The expectations of librarians today is COMPLETELY out of sync with our salary ranges.

D.B. MacMillan (LOC)This 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, public, and school libraries, at the following levels: department head.

This job hunter is in an city/town in the Midwestern US and is not willing to move.

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

No nights/weekends (Stable schedule)
Less teaching

Where do you look for open positions?

My local paper other apps.
Individual associations/libraries/institutions

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

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

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

I will spend hours on it. Make sure my letter is tailored to my skills and to the job description. I take applications very seriously.

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
√ 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
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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

Raise salaries.

Ask for less – too many library positions read like outrageous wish lists – e.g., the candidate will do this, this, this, this, work weekends and nights and, oh by the way, we’ll pay you $30,000 a year.

Try to focus the job descriptions more narrowly. I’m an experienced librarian (21 years) looking for a new position. I no longer want to teach, work reference, liaison to a department, do collection development, manage a department, etc., etc., etc. If you want a good reference person, write the ad that way and if you get someone with teaching experience, great. If you want a teacher, same thing. But, I have found the expectations of librarians today is COMPLETELY out of sync with our salary ranges.

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

Shorten visits. (I once spent 3 days at an interview…) Be as proactive and clear about the entire process as possible. Keep interviewees informed.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Making a connection with the people with whom you interview. Be professional, yet friendly. Be prepared!

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey!

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

1 Comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US

One response to “The expectations of librarians today is COMPLETELY out of sync with our salary ranges.

  1. No nights or weekends? You’re probably going to have to be a little more flexible than that.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.