I think “tenure track” librarian positions are on the way out.

Queipo Market in Little Havana - MiamiThis 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:

Electronic Resources, Cataloging

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Midwestern US.

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 less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met stated minimum qualifications

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Search Committee evaluates each applicant based upon stated qualifications. Those who meet stated qualifications receive further discussion. Committee then decides upon finalists for phone interviews.

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

Don’t meet stated qualifications, or don’t appear to meet them well. Also, compare to other candidates (especially as it relates to relevant experience).

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Other: Not unless requested

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Don’t apply for jobs for which you do not meet the stated minimum qualifications. In your cover letter, clearly address how your education and experience relates to the job you are applying for & why you would see yourself as a good fit for the job.

I want to hire someone who is


How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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

√ 2

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

√ Other: 0

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?

Generally, yes, but it depends on the position. It is harder to do for “specialist” positions (e.g., those that require particular subject expertise) as opposed to more general positions such as instruction librarians.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It is evolving, but I wouldn’t say dying. I think “tenure track” librarian positions are on the way out. At our institution we have several MLS employees that are in full-time staff positions (not tenure-track librarian positions). It is difficult to receive approval for tenure-track positions, so we’ve recreated some positions to be staff level. This has been done with some reluctance, but it has been necessary. There are a large number of MLS candidates willing to fill these positions.

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 10-50 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

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