Because they have worked in our system, we know who the top performers are

Fruit Venders, Indianapolis Market, aug., 1908. Wit., E N Clopper. Location Indianapolis, Indiana.This anonymous interview is with a public 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:

catalogers, adult and children’s librarians, department heads, outreach librarians

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban 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?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

My library system tries to promote from within whenever possible. We tend to have lots of underemployed professionals and volunteers who are professionals to choose from. Because they have worked in our system, we know who the top performers are. This method works out well for the library system, but I’m sorry to see that so many degreed librarians are willing to take any job they can get at a library. Sometimes job candidates are employees who have earned their MLIS while working in paraprofessional positions.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We receive all applications from qualified candidates. HR determines which are qualified. There are no rubrics. There are committees for all job openings, no matter what position is open.

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

Clear lack of experience/education requirements stated in the job posting.

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

√ Other: only if asked

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

Since we nearly always hire from within, a great track record in their current position is absolutely essential.

I want to hire someone who is


How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

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?

√ 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 fewer 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?

Because we hire almost exclusively from within, all candidates will have library experience. Their experience might be as a paraprofessional.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Yes

Why or why not?

I am hoping that as economic times get better, libraries will be better funded resulted in better staffing. Like almost any other profession, constant change is required to stay ahead of customer needs/desires.


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 200+ staff members, Public, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

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