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:
Catalogers/Metadata librarians, subject liaisons, special collections librarians, electronic resources librarians, technical services librarians.
This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Western US.
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?
√ 25% or less
And how would you define “hirable”?
Many librarians apply with no experience and they never mention in their letter of application anything about the job for which they are applying.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
Yes, minimum requirements are specified that will weed out potential applicants. However, we are still able to view these applications.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
An applicant applies for a job, but does not tailor their letter, resume, or application to the job. They never connect their experience or education to the job. They never express desire to work in this capacity.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
√ Other: Only if I am personally contacted by the applicant.
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
They must write well, and express their desire and qualifications for the job at hand in a letter of application. If I get a generic letter, it goes in the “No” pile right away.
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 more 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?
We want to see good internships, volunteer experience, or previous library work experience of any kind such as working in a college library as a student worker. We would not list it as an official requirement, but it would be a preferred requirement in the job ad.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
Why or why not?
Libraries are changing, and thus so are the nature of librarian positions, but I don’t see a reduction in need for librarians. We have hired an assessment librarian which is a new area. Digital librarians and those in charge of electronic resources are growing. While our automation system has allowed cataloging and acquisitions to merge somewhat, we still need original cataloging/metadata for electronic theses and dissertations, special collections materials, and other unique items.
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For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.