Librarians are moving into roles of coach, teacher, concierge, and curator

Astor Market - Demonstrating CoffeeThis 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:

reference & instruction, courseware, instructional design, interns

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area in the Northeastern US.

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

√ 75-100

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met just basic qualifications stated in job posting

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Applications are weeded by HR and an online system. Candidates who do not have appropriate education or relevant experience are not consideration.

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

Poor written communication skills: vocabulary, spelling, grammar, inappropriate writing style, typos, formatting.

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?

Describe clearly how they believe they are best qualified for the job, specifically addressing every qualification in the job posting.

I want to hire someone who is

genuine

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

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

√ 7 or more

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 fewer positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

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?

Yes. It is an official requirement.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It is a profession in flux. Librarians are moving into roles of coach, teacher, concierge, and curator, and they need to articulate their roles beyond just claims of being gatekeepers to collections. Librarians must engage their constituencies, understand larger publishing trends and patterns of local usage, and stage interventions when there is evidence of low information literacy, poor student learning outcomes, low-quality research at the institutional level, and a lack of understanding among administrators about the value of providing access to information in all formats and cost challenges in the marketplace for electronic database products.

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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1 Comment

Filed under 200+ staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

One response to “Librarians are moving into roles of coach, teacher, concierge, and curator

  1. Yes…keep up or get left behind. Our roles are changing and it is very exciting

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