The more librarians we have to help our users, the more users ask questions.

Push cart market -- New York (LOC)This 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:

Reference, Technology and Special Collections librarian.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a rural area in the Midwestern 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”?

Meets minimum qualifications as listed in the job ad.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

A Credential Review Forms allows a committee (usually of three, though possibly more if its a management position) to determine basic qualifications. Does the candidate follow instructions and include all materials, communication skills as indicated in the cover letter, technology skills as evidenced in the formatting of materials and inclusion in resume.

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

Lack of basic qualifications. A cover letter that doesn’t reference the job ad and seems to be written for another of any job.

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

√ Other: Well, once a candidate called and some feedback was given in general terms so as to not violate are HR guidelines.

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

Proof read materials, have a friend proof read. Have good formatting. Have the basic qualifications and speak to your interest in the specifics of the job being advertised. Present a professional and yet friendly image.

I want to hire someone who is


How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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

√ 3-4

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

√ Other: 0

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?

√ Yes

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

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

Yes. It is not always an official requirement, but it can give one person an advantage over another. For some positions it is an official requirement (3-5 years experience).

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

We see individuals with information needs everyday and our skills and expertise are heavily utilized. The more librarians we have to help our users, the more users ask questions. Information seekers are still looking for unbiased guides to sources and they trust libraries.

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

Ask questions. Be positive and thoughtful. Research the place where you are interviewing. Know the demographics.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

1 Comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015

One response to “The more librarians we have to help our users, the more users ask questions.

  1. Pauline

    So the person telling job-seekers to proofread can’t spell proofread?


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