Emily Passey is the Assistant Director for Shorewood Public Library, in Shorewood, WI (a suburb of Milwaukee). She is proud of her library’s strong relationships with community businesses and organizations and her own presentations at two library conferences in spring of 2014. When not at work, you can find her hanging out with her greyhound, Swift. She is on Twitter (although not particularly active) @emilybrarian , and you can find her on LinkedIn.
She told us a little bit about her own job hunt,
I just moved to my position, which requires me to hire circulation staff and assist with hiring librarians, in August 2014. Before that, I was the young adult librarian at Shorewood Library for about two years. To get that job I applied for 45 jobs, and interviewed for 15!
Ms. Passey has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. She hires the following types of LIS professionals:
assist with hiring professional librarians in all areas of library
Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?
Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?
√ 26-50 %
And how would you define “hirable”?
Meets the job qualifications of required education and experience level.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
Applications are evaluated by me. Top applicants for librarian positions are then reviewed by the Library Director. All other hires go only through me.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Experience does not match job requirements. We recently filled a Young Adult Librarian position for which at least 50% of applicants were disqualified because they lacked public library experience and/or experience working with youth in any capacity.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
√ Yes. – I emailed all applicants for the YA position, and included a sentence or two on why they were not chosen to be interviewed. Those we interviewed received a more detailed email on why they were not chosen for the position.
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
For librarian jobs: Get the experience you want to use to apply for the job you want. Volunteer, intern, do whatever it takes to gain relevant experience doing what you are interested in, and apply to jobs which match that experience.
I want to hire someone who is
How many staff members are at your library/organization?
How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?
How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?
Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?
√ Other: I’ve been here for just over two years. In that time, we have changed our focus to better match our perceived community needs by replacing a Technology Manager/Librarian with a Community & Adult Services Librarian. We have also added one permanent, full-time librarian (administrator) position in the form of Assistant Director, which we did two years ago when the paraprofessional Circulation Manager retired.
Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?
Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?
√ Yes – I believe one has.
Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?
For paraprofessionals (all are entry-level) and/or other hires such as shelvers: no. We do not require experience.
No librarian job is considered entry level, because we do not have multiple middle management positions into which librarians can be promoted. All librarian hires need to have relevant experience. It is an official requirement.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.