This anonymous interview is with a librarianworking in consortium offices who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
Systems Librarian, Cataloger, Para-professional, Applications Specialist (technology degree or library degree)
This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban 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”?
Required ALA MLIS degree or equivalent. Communicated and interviewed well. Relevant experience or demonstrated aptitude to handle new technology.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
All applications are seen but HR systems marks ones that already did not meet posting requirements for degree or are missing other required pieces of information such as resume or cover letter. A committee is used for position that is hired. They review the application materials and select candidates for phone interviews. Usually 2-3 individuals are then invited for campus interviews. Final references are usually also contacted by the committee. The committee makes a final recommendation to the Director/Board.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Lack of proper degree. Poor resume.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
√ Other: Usually only if asked by candidate.
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
Make a professional looking resume. Practice interviewing; be comfortable talking with people (or at least appear to be).
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?
√ Other: None
How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?
√ Other: None
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?
Work experience is not required for an entry-level position but a minimum of a practicum, internship, or volunteer experience is preferred if an individual has not had a paid position. It is very important for anyone working on an MLIS to either actually work in a library or get some sort of experience in a library before graduating and looking for a job.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
√ Other: It is a changing profession.
Why or why not?
I don not think the profession is dying but rather it is changing. If this does not change it will die.
Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?
Experience and technology are key. Even if the experience was not a job.
For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.