A cover letter could be the difference between rejected and moved on to an interview.

Paramaribo market scene. Women and men. 1922.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/instruction librarians, jacks of all trades.

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 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?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 51-75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Meets all the required qualifications, as discussed in the job ad. Typically, this means MLS from an ALA-accredited college/university, some customer service experience, tech skills, and teaching experience.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

The Hiring Manager reviews all applications that are submitted. In the most recent iteration of our job search process, the 2 professional employees of the library went over each application with a rubric.

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

No MLS, or MLS won’t be in hand by the time the job would need to start. No teaching or customer service experience. Seems like their area of librarianship is outside our scope, like in archives or children’s librarianship.

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

√ Other: If asked.

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

Tailor your resume! Make sure you know as much about the position as is possible. Show that your experience has uniquely prepared you for our opportunity. Also, even if the application does not require a cover letter, please please please add a cover letter to the beginning of your resume in the same document. I wanted to make a cover letter a requirement, but our system doesn’t allow us to. A cover letter could be the difference between rejected and moved on to an interview.

I want to hire someone who is


How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

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?

√ 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?

It’s just what happens in practice. There were a few applicants without experience in the most recent pool, and they seemed perfectly qualified, but when the rest of the pool has experience you have to give them precedence. It shows evidence of what people claim in their cover letters.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarianship is a changing profession. Obviously, there is more information out there than ever before. However, now as librarians we have the opportunity to help students sort through and find the right information for their need. Especially in the academic environment, librarians are more necessary than ever. Who else will sit with you for 2 hours to help you pick a topic and find sources for your paper?


Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

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

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

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