Sherle Abramson-Bluhm, Head, Print Acquisitions, University of Michigan
scott wiebensohn
I believe that a “hot topic” these past few years is the evolution (some might say, “revolution”) of libraries turning into learning/information commons. Where the space within the library is best utilized for all types of learners and also maneuverable to accommodate almost any event.  I’m not going answer this question, instead leave it open-ended for those interview candidates to ponder upon.
– Scott Wiebensohn, Manager of Library Services, Jones eGlobal

I always questions about how to deal with conflicts – between staff members or between staff members and patrons.

And, I always ask a question to feel out where a candidate stands on intellectual freedom issues.

Those things may not seem that “hot” but they often do make folks squirm a bit – which is not the point. The point is to see how they may respond under pressure or a contentious situation.

– Christy Davis, Library Director, Klamath County Library Service District 

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.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  What do you think are HOT LIBRARY TOPICS?


Filed under Academic, Further Questions, Other Organization or Library Type, Public

2 responses to “Further Questions: What “hot topic” would you include if you were currently interviewing candidates?

  1. Pingback: Further Questions Questions | Hiring Librarians

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