Further Questions: Aside from library experience, what volunteer and/or work experience do you find valuable in applicants and new hires?

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?

Petra MauerhoffSome 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 kingCustomer service!




-Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus

Marleah AugustineAnything 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 BergRetail experience. Really, any experience in a setting in which one interacts with the public of members of a community.



-Jacob Berg, Director of Library Services,  Trinity Washington University

Samantha Thompson-FranklinI think that any volunteer experience related to customer service, working with people, or working on a project would be valuable for people applying for any type of library position.



– Samantha Thompson-Franklin, Associate Professor/Collections & Acquisitions Librarian, Lewis-Clark State College Library

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 us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

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Filed under Further Questions

2 responses to “Further Questions: Aside from library experience, what volunteer and/or work experience do you find valuable in applicants and new hires?

  1. Pingback: Further Questions Questions | Hiring Librarians

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