We need to constantly change to survive.

Young boy tending freshly stocked fruit and vegetable stand at Center Market, 02181915This 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:

Reference librarians, Children’s librarians and Librarian Specialists (a specific specialty like Art, Music and Special Collections). All managers are librarians except the circ manager and one budget manager.

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in an urban 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?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met the minimum requirements.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Sometimes the HR staff will review first to eliminate the applicants who obviously do not meet the minimum requirements then the hiring manager in the library will review the rest though they can always look at the entire group.

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

Does not meet the minimum requirements and there are plenty of applicants that do meet the requirements.

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

√ Other: The HR department will give feedback about an interview upon request. It is done in person and not in writing.

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

Be honest. Read the job description and requirements carefully.

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?

√ Other: 0

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?

√ Yes

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

Yes and official.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It is a never ending evolving profession. It could die if those in the profession do not want to change but I think there are enough who realize we need to constantly change to survive.

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.


1 Comment

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

One response to “We need to constantly change to survive.

  1. a

    I think it’s unfortunate and doesn’t help the community, the taxpayers, when middle-aged librarians lucky enough to have gotten a degree, or several, when it didn’t cost as much as it does now, with decades of experience, are hired for low- paying, part-time, entry level jobs that only pay around $10.58 an hour, only to spend their work hours gossiping and complaining or celebrating the great things that are going on in their lives to their co-workers.

    Just because someone didn’t attend college, doesn’t mean that they’re not smart enough to do a customer service job or are unwilling to work. I earned A’s and B’s in high school, I read a lot of books throughout my childhood, but, as a would-be first generation college student, I couldn’t afford college (my younger brother’s college degree cost $52,000, which is too expensive for me to take on). There are some of us younger, unemployed people in our 20s and 30s who, although we don’t have a degree or decades of experience as middle-aged people, actually would like to have an opportunity to work and would be grateful for it, unlike degreed middle-aged employees being paid for complaining on the job and thinking of it as only a paycheck to supplement their social security.


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