This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
Reference librarians and desk staff
This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban 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”?
Adequate experience for the position in which they are hiring, capable of the duties assigned to the position, and able to communicate effectively and efficiently
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
Evaluated by the primary hiring person of the department. If it’s a manager, that application is evaluated by the HR manager and the director. If a department member, it is evaluated first by the manager and then the director.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Not enough experience, or applicable experience
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?
Apply for jobs for which they have actual experience. I understand it is a difficult time for hiring, but if you have never worked in computer systems and only in YS, applying as a tech manager is problematic on a lot of levels.
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?
Circulation- no. I would recommend that those considering an MLS work in a library in some fashion before pursuing a masters degree. It helps students to know what type of library, if any, is the right career choice for them, and helps them look like they have actually done some research into the field before just applying to school because it sounded like a good or fun idea.
Other departments- impossible to get a full time position without any experience. Part time desk work is possible, but you have to have a good work / track record in other fields before folks would hire you to staff a public desk.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
Why or why not?
It is an oversaturated field, but it isn’t a dying field. The best librarians I know are working hard in some capacity- they may be in transition, seeking work, or are unpaid, but they are busting ass in other places, other jobs, or other projects. The worst thing you can do is sit still and read at home. Though I think that’s what we’d all like to do. 🙂
Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?
This is a great service and I look forward to hearing what others have to say on the topic.
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.