They have to provide documentation if they choose not to interview someone who is minimally qualified.

OUTDOOR MARKET AT HAYMARKET SQUARE. PUBLIC PROTEST KEPT THE SQUARE FROM BECOMING PART OF AN EXPRESSWAY, 051973This 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:

All required for large research institution’s library.

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in a cluster of small cities in the Northeastern US.

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

√ Other: really varies by the position, but I have heard of between 10-100 applications

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Generally speaking, they have an MLS or MIS and meet most of the requirements of the job description.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Search committee members are given access to applications through an HR software system. The first step of the search committee is to identify candidates who are minimally qualified for first round (phone) interviews. A spreadsheet is developed by HR where search committee members can check off minimum qualifications for each candidate – then all search committee members compare notes. Search committees are 3-6 people and are representative of different staff levels and include representatives from departments that the candidate would work with.

They have to provide documentation if they choose not to interview someone who is minimally qualified. They do phone interviews and recommend candidates for on-campus interviews. All candidates are asked the same questions for phone and in-person interviews, and they all meet with all the same people. Questions are developed by the search committee and approved by HR.

The only way applications are kept from the search committee is if they come in after the application deadline – then, if the search committee doesn’t identify enough qualified applicants from the first round, they can see the additional applications.

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

Doesn’t meet the most important qualifications (they are listed in declining importance).

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?

Having experience or knowing about the issues related to the job he/she is applying for.

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?

√ 3-4

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 the same number of 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?

No full-time professional experience required, but generally the best entry level candidates straight from graduate school have either specialized in school or have worked in an applicable department in library school. We have 5 ranks of librarians and generally they are ranked appropriately by how much experience the position would require.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Some positions are no longer relevant, but it continues to evolve.

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, Northeastern US, State of the Job Market 2015

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