Subject librarians; paraprofessionals
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?
Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?
√ 25% or less
And how would you define “hirable”?
We mostly post specialized librarian jobs these days–so it means someone with not just an MLIS, but experience with or a firm grasp of a specialized job: preservation of digital objects, non-MARC metadata, data analysis, Chinese language skills…
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
We form screening committees of around four libraries who use a rubric based on the required and preferred qualifications listed in the job posting.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Lack of relevant experience.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
√ Other: Not unless they ask
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
Write a cover letter/CV that addresses all of the qualifications listed in the job description and tells us why you’re a good match. Don’t waste your time applying for jobs where you don’t meet at least the majority of the minimum qualifications.
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?
√ 7 or more
How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?
√ 7 or more
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?
Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?
√ Other: Mostly with non-librarian professionals or high-level paraprofessionals
Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?
Yes, but just what happens in practice rather than an official requirement. Mostly, we don’t have all that many “entry-level” professional positions in the first place.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
√ I don’t know
Why or why not?
It’s an evolving profession. People still need information, we just aren’t the only game in town. But we are still the main groups who want to preserve information, systematically make the information findable with consistent metadata, teach people to how find information, and help people when they get stuck–and we’re also the main group that does all of this for the greater (or at least our community’s) good, not a profit.
For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.