This anonymous interview is with a librarian who works for a public library consulting service and has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
Youth services specialists, technology consultants, and adult services generalists.
This librarian works at a library with 0-10 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 or fewer
Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?
√ 25% or less
And how would you define “hirable”?
Met the qualifications in terms of education & experience.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
As the executive director of our organization, I do the “first cut” look to make sure the applicants meet the basic requirements of education & experience. We are a very small organization & don’t have an HR department.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Education & experience is lacking.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
Read the job posting carefully and make sure your education & experience are a good fit before applying. Do not just apply for something at a place you’d like to work to get a foot in the door if you are not really qualified.
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?
√ 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 the same number of 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 don’t hire entry-level professionals. We are a consulting organization to other public libraries, and as such, we must have experienced librarians.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
Why or why not?
We are re-inventing ourselves as community hubs of information & recreation. Libraries are developing makerspaces, have programs of interest, and supply communities with networking opportunities in a forum that is free and open to all. We serve all ages, all races, all ethnicities, and all levels of literacy.
Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?
Don’t be afraid to take a job in a part of the country that you have never lived in or considered working in. You might be pleasantly surprised at how nice people are, especially library people.
For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.