“Librarianship” is dying, but specific applications are thriving

View of street vendors at 7th and B Streets, NW (Ca. 1880) MarketThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

catalogers, reference, instruction, managers, programmers, outreach, access services, ILL, collection development, fundraisers, so many more…

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in a suburban area in the Southern 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?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met minimum qualifications; used proper grammar, spelling, punctuation.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Search committee. HR is not involved. We use a checklist to screen minimum qualifications and preferred qualifications.

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

Not completing our extra requirement – we often give direction on a hiring posting to respond with a short essay on a related topic.

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?

Read all of the instructions.

I want to hire someone who is

Energetic

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 100-200

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?

√ 3-4

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?

√ Yes

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

No

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Yes

Why or why not?

We are too fragmented. Public, school, special, academic – totally different jobs even in each type. “Librarianship” is dying, but specific applications are thriving. Is a librarian who does websites the same as a librarian that does storytimes? Is a librarian who does marketing and supervision the same as a reference librarian? The term “Librarian” is wrong.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

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