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:
Public services/reference librarians
This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an suburban area rural area in the Southern 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”?
Met minimum qualifications and had the skills we were looking for/needed.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
All applications were evaluated by the search committee.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Did not meet minimum qualifications.
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?
Be able to demonstrate the needed/required skills. A webpage or electronic portfolio with previous work is a must.
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 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?
Varies by position, but any kind of experience is a big plus.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
Why or why not?
I could go on for hours. Want to get coffee? The profession is not keeping up with the changes in information publication and dissemination and changes in higher education. Library school curriculum is mostly the same as it was 15-20 years ago, and far, far too many librarians simply want to do what they did in their jobs 15-20 years ago. So many experienced librarians think technology is only something “young” people know about and refuse to learn about emerging technology. More and more academic libraries need to demonstrate impact on student learning and retention, difficult enough, and without the ability to change and adapt and re-define what librarianship is that will just not happen. Not just demonstrating the impact, but actually making an impact. Because we really do not need someone with a master’s degree demonstrating how to use a discovery tool to undergrads. Librarians need to learn to do something more, better, and different to survive. Of course, a lot of people will answer this question with the usual “hip, hip, hooray” nonsense about being passionate about librarianship and how great it is, but that is doing nothing to keep the profession relevant. We need critical eyes to evaluate the profession and make changes. Who is going to do that? Certainly not ALA or ACRL.
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.
One response to “A webpage or electronic portfolio with previous work is a must.”