This anonymous interview is with a public library employee who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. When asked, “Are you a librarian?” this person responded, “It’s complicated.” This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
First priority is children’s, teen, and adult services.
This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a rural area in the Western 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”?
Having the basic skills needed with potential to learn, grow, and advance in the library field.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
We are a small library so I, as director, weed out those who don’t qualify before sharing with a hiring committee. Committee members are selected from staff who will be most involved with the position available.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Obvious lack of necessary skills and qualifications needed for the position.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
√ Other: Sometimes. Depends on possibility of considering for another position more suited to applicant’s skills and talents.
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
Spelling, grammar, experience. Being in a small, rural community we consider a combination of education, library training, and related experience as our hiring pool can be limited.
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?
√ Other: no openings
How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?
√ Other: no openings
Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?
√ There are more 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?
Official requirement–but can be in a related field.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
Why or why not?
With the abundance of information out there, people need library-skilled workers to find reliable sources and materials to fill the required need or want.
For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.