LIS education is a bad joke.

Push cart market -- New York (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee, and a human resources professional. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Adult Services, Children’s Teens, Circulation Specialists, Paraprofessionals, Clerical, Subject Specialists.

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area in the Southern 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”?

Capable of mastering the basic skills necessary in a publicly funded customer institution in a way that would not be detrimental or embarrassing to the service as a whole.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR grades applications on a point scale based upon a committee designed legal job description

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

Illiteracy, spotty job history, insufficient credentials, falsehoods included on document, criminal record, fake references.

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

√ Other: If they ask, I will. It is against our policy, though

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

Have someone else proofread their application. Have someone else evaluate if they are addressing the job description. Don’t lie.

I want to hire someone who is

doesn’t immediately start our professional relationship making demands or questioning our judgment

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

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

√ 7 or more

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

√ 7 or more

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?

√ 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?

No, we do not. Due to the volume of hiring that we do, those with experience tend to interview better.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Yes

Why or why not?

Librarians are killing it. LIS education is a bad joke. We need people who have good IT skills and can talk with the public. These people no longer look to librarianship as a viable career. Instead they go to management positions in IT. We get the second careerers whose first careers just didn’t work out. There’s usually a compelling reason why, and its often not what they tell us.

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

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



Filed under 200+ staff members, Public, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

6 responses to “LIS education is a bad joke.

  1. Not IT

    What a cynical view of the profession. The person who interviewed for this sounds like a real winner who only picks winners and expects the best from them. NOT. Has this hiring librarian paused to think that maybe, just maybe the reason many of us librarians are on their second career is, oh you know, maybe due to the fact that this is on of the few jobs that require a masters degree for entry level work? Maybe quite a few of us decided to give our bachelors a spin on a little something something called ‘our first career’ before wanting to go back to grad school to be librarians? Yet, this same librarian bemoans LIS schools for not pumping out IT experts when the two professions are apples and oranges. If his/her library is willing to dish out an IT industry competitive salary offer to an IT professional, which I’m certain they cannot, yet expect them to perform their non IT duties every bit as good as a librarian, which I am certain they cannot, then great. Want more cheese with that whine?


  2. Pingback: Weekly Round Up (#32) | Black 'n Write

  3. pigbitinmad

    Again, another person who wants “good IT skills” but never explains what they mean. What are these fantastically rare IT skills that you can’t find for $8.00 an hour?

    I am not being facetious, I want one person to tell me. And I want you to be very specific. Programming in Drupal? XML? HTML? Power POint? Excel? Google Analytics? SPSS? Relational databases? Please! I want a list of every single thing you are looking for. I know I won’t get it because then you would have to come up with another reason to deny us loser-ish career changers a job.

    I once interviewed at a place that said that I couldn’t possibly know all that stuff because only Millennials “grew up using it.” This interviewer admitted he was “bad with computers” so that I must be too because I was his age. I get the feeling you are a lot like that guy. You should get your head out of your A$$ and stop being so judgmental. I am sure you think I am a negative creep, but you should hear yourself.

    I have been using computers since BEFORE the Millennials were even born and I have kept up with it. To put it another way. Who do you think would actually know more about cars. Someone who learned back in the days when you had to crank them up? Or someone who learned to drive an automatic? Because you know where the on switch is, doesn’t mean you know jack.

    I am not programming the space shuttle, but no librarian I have ever met in my life outside of IT knew more than I did and I was always able to use technology in ways that never occurred to them.


  4. pigbitinmad

    Anyway, there are easier ways to make $2000 every few months that will not require you to have 24/7 availability and a totally unpredictable schedule. Just become a Straw Buyer for one of those luxury car exporters that sells Jaguar’s and Porsche’s to Chinese Oligarchs. Never heard of it? Neither did I. Yes, the automakers frown upon this (because they can get more for the cars by selling them in China), but it is not illegal. You just have to be presentable and able to spell “cat” and “dog” (well, actually that is something this hiring manager would not think I am capable of having not graduated from an “elite” library school) but I digress.)

    Even the attorney general has had to return all the confiscated automobiles because nobody broke the law. I say this to everyone who has been shut out of the new economy simply because you are A) female and B) over 50. This could be the one career where age is an asset….although I am sure it helps to be a guy.

    Keep shutting people like me out of the legit economy and you will get Donald Trump for President. Not because we think he will be good, but because we think he might be VERY BAD for smug people like the poster of this advice who believe they are untouchable.


    • pigbitinmad

      Guess what? My prediction that Donald Trump would be president was right on! Not that I voted for him. I am not that crazy, but the poster of this nasty observation (ie. that all career changers are losers and that no good people ever get laid off) really ought to step up and own this fact. She caused it….and of course others like her. I know, I have been interviewing for more than ten years and they always ASK you about your tech skills, but they never TEST you on it?

      Could that be because they have already made up their mind that you are stupid and that nothing you say could possibly be true?

      You should listen to us LOSERS once in a while and I hope your life gets up ended in the Hell that is sure to come in the next four years. Then perhaps you can revisit your nasty, smub self via this board.

      You are worse than a Troll because you have the power of life and death over people.


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