Most of our hires become solo librarians at small campus libraries, so they must be or become jack of all trades.

Market scene in ParamariboThis anonymous interview is with an academic 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:

Most of our hires become solo librarians at small campus libraries, so they must be or become jack of all trades.

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Southern 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”?

Proper credentials and experience; resume and cover letter demonstrated care taken in application process and attention to details

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

For professional positions, HR sends me only those candidates who have an MLIS or equivalent. From there, I, as the hiring manager narrow the candidates down to 5 or 6 (sometimes more depending on the quality of the applicants) for phone interviews. After phone interviews, the final 2 or 3 are interviewed either in person or via online video conferencing with a search committee made up of HR, faculty, and other campus librarians.

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

Experience does not support the position being hired, i.e. an elementary school librarian applying to be a graduate level health sciences academic librarian, and without justification in the cover letter of how the mismatched experience could be a positive

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

√ Other: Sometimes, when requested

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

Do not apply to any and every job opening. Instead, apply carefully (including checking and double checking resume and cover letter for errors and crafting your cover letter to match the position) to those positions that are relevant to your education and job experience. Or, if there is a bit of a disconnect between your experience and the position, or if you are switching to a new arena purposefully, explain in your cover letter how the skills transfer and how your strengths in one discipline will help you be successful in a new discipline.

I want to hire someone who is


How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

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 more positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

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?

Requirement for library experience, but not necessarily professional library experience. We often hire and train new librarians or those with just a few years experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

The role is shifting from guardians/masters of the information to teachers. We are now teaching others how to navigate and use information instead of supplying that information.

Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?

Per demographics questions – I am located in the southern US, but our institution has campuses in several states and I hire in the Western US and the Southwestern US in addition to the southern 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.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

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