Kindness. Honesty.

Justin Hoenke is a human being and a librarian. He’s worked in public libraries in the USA and New Zealand, and is currently the Library Director of the Gardiner Public Library in Gardiner, Maine. 

His professional interests include creativity, public libraries as community centers, and music. He offers library consultancy services for public libraries and can be contacted at 

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

We put out a job ad, we accept resumes/cover letters, we review what we have, we set up interviews, we hire!

Titles hired include: Archivist, Library Assistant, Youth Services Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ References 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

Kindness. Honesty.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

It’s weird to say this as a librarian, but if all that you bring to an interview is “I love books” and “libraries are my home” that doesn’t bode well for you. I love books and libraries too, but it’s not the focus. I wanna know about you.

What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?

Not sure

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ As many as it takes, I love reading

CV: √ As many as it takes, I love reading

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Not sure

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?


How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

Be honest and open. Tell me what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad 

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

We treat everyone that we interview and hire equally. We are all in this together.

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

What’s the workplace like

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Other: Rural/Suburban-ish

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 0-10

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not try commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.


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Filed under 0-10 staff members, 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Northeastern US, Public, Rural area, Suburban area

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