When you have many applicants, you do tend to prefer people with experience

Pike Place Market looking north, Seattle, WashingtonThis anonymous interview is with a public 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 library staff at all levels

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a suburban area in the Western US.

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

√ more than 100, but less than 200

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Meet minimum qualifications – public library orientation – public service orientation

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Yes. HR does the first cut. They use evaluation criteria that we provide.

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

Lack of minimum qualifications. Lack or experience, or experience that is not relevant.

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?

Get experience in a work environment similar to ours – volunteer or hourly is fine. We just need to know that they understand the reality of day-to-day public library work.

I want to hire someone who is


How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 50-100

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

√ 2

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

√ 1

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?

Just what happens in practice. When you have many applicants, you do tend to prefer people with experience, but it is not a requirement. Since the old-fashioned ivory tower image of what goes on in the public library is so different from reality, we hesitate to hire someone that we feel may not understand what the average public service library work day is like.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

If you can continue to change and respond to contemporary needs, the public library is still a very vital community anchor. Those libraries that can’t or won’t change and are doing the same old thing in the same old way will not survive. That goes for staff doing things in the same old way, afraid to change, or library school graduates looking for a “safe haven” , a “refuge from the world” or other completely realistic expectations of a library career.

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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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area, Western US

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