Read the job ad. Don’t just apply because it’s an open job in a library.

Paramaribo market scene. Women and men. 1922.This 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:

Subject librarians.

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in an urban 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?

√ Other: 5 or Fewer

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met the job requirements (this position had some fairly specific requirements), was interested in the position and the institution.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

They go through HR to make sure they meet the bare minimum – for faculty librarian positions, that is “do they have the library degree”. After that, they go to the search committee who evaluates them against a rubric drawn from the vacancy announcement.

Requirements are just that, requirements and as a state institution, if you don’t meet the required qualifications, we can’t hire you. And if one applicant makes it clear they meet requirement X and another may or may not depending on how we interpret a statement…well, the first applicant gets a check mark in that column and the second doesn’t.

We try to be reasonable about our required qualifications and keep them to what the person we hire must have. Other things, the “nice to haves” go into the preferred qualifications, and someone can absolutely be hired without one of those.

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

They don’t meet the minimum – or don’t make it possible to tell they meet the minimum requirements.

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 the job ad. Don’t just apply because it’s an open job in a library. If you apply for everything

I want to hire someone who is


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?

√ 1

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

√ 5-6

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

√ There are fewer 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?

Not necessarily – but it often happens that they do have 1-2 years experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

No, but it’s changing. The traditional things aren’t necessarily what we will be doing and job candidates need to understand that. I’m not going to hire someone who wants to sit behind a desk and do reference all day. I need people to be engaged with the life of the university, especially on the research side. And that’s not just helping people find an article, but working with faculty on grants, developing new services, digging into digital humanities work. And I need people who can see the possibilities of what libraries and librarians can be in the changing academic world.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: 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, Urban area

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