Author Archives: Emily@HiringLibrarians

About Emily@HiringLibrarians

I'm unplugged for some/all of the month of Feb (2014) - won't get your message.

Tiring a Librarian

Dear Readers,

Thank you so much for reading, sharing, supporting, and ranting about Hiring Librarians.

I started this blog in February 2012, so we have been going for nearly 4 years.  The first year, I found the topic so interesting that I was happy to spend a good deal of my free time working on it.  The second and third years, I had a bit more going on in my professional life, a bit less interest in the topic, and it was only with the help of volunteers that we stayed robust.  This last year, I have had some upheavals in my personal life, I’ve been much less interested in the topic, and I just really want to do non-blog-things with my free time.  My involvement has been a bit auto-pilot this year.

So what does that mean for year 5?  

I don’t have a new survey to post.  I’m interested in exploring hiring and diversity, but I’m having a lot of trouble figuring out how to frame a survey that would end up illuminating the problem in a constructive way, rather than just providing a lot of potentially pain-causing confessions.  

And I really don’t want to spend time writing this anymore.  Frankly.  I want to spend my free time on bike rides, hanging out with my friends, listening to music, and doing other fun stuff.  And maybe writing an article or two, or serving on a committee or whatever.  Just not this blog anymore.

So I’m turning out the lights.  

I will keep the content up, and continue to purchase the domain.  There are a few survey responses still to be posted, and we will post the final Further Questions question on the 29th. But after that, no new content will be posted (although of course you can always add to the Interview Questions Repository).  

I want to say a big THANK YOU to the current active volunteers, who made this last year possible:

  • Sarah Keil has been writing the weekly Further Questions feature since June 2014.  
  • Jen Devine has been transcribing surveys since March 2014.  
  • Sherle Abrams has run the crowd-sourced resume/CV review service since May of 2014, and was a Further Question respondent for a while before that.

And I also want to say a big THANK YOU to all of the people who have helped with this project – all the previous volunteers, my co-authors for various surveys: Jill from Librarian Hire Fashion, Naomi House from I Need a Library Job, Brianna Marshall from (at the time) Hack Library School, the pool of Further Questions respondents, LIS career authors and researchers, the people who run LIS career sites, the people who run library school career centers, the tattooed librarians, job hunters who let me follow up with them, sometimes for multiple years, people who’ve added interview questions to the interview questions repository, candidates for ALA and other presidencies, anyone who responded to a survey, and of course YOU.  

Thank YOU, reader. 

You’re awesome.  I know you will find a job you love and make the world a better place.  GOOD LUCK WITH EVERYTHING!

Your Pal,

Emily

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Laura Perenic

We last heard from Laura Perenic on December 26, 2014, in the post titled,  It is hard to imagine all the form completing and hoop jumping I have been doing really results in finding quality staff.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I have been employed full-time since April 2015 after four months of unemployment. I work as the Children’s and Teen Services Librarian at the main branch of the Clark County Public Library in Springfield, Ohio. My work situation contains a variety of tasks and responsibilities. I have many opportunities to collaborate with co-workers and the public we serve. I plan and implement numerous programs for children, teens and families. I also provide outreach in the community. I am dedicated to youth services. The percentage of time I focus on kids or teens can change but I don’t see a time where I won’t be involved with the needs of the 18-and-under crowd.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

I was able to get through my unemployment with minimal harm to my career. When I read over my previous answers I feel frustrated that my experiences did not better equip me to help those who are currently unemployed. I feel more sad and jaded about the job hunting process. I see myself as having many desirable qualities that would make me an asset to an employer and it still took months to find a suitable job. As someone who still cannot get management experience in my chosen field, I wonder how newly minted librarians will ever break into the workforce if we hold their lack of library experience against them? I’ve seen quite a few cruelly funny memes indicating that to get a library job you need an Olympic medal. For those trying to land or change library jobs this black humor is all too accurate.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

My best advice for the unemployed is to treat your helpful friends and family, who often have job advice that isn’t practical, as if they are offering you an opportunity to practice your elevator speech. Rehearse your answers to questions such as: Why are libraries relevant? Why are you relevant? Convince those around you of your value and worth. Sell yourself at every turn. This will allow you to interview with extreme confidence. In the really dark times, when your ego cannot take one more rejection letter, you can remind yourself what you are fighting for. Being unemployed was one the hardest things I’ve ever survived and I wouldn’t wish it on most people.

Anything else you want to share with us?

My job hunt showed that networking was the best tool I had. Surround yourself with people of all skills set as if they are your office. Create a team that cannot and will not let you down. You are going to need them and someday they might need you. Don’t do this alone. Take time to craft an online footprint that will attract employers to you. Also take time for yourself. I had to remind myself to stop job hunting sometimes. Running was the best, free activity I had and it was also the most enjoyable part of my day.

If readers ask questions in the comments section, Laura is willing to answer them.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Neyda Gilman (year three)

Neyda Gilman

 

Neyda Gilman took the Job Hunter’s survey on January 4, 2013.

Her responses appeared as Being a New Grad I Feel Better Applying to Jobs That Indicate They are a Place to Grow and Learn.

We followed up with her on December 26, 2013 and again on December 2, 2014.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I am still in the full time position that I had during last year’s interview. The work situation is good; it is a stable job with enjoyable colleagues. This past year I focused on getting to know my current place of employment and building my skills. (Last year’s interview was shortly after I started this position)

Looking at last year’s check-in, have any of your attitudes changed?

Not really. I have had the opportunity to serve on additional search committees, including ones for librarians, and those experiences have reinforced how… crazy the search process is. As job hunters our future is decided by strangers. For those on the search committee, we have to decide who would be the best person for the position, for the library, with fairly limited knowledge.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

Same as last year. Put effort into your applications. Make sure your cover letter and resume/CV actually talk about the qualifications listed on the job posting. Proof read. Have others proof read. For the job interview – do your research, know about the library, the job, and what you want to say about yourself. Be yourself, be honest, be excited.

Anything else you want to share with us?

If you are applying to jobs “correctly” then you are putting a fair amount of time and energy into it. It can be extremely disheartening to not get an interview and/or the position. Try to remember that there are a lot of variables and if you see a position at the same institution don’t hesitate to try again!

Neyda is willing to answer questions you post in the comments section.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Maria Lin

maria linMaria Lin completed the original survey on February 13, 2013. Her responses as Hire for work ethic first, past achievement second. We followed up with her on January 6, 2014

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I’m in the same position I was last year. My responsibilities have increased some and I’ve done some book dealing independently outside of work as well. In 2014 I received a scholarship to attend the Rare Book School, which was an amazing experience, and in spring of this year I attended the international antiquarian book fair in Tokyo, which was also extremely educational. I also spent the year serving as a volunteer coordinator for an all volunteer library, which kept my toes in the library world a little.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

Not really. I’m still quite passionate about the value of archives and special collections, but I feel I’m contributing more as a dealer than I might as an archivist or librarian. I think the only sort of job that might lure me back to libraries would be a good cataloging position.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

The world of libraries sits inside a larger world of books and information. For some of us, there are careers that run parallel to libraries that are a perfect fit, and don’t require us to push into a very crowded job market. I’m not a librarian, but I still interact with libraries almost every day, and I get to help librarians from around the country develop their collections. If you’re having a hard time finding a traditional library position, there may be something that gives you what you want just outside your field of vision.

Anything else you want to share with us?

Don’t think so.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Ta-Shiré Tribbett (year three)

Ta-Shiré Tribbett took the Job Hunter’s survey on January 31, 2013. Her responses appeared as A Positive Work Environment. We followed up with her on December 16, 2013 and again last year on January 6, 2015

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I’m still at the international law firm. Instead of a traditional librarian role, I am a Knowledge Systems Analyst, which means I concentrate on customization of content, patron training, research, analysis and presentations for product reviews and trials, instructional development and training in support of workflow and efficiency measures, and systems re-design and analysis.

Looking at last year’s check-in, have any of your attitudes changed?

No. I still believe that enthusiasm and confidence are really good traits to have.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

I’ll repeat what I said last year: Be on the lookout all the time for opportunities to enhance your career. You are single-handedly your biggest advocate. I’m still seeing a lot of job-searchers get stuck looking for jobs with “librarian” in the title, instead of trying to find something that showcases our varied skillset.

Anything else you want to share with us?

Be realistic about the job market for librarians. It’s not the responsibility of a job site to find you a job, it’s your responsibility to go and get one. Branch out into other things. Don’t let awards or accolades define who you are and what you bring to the profession. Be willing to walk away from something that isn’t working for you –financially, professionally, emotionally.

Ta-Shiré is willing to answer questions you post in the comments section.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Greg Bem

 

Greg BemWe last heard from Greg Bem on October 20, 2014, in the post Full time schedule, room for innovation, digital responsibilities.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I am currently a part-time faculty librarian at Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech). I just finished up another part time position at North Seattle College Library as the Student Media Center Coordinator, but decided to leave to pursue librarianship exclusively. This past summer I completed a contract in Cambodia with the Wildlife Conservation Society as an information management professional. It’s my goal to continue at LWTech while I seek out additional part-time employment as a librarian, or an appropriate full-time position in the Greater Seattle Area.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

I really think that the library job market is dependent upon patience and self-awareness. I did not truly realize how specialized librarianship can be until I started working as a librarian and working with/communicating with practicing librarians directly. There is countless opportunity for growth and professional development and specialization in the world of librarianship and pursuing it is a challenge, but it’s necessary. To know oneself and to develop one’s skills in a focused manner can be incredibly difficult but appears to be the surest way to find librarian positions that one qualifies to hold.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

As mentioned above–focus on yourself. Be ready to say “I’m not ready yet” and then figure out what specific skills need to be worked on. I think every librarian in every position can appropriately do this to find their next move. Of course, looking at job postings in the ocean of the Internet is incredibly difficult because it can be overwhelming from a professional development point of view. That being said, focus on skills and knowledge that seems attainable. Make baby steps. Oh, and try and tap into communication as much as possible (whether it’s active via conferences or passive via listservs) to survey what is needed in any given region. Knowing the rises and falls in the profession in a given consortium or geographical area can help you understand the landscape and know what to expect when you’re looking for the next job/opportunity. Mentors and individuals can really help with this process too.

Anything else you want to share with us?

Be open. You have no idea how many individuals I’ve met in this relatively open profession who are closed-minded and think of certain opportunities (from volunteering to taking contracts to consulting and so on) as fantasy or unattainable. It’s a shock! When twiddling your thumbs, take a moment to think of some way to contribute to the information vortex within your local community. Be it volunteering at a small/special library, a museum, or for an NGO, or taking that extra free month you have off to go do an internship or contract in a new place–these are the opportunities that will give you energy and optimism to the profession/field, and will do nothing but help you as a librarian.

 

Greg is willing to answer questions you post in the comments.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Samantha Winn

samantha winnWe last heard from Samantha Winn on September 3, 2014, in the post It is difficult to give a useful answer to overly theoretical questions.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

In October 2014, I joined Virginia Tech as an assistant professor in the University Libraries. As a member of the Special Collections department, I work with architectural records and the cultural heritage of historically marginalized communities. I interact frequently with peers in the library, faculty across many disciplines, and donors. My institution is very supportive of professional development and service.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

This position has probably strengthened my former attitudes, if anything. I am more confident about what I am looking for in a job and what I expect from a search committee.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

I improved so much as a job candidate from my first application to my last – my resume and cover letter were more refined, I had more confidence answering interview questions, and I was able to really define my career priorities and expectations. This realization was a huge boost to my morale and it helped me to recalibrate my efforts in the final stretch of my search. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from each application and interview, even if you’re not happy with the outcome. Don’t underestimate the value of personal cheerleaders – in addition to practice interviewers and application copyeditors, I benefited so much from the personal feedback and encouragement of my trusted peers. Also, don’t stop applying until you have a job offer. It’s easy to withdraw an application, not so easy to build up momentum again once you’ve stopped (especially if you had your heart set on a particular position that didn’t pan out).

Anything else you want to share with us?

The decision process is such a mystery that you may never find out why you were or were not hired somewhere. Put in the effort on your application, do your research before the interview, and present yourself with integrity. Once you’ve done that, it’s all out of your hands. Good luck, everyone!

 

Samantha will try to keep an eye out for any questions you post in the comments section.

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