This 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:
Youth Services and adult reference positions
This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban area in the Northeastern 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”?
1) having appropriate credentials (MLS or equivilent) and education (taking at least 1 class in the area I’m hiring for)
2) having appropriate experience (either working, volunteering, or doing an internship in the area I’m hiring for)
3) Being able to articulate a personal value proposition that relates to my position – too many cover letters tell me what a candidate wants to do with his/her career, not what he/she can do for my library
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
I am the director of a very small library. I look at the applications and have the final say, but I included all full-time staff (1 librarian, 1 paraprofessional) in the resume review and interviewing process.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Lack of MLS or equivilent
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?
Obtain skills and abilities that go beyond the MLS – graphic design, web design, writing, fundraising
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?
√ 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?
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?
We don’t require experience, but we would look at someone with experience first. However, experience can also be an internship or volunteer experience – it does not have to be a paid position.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
√ Other: Changing & constricting
Why or why not?
Since many librarian positions are government (municipal, state, federal) jobs, and there is considerable pressure to eliminate government jobs, it stands to reason traditional librarian positions are shrinking. There is always the possibility that librarian positions will reinvent themselves, but right now it’s hard to see how that will happen.
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.