Retirements are happening fast and frequent

Fruit and vegetable vendors, Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington

This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Academic librarians, mainly public service

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in a suburban area in the Northeastern US.

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

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

All the required qualifications

How are applications evaluated, and by whom? For example, are a certain number or type of applications weeded out by HR before they even get to you? Are there rubrics? Committees?

No applications are weeded by HR, the search committee decides everything. First we all review them and identify applications to remove based on not meeting minimum criteria. Next we score all remaining candidates based on a each qualification separately.

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

Not meeting basic experience or educational criteria.

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

√ No

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

Be clear about all job duties (teaching, collections work, and public service) for each job listed. For tenure track positions, list all publications and service in date order.

I want to hire someone who is 


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

√ 7 or more

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

√ 7 or more

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

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

√ No

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

√ No

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

Yes, there is no requirement, but our university provides financial incentives to the library budget to do so.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Library use is growing and librarians can do more than ever with digital information.

Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?

Retirements are happening fast and frequent

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey:

Or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.


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Filed under 200+ staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, Suburban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

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