Reference and information literacy
This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in a rural area in the Midwestern 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”?
Has experience relevant to the position: university library reference, information literacy, and outreach.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
The search committee reviews all applications that are received. Committee members use a checklist based on the job ad: required and preferred qualifications. Members meet to discuss their top choices. The more “yes” checkmarks, the more likely we’ll take the next step, which is a phone interview.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
No library experience whatsoever. Or experience that doesn’t fit our needs: such as an applicant with only children’s librarian experience applying for a university-level reference and information literacy position.
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?
In the cover letter, phone interview, and in-person interview: tell us what you can bring to the position, and how your skills and interests will benefit us. Saying the job is perfect for you is fine, but also say why you are perfect for us.
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?
The job ad usually asks for “experience with” a particular field or task, without specifying a number of years. Graduate assistant or volunteer experience does count. An applicant with no relevant experience isn’t likely to be selected for an interview.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
Why or why not?
Faculty and students still need a librarian’s experience and expertise to wade through the massive amount of information available.
For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.