This anonymous interview is with an archives library employee who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. When asked, “Are you a librarian?” this person responded, “It’s complicated.” This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
This person 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?
Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?
√ 26-50 %
And how would you define “hirable”?
Can write a cover letter, skills listed on resume matched job description, correct degree.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
My institution is small without a lot of policies/HR involvement. I review all the applications for the positions on my team.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Terrible writing/cover letters.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
√ Other: Only if they ask
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
Learn to write a cover letter.
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 more positions
Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?
√ I don’t know
Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?
√ I don’t know
Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?
Totally depends. In the past our lower-level (paraprofessional, but we don’t use that term to describe them) jobs didn’t require an advanced degree. While they still don’t officially, many people with advanced degrees have applied and are in those positions. Professional positions (asst. level) do require a degree. Minimal experience is often listed as well, but that usually can be satisfied with internships or positions held during graduate school.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
Why or why not?
This is a stupid fear we keep telling ourselves. Relevancy is based on our ability to adapt to new circumstances, and there’s a large amount of evidence that we’ve been able to do that.
Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?
Thank you for making the survey interesting and conversational. I think I elaborated more than I would normally because of that!
For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.