Stats and Graphs: State of the Library Job Market

It’s Staturday!

It’s time for our annualish check-in with our surveys.  This week: What’s the JOB market like nowadays?

Last time we checked in, 204 people who hire librarians had responded to our State of the Library Job Market Survey.  Now we’re up to 267! (It’s still open, so if you’ve hired at least one librarian and want to add your voice, please visit: )

And now, here are the


Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

 how many applied
25 or fewer    116    44.1%
25-75    98    37.3%
75-100    24    9.1%
more than 100, but less than 200    16    6.1%
more than 200    4    1.5%
Other    5    1.9%

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

 pct hirable
25% or less 164 62.6%
26-50% 55 21.0%
51-75% 15 5.7%
more than 75% 12 4.6%
other 16 6.1%

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

Yes    21    8%
No    161    61.2%
Other    81    30.8%

The Workplace

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

 number of EEs
0-10    45    17%
10-50    109    41.1%
50-100    40    15.1%
100-200    36    13.6%
200+    35    13.2%

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

 FT lib
1    58    22.1%
2    61    23.2%
3-4    53    20.2%
5-6    32    12.2%
7 or more    27    10.3%
Other    32    12.2%

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

 FT parapro
1    41    16%
2    39    15.2%
3-4    53    20.6%
5-6    29    11.3%
7 or more    40    15.6%
Other    55    21.4%

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

 num of positions change
There are more positions    90    34.2%
There are fewer positions    94    35.7%
There are the same number of positions    56    21.3%
I don’t know    15    5.7%
Other    8    3%

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

 replace PT
Yes    73    27.7%
No    167    63.3%
I don’t know    16    6.1%
Other    8    3%

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

 replace para
Yes    73    27.7%
No    167    63.3%
I don’t know    16    6.1%
Other    8    3%

Is librarianship a dying profession?

 dying profession
Yes    76    28.9%
No    165    62.7%
I don’t know    15    5.7%
Other    7    2.7%


Where are you?

Northeastern US    54    20.5%
Midwestern US    66    25%
Southern US    70    26.5%
Western US    60    22.7%
Canada    5    1.9%
UK    1    0.4%
Australia/New Zealand    0    0%
Other    8    3%

Where are you?

Urban area    107    40.4%
Suburban area    97    36.6%
Rural area    51    19.2%
Other    10    3.8%

What type of institution do you hire for?

lib type
Academic Library    144    55.4%
Public Library    99    38.1%
School Library    1    0.4%
Special Library    4    1.5%
Archives    1    0.4%
Other    11    4.2%

Are you a librarian?

r u lib
Yes 189 93%
No 3 1%
It’s complicated 9 4%

Are you now or have you ever been:

hiring role
A hiring manager    214    81.7%
A member of a hiring or search committee    233    88.9%
Human resources    14    5.3%
Other    7    2.7%

Would you like to have information about you or your organization shared ?

No, I prefer to remain anonymous    229    86.7%
Yes, and I’ll give you my email address on the next page    35    13.3%

I also have a post about the answer to I want to hire someone who is: here


Filed under State of the Job Market 2015, Stats and Graphs

2 responses to “Stats and Graphs: State of the Library Job Market

  1. MLISunderstanding

    The answer combo that continually perplexes me: when 25-75 people apply for a single position, and fewer than 25% of them are hirable, where that means “meets the basic requirements like having a degree and 2 years’ experience, and has a cover letter addressed to the right library”. Who are all these other applicants?? If they do not meet the basic requirements, why do they apply? (Following on that, a nagging “Should I have applied to positions where I did not meet all of the qualifications, on the off chance that I would have been put through on other strengths instead of being laughed out the door?)


    • When I have been privy to the applicant pool for a couple public library jobs, I have seen something similar to this. There are people that just really want to work for the government, people that don’t realize that the special skills and education required to be a librarian are required for a reason, and then people who are just swinging wildly at any possible librarian job…There are also a lot of people who don’t tailor their applications, so they may have the qualifications/skills, but they fail to
      Personally, I think targeting your search to only positions that really interest you, and then taking the time to really show how you fit in is the way to go. I think you can apply to “stretch” positions, but it’s a nebulous line about how seriously you will be taken – and it varies among employers.


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