Barbara Burd is currently Dean of Library Services at Kimbel Library and Bryan Information Commons at Coastal Carolina University, a mid-sized public institution, in Conway, SC, just about 8 miles from Myrtle Beach. She holds a BA in English and Secondary Education, an MLS, and a PhD in Leadership Studies. Her primary research interests are information literacy, assessment, and organizational behavior. Having been a librarian for 20 years, she’s had numerous opportunities to review applications and to hire librarians. Her most recent achievement is the design and opening of the Bryan Information Commons, a wonderful, collaborative, high-technology work space for our community. Dr. Burd is involved with ALA, ACRL, and LLAMA, and in her home community, working with Freedom Readers, a non-profit literacy organization that provides volunteer reading tutors to underserved children in our area. Dr. Burd hires the following types of LIS professionals:
Systems and technology, collection management, information literacy, reference.
Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?
√ 25 or fewer
Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?
√ 25 or fewer
And how would you define “hirable”?
Meet minimum requirements for the position
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
Applicants apply through the online HR system, search committee from the library reviews the applications using a rubric that address minimum and preferred qualifications, candidates are approved by Equal Opportunity, phone interviews are conducted and then recommendations to bring to campus are presented to the dean.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
doesn’t meet minimum requirements, poorly written cover letter that does not address requirements of the position
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
carefully review the job ad and respond to the requirements for the position, most applicants use a generic letter that has nothing to do with the job for which they’re applying
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?
√ There are the same number of positions
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?
Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?
experience in an academic library is desired, but this can be an internship during library school or other experience. applicants with experience are preferred.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
Why or why not?
While the library is changing in terms of how it responds to the needs of its constituents, there is more than ever a need to provide the expertise of librarians and professional staff to navigate the information overload and technology competencies needed for student success. The library is more valuable than ever.
Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?
The most important thing for job hunters to know is that the cover letter will determine whether their application is considered. Do away with generic cover letters and address the position for which you’re applying. Make sure that you explain how you meet the minimum and/or preferred requirements for the position and why you can do the job. It’s also impressive if you show that you’ve done some research on the institution and can reference that in your letter. Make sure that your letter is well-written, free from grammatical and spelling errors. I’ve too often seen letters referencing a different institution or position–these are immediately discarded.
Do you hire librarians? Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey
Or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.