The fight continues.

Woman at a market stall 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 librarians, instruction librarians, electronic resource librarians, collection development librarians, subject liaisons.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Midwestern US.

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

√ 75-100

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

They met the minimum requirements on the position description.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

All applications are submitted directly to the hiring director at the library. There is a committee of 5-6 people (mostly librarians, but occasionally other staff as well) who score applicants based on a rubric. Based on the scores, there are usually 4-5 applicants who make it through to the telephone interview, and usually 2-3 selected from that round who are invited for an in-person interview.

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

Very often it’s because they are applying for a job in which they have no practical or theoretical experience. This might be skills associated with the position, or it might be experience. Sometimes it’s because they don’t have the required degree.

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

√ Other: No: we are legally constrained from doing so.

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

Get experience, even if it’s volunteer work, internships, or part-time! Nothing separates people from the pack like experience in the particular setting for which they are applying. Also, spend as much time on the cover letter and resume tweaking it for the specific position.

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?

√ Other: 0

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 fewer positions

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

√ No

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

√ No

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

No. While experience is preferred, if the position is entry-level, all applicants are considered.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It is not a dying profession because the world has, more than ever, needs which librarianship can help to meet. Access to information, teaching users to be smarter consumers of information, advocating for minorities so that they have access to the information they need to improve their situation…the list goes on and on. I do believe it will BECOME a dying profession, though, if we are not strong advocates for why libraries and librarians are necessary in society. The fight continues.

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

Don’t lose hope! 🙂

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

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