This week we asked people who hire librarians
Aside from library experience, what volunteer and/or work experience do you find valuable in applicants and new hires?
Some of the non-library experience we find valuable depends on the position of course, but generally speaking, we value all customer service related experience. We want all our staff to have a customer focus, and if they have experience in a different context, it is usually helpful. It does not matter if it was gained through paid work experience or through volunteer experience.
Another point we really value is anything on an application that shows passion for what they do. It doesn’t matter if it is work related, someone who can be passionate about a subject or a service is someone we want to meet and interview. This can be shown by including special projects, volunteer work or awards on the resume.
We also look for indication that the candidate is a successful team player. If you have held primarily positions that required working alone, then having some indication that you are capable of working effectively in a team would be very helpful. Our environment revolves around teamwork, and we want to make sure we bring in people who can function as part of a team.– Petra Mauerhoff, CEO, Shortgrass Library System
-Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus
Anything related to customer service is very important — in some cases, more so than previous library experience. The paraprofessionals I hire work directly with the public and must have the ability to so (as well as the confidence to do so). Counting money, creating eye-catching displays, and being patient with patrons who may not be having a great day are all things that I expect from my staff, and these are all skills that could have been developed in a customer- or retail-oriented environment. This goes for professionals as well — a little customer service experience can go a long way.
– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library
-Jacob Berg, Director of Library Services, Trinity Washington University
– Samantha Thompson-Franklin, Associate Professor/Collections & Acquisitions Librarian, Lewis-Clark State College LibraryThank 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 us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.
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