Tech skills are absolutely needed.

Outdoor urban market sceneThis anonymous interview is with an employee who works in an academic library employee and has been a member of a hiring or search committee. When asked, “Are you a librarian?” the respondent said “It’s complicated.” This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Research services, scholarly communication

This employee works at a library with 100-200 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?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Have the technical knowledge and soft skills required to do the job.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR weeds out initial applications, search committee ranks remaining applicants, first round invited for Skype interviews (top 5-6) , second round invited for in person (top 3).

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

Poor application (eg no cover letter, materials not customized to position).

Application does not demonstrate skills related to position

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

√ Other: Not sure

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

Apply for jobs actually qualified for. Continue professional development and show evidence of skills ( certification, etc)

I want to hire someone who is


How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 100-200

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

√ 5-6

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

√ 5-6

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ I don’t know

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?

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

What happens in practice.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It is changing but not dying. Tech skills are absolutely needed.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

1 Comment

Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

One response to “Tech skills are absolutely needed.

  1. It is hard to separate the profession from technology. They are gloriously married


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