Stats and Graphs: State of the Library Job Market

It’s Staturday!

204 people who hire librarians have responded to our new State of the Library Job Market Survey.  It’s still open, so if you’ve hired at least one librarian and want to add your voice, please visit:

And now, here are the


Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

25 or fewer 86 42%
25-75 74 36%
75-100 20 10%
more than 100, but less than 200 15 7%
more than 200 2 1%
Other 5 2%

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

25% or less 130 64%
26-50% 41 20%
51-75% 10 5%
more than 75% 6 6%
Other 15 7%

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

Yes 17 8%
No 123 60%
Other 61 30%

The Workplace

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

0-10 33 16%
10-50 80 39%
50-100 32 16%
100-200 30 15%
200+ 27 13%

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

1 43 21%
2 44 22%
3-4 38 19%
5-6 29 14%
7 or more 22 11%
Other 26 13%

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

1 29 14%
2 29 14%
3-4 39 19%
5-6 23 11%
7 or more 33 16%
Other 43 21%

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

There are more positions 73 36%
There are fewer positions 67 33%
There are the same number of positions 41 20%
I don’t know 13 6%
Other 6 3%

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

Yes 53 26%
No 126 62%
I don’t know 14 7%
Other 8 4%

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

Yes 53 26%
No 128 63%
I don’t know 14 7%
Other 6 3%

Is librarianship a dying profession?

Yes 9 4%
No 151 74%
I don’t know 16 8%
Other 24 12%


Where are you?

Northeastern US 39 19%
Midwestern US 48 24%
Southern US 53 26%
Western US 51 25%
Canada 4 2%
UK 1 0%
Australia/New Zealand 0 0%
Other 5 2%

Where are you?

Urban area 80 39%
Suburban area 78 38%
Rural area 38 19%
Other 6 3%

What type of institution do you hire for?

Academic Library 106 52%
Public Library 78 38%
School Library 1 0%
Special Library 4 2%
Archives 1 0%
Other 9 4%

Are you a librarian?

Yes 189 93%
No 3 1%
It’s complicated 9 4%

Are you now or have you ever been:

A hiring manager 167 82%
A member of a hiring or search committee 181 89%
Human resources 11 5%
Other 6 3%

Would you like to have information about you or your organization shared ?

No, I prefer to remain anonymous 178 87%
Yes, and I’ll give you my email address on the next page 24 12

We’ll post the first full response tomorrow.   You’ll see longer answers to questions such as:

And how would you define “hirable”?

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

I want to hire someone who is ___________.

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

Is librarianship a dying profession? Why or why not?


Filed under State of the Job Market 2015, Stats and Graphs

104 responses to “Stats and Graphs: State of the Library Job Market

  1. Nick Krabbenhoeft

    Do you plan to make your dataset available for download? Or would you share it with others on an individual basis? It looks like a great dataset, and I would love to explore it.


    • hmmm. I don’t plan on making it available for download – one of the things I promise respondents is confidentiality, and releasing the complete dataset would compromise that. I *am* interested in providing more analysis for readers, so if that is something you’re interested in working on, email me and we can chat about the possibility.


  2. Pingback: We are mentoring them and encouraging them to apply for advancement | Hiring Librarians

  3. Pingback: State of the Library Job Market Survey Results…01.19.15 | The Proverbial Lone Wolf Librarian's Weblog

  4. Pingback: We look for someone with some prior experience while in library school | Hiring Librarians

  5. Thanks, Emily, this makes for very interesting reading!

    I was a bit skeptical about the relatively low percentage of part-time or hourly hires replacing full-time, salaried positions, since this doesn’t square with my impression of what’s happening in public libraries. But then I noticed that 52% of respondents are from academic libraries versus only 38% from public libraries, so perhaps the hourly/part-time trend has not hit academic libraries as hard. -Judy Atterholt


  6. Pingback: News: State of the Library Market Job Survey | The Traveling Librarian

  7. Interesting results but not totally suprising. I don’t think it’s useful anymore to ask the readers of this specialized blog: “Are you a librarian?” And “Is librarianship a dying profession?” That’s not the purpose of a library/information science university degree anymore. Graduates in the past 2 decades (I graduated even earlier.) do take mandatory courses and have skills that are transferable for the information management industry.

    The focus of this blog needs to broaden to be of greater value to job seekers.


    • I ask those questions because I’m interested, frankly. I’m not particularly interested in the information management industry. The broader LIS fields are tangential for me. They’re part of the breadth of my field, and I’m happy to include them if they wish to be included, but really this is a blog about Hiring Librarians. Absolutely no disrespect to anyone in those fields, it’s just my personal interest.

      Librarians have this cultural anxiety about “dying” I was looking to see what the responses would look like if I asked that in a largely anonymous forum. The consensus seems to be “not dying but changing”

      And I’m sure that this is related to your wish to see a broader scope in this blog.

      The issue is that we don’t know what that change will look like. I hope that we can change and still be just “librarians.”


      • Blog is your baby. Understood.
        “The issue is that we don’t know what that change will look like. I hope that we can change and still be just “librarians.”

        As you know already, the work scope of “librarians” in the 21st century has changed and the expression of the work and service offerings, for some libraries.

        My feedback is most likely a reflection of 75% of my career in special libraries. I have never worked in academic, public nor school libraries. Now for last few years, the switch for me has been to knowledge management and e-records management..this actually may be the growth area but sometimes has practitioners who do NOT have formal training and expertise on systems standards setting, best practices, marketing and performance metrics. It’s painful to witness this and sometimes it’s large organizations. Big systems dollars involved.


      • JoAnn Tebo

        We are not “dying”, but are just undergoing metamorphosis! Same species, different approach to our world.


  8. If your readers want you to continue to confine the blog just to librarian roles, then great!


    • I don’t think it’s confined, just biased. Like I said, I’m not adverse to including other LIS perspectives.


    • I don’t think it’s so much a question of what the readers want. The blogger gets to decide what she’s interested in blogging about, and readers get to decide whether or not they are interested in reading the blog. 🙂
      But I’m sure there are people out there blogging about knowledge management, special libraries, or other topics of interest. If not, it would be a great opportunity to start your own blog!


  9. Pingback: we hired a new grad who worked at the research desk of a university during grad school. | Hiring Librarians

  10. Pingback: I emailed all applicants for the YA position, and included a sentence or two on why they were not chosen to be interviewed | Hiring Librarians

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  12. Pingback: We are in the information age | Hiring Librarians

  13. Pingback: missing no more than one-two of the required qualifications | Hiring Librarians

  14. Pingback: The candidate fell short on one category. | Hiring Librarians

  15. Pingback: As I review applications, I’m always asking myself, “What’s in it for us? | Hiring Librarians

  16. Pingback: So much of the decision is about personal fit | Hiring Librarians

  17. Pingback: We are always looking for new, excited librarians to hire when we have an opening. | Hiring Librarians

  18. Pingback: Tech – learn it and communicate it on your Resume/CV! | Hiring Librarians

  19. Pingback: Someone who would take risk, ask uncomfortable questions and think outside the box | Hiring Librarians

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  21. Pingback: Each of our positions is a solo librarian | Hiring Librarians

  22. Pingback: It went down in the first part of the past decade but it is now back to where it was. | Hiring Librarians

  23. Pingback: “Librarianship” is dying, but specific applications are thriving | Hiring Librarians

  24. Pingback: my question is, what were you doing with the time you weren’t working? | Hiring Librarians

  25. Pingback: librarians who possess knowledge of the digital experience can be valuable to organizations that need usability expertise, | Hiring Librarians

  26. Pingback: We have very few entry-level professional positions | Hiring Librarians

  27. Pingback: Seriously consider how your library and information science education can be used in other fields | Hiring Librarians

  28. Pingback: There is a level of expertise required that can only be filled by a trained librarian. | Hiring Librarians

  29. Pingback: Read the job ad. Don’t just apply because it’s an open job in a library. | Hiring Librarians

  30. Pingback: There is a lot of regard for the contributions of librarians who fit this description. | Hiring Librarians

  31. Pingback: Internal candidates can receive interview feedback with HR | Hiring Librarians

  32. Pingback: HR weeded applications but I still read them all and un-weeded some. | Hiring Librarians

  33. Pingback: Be interested in the job. | Hiring Librarians

  34. Pingback: Be bold — take a chance and apply for positions that excite you | Hiring Librarians

  35. Pingback: I would rather hire somebody who has a ton of IT experience or has a PhD in education or who actually understands about research than a person who only has an MLIS | Hiring Librarians

  36. Pingback: We have hired new librarians | Hiring Librarians

  37. Pingback: Students and faculty alike usually turn to the librarian when finding relevant information is required. | Hiring Librarians

  38. Pingback: She had shown so much hustle on her resume it showed how hard she is willing to work | Hiring Librarians

  39. Pingback: In fact, I was hired without any library experience | Hiring Librarians

  40. Pingback: They have to provide documentation if they choose not to interview someone who is minimally qualified. | Hiring Librarians

  41. Pingback: We will occasionally choose to interview persons who do not exactly meet our criteria | Hiring Librarians

  42. Pingback: Currently we have an academic president who does not support libraries | Hiring Librarians

  43. Pingback: If we fill positions with those who insist on holding the profession back they will be the last generation of librarians. | Hiring Librarians

  44. Pingback: lack of professional positions for graduates | Hiring Librarians

  45. Pingback: Many applicants can spin related experience to their advantage | Hiring Librarians

  46. Pingback: no red flags in their application (positive recommendations, no disciplinary/criminal issues). | Hiring Librarians

  47. Pingback: The less you need the job, the more likely you are to be hired. | Hiring Librarians

  48. Pingback: If I see a pattern of job-hopping, I’ll be very wary of hiring that person. | Hiring Librarians

  49. Pingback: We are hiring more librarian positions when para-professional positions become vacant. | Hiring Librarians

  50. Pingback: We’ll take a student straight out of grad school if they have the right personality. | Hiring Librarians

  51. Pingback: been losing positions | Hiring Librarians

  52. Pingback: There are always plenty of applicants with experience so those with none aren’t interviewed. | Hiring Librarians

  53. Pingback: Digital librarians and those in charge of electronic resources are growing. | Hiring Librarians

  54. Pingback: I think “tenure track” librarian positions are on the way out. | Hiring Librarians

  55. Pingback: Our MLS schools need to be careful they do not take away the beauty of librarianship. | Hiring Librarians

  56. Pingback: I don’t really think of librarianship as a profession. | Hiring Librarians

  57. Pingback: Traditional positions like bibliographer or reference librarian are dying | Hiring Librarians

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  59. Pingback: You might be pleasantly surprised at how nice people are, especially library people. | Hiring Librarians

  60. Pingback: Quit spewing out mass applications. | Hiring Librarians

  61. Pingback: questionable work history, overqualified individuals, and others that seem would not be a good fit. | Hiring Librarians

  62. Pingback: Do not overwhelm with too much information e.g. pages and pages of publications. | Hiring Librarians

  63. Pingback: Librarianship is too willing to change with the wind | Hiring Librarians

  64. Pingback: A webpage or electronic portfolio with previous work is a must. | Hiring Librarians

  65. Pingback: Librarians are moving into roles of coach, teacher, concierge, and curator | Hiring Librarians

  66. Pingback: This is a time of exciting challenges! | Hiring Librarians

  67. Pingback: As long as there are libraries, there will be librarians. | Hiring Librarians

  68. Pingback: trivia skills or the ability to track down info in print resources aren’t really the focus anymore | Hiring Librarians

  69. Pingback: libraries are not quiet :) | Hiring Librarians

  70. Pingback: Librarianship is changing into a community connections field, where we connect people with other people or services that can benefit them | Hiring Librarians

  71. Pingback: Traditional librarianship is not so much dying as out of fashion | Hiring Librarians

  72. Pingback: many applicants do not answer these truthfully, in order to get their cvs to the committee | Hiring Librarians

  73. Pingback: HR can, and has, refuse to hire the candidate we recommend, without explanation | Hiring Librarians

  74. Pingback: Tech skills are absolutely needed. | Hiring Librarians

  75. Pingback: we have one person on the committee throw those out right away | Hiring Librarians

  76. Pingback: Lack of experience with either the target patron group or the targeted job skills | Hiring Librarians

  77. Pingback: Working as an archivist for 15 years does not make you qualified for a youth services position. | Hiring Librarians

  78. Pingback: One of the most common issues is lack of experience | Hiring Librarians

  79. Pingback: my dept. isn’t the only one that hires librarians | Hiring Librarians

  80. Pingback: Being in a small, rural community we consider a combination of education, library training, and related experience as our hiring pool can be limited | Hiring Librarians

  81. Pingback: Librarians no longer work in book storage buildings recommending favorite reads | Hiring Librarians

  82. Pingback: I want to hire someone who is a team player | Hiring Librarians

  83. Pingback: Librarians are stewards of societies. | Hiring Librarians

  84. Pingback: We’re looking for specialists…not just a general “librarian.” | Hiring Librarians

  85. Pingback: However, “experience” to us can mean internship/volunteer experience obtained as a student. | Hiring Librarians

  86. Pingback: However, “experience” to us can mean internship/volunteer experience obtained as a student. | Hiring Librarians

  87. Pingback: Does not have the requested qualifications or experience. | Hiring Librarians

  88. Pingback: Information is power and we have it in our hands. | Hiring Librarians

  89. Pingback: I am not familiar with the formal process for evaluating candidates prior to inviting them to an interview. | Hiring Librarians

  90. Pingback: Children like books a lot and, coincidentally, children are our future. | Hiring Librarians

  91. Pingback: One person spent the whole interview badmouthing her last boss | Hiring Librarians

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  94. Pingback: The job hunter is WASTING THE TIME OF THE SEARCH COMMITTEE by applying for a job if he/she does not meet the written qualifications. | Hiring Librarians

  95. Pingback: Those who don’t evolve will die out | Hiring Librarians

  96. Pingback: Be prepared to give a good answer without too much hesitance. | Hiring Librarians

  97. Ken Duncan

    Thanks for these stats. As an adjunct librarian who is seeking a F/T academic librarian position, it is heartening to know that people really are being hired, and that for many searches, I only have to be mroe awesome than 25 other people :-). I found one of the comments interesting. The commenter said that he/she would rather hire someone with an IT background or someone with a Ph.D. who understands research than someone with an MLIS. I wish I could talk to that person because I have several years of professional IT experience (web applications to low-level system database code), a Ph.D. in the humanities, and an MLIS (plus reference and instruction experience). Maybe the person would hire me, because that combination has not gotten me a position yet, although it is getting me interviews.


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