We are a small, rural library. We take what we can get!

Photograph of Mr. Arthur Kimberly, Chief of the Preservation Service at the National Archives, Explaining Preservation Work to be Done on Some of New York State’s Most Treasured Documents Soon to be Exhibited on New York’s Freedom Train. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Library Director

Titles hired include: Circ specialist, programming specialist, circ aide, assistant director

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References 

√ Supplemental Questions 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

I do all hiring. 7 staff members. Only hire when necessary. Put in paper and online. 

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

Buy in and customer service experience. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Nothing really, just the obvious like racism, sexism, etc. 

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

None. I ask everything I want to know 🙂

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One! 

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more 

CV: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

“I love books!”. Libraries are so much more than just books!

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?

Not happened to me yet.

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 are a small, rural library. We take what we can get! 

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

Anything they need to know. I want employees to feel comfortable and supported. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Rural 

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, Midwestern US, Public, Rural area

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