Category Archives: Elections/Candidates

SLA Candidates: Juanita Richardson Talks About Hiring Librarians

Election time is right around the corner!  This fall SLA members will get to vote for their next board.  Juanita Richardson and Kate Arnold, candidates for 2013 President-Elect, have agreed answer some questions about Hiring Librarians. If you’d like to learn even more about them and the other board candidates, the SLA blog is posting regular Board Updates, which present “Meet the Candidates” questions on all sorts of topics.

Over the course of her career, Juanita Richardson has been involved in multiple aspects of managing human resources: conducting performance reviews and counselling as well as hiring (and firing). As the Manager of the Business Information Centre at Deloitte & Touche in Toronto, she was responsible for a staff of 10 that includied other librarians as well as para-professionals.  Then later as the Manager of Licensing, Product Development and Client Services for Infomart Dialog in Toronto, she managed a team that included not only information professionals but also subject specialists and information technologists.  She is currently an Associate at Dysart & Jones.

Questions about SLA:

In broad strokes, what do you think the SLA’s role is in library hiring and employment?

I think we are all responsible for our own careers.  SLA’s role, as an association serving a profession, is to provide the tools we need to help ourselves.  Specifically, SLA works:
1) to support members in identifying appropriate competencies,
2) to provide continuing education opportunities and
3) to facilitate a network of colleagues.

How can SLA serve unemployed or underemployed librarians?  Please name specific programs or services that exist, or that you would like to see enacted.

From SLA’s website, members can access the Career Center – which is really a portal to a wealth of resources appropriate for any member interested in career development.  This portal is particularly relevant to information professionals who are facing employment challenges – from the typical resume posting and job boards through to the more unique opportunities like Connect @ Conference and Career Disruption Assistance which many units offer.

How can SLA support library students in order to help them be best situated for future employment?  Please name specific programs or services that exist, or that you would like to see enacted.

Working with the local chapter, the students need to take charge of forming their student chapter.  SLA and our units have various supports in place for students – from scholarships to stipends to attend conference; however, it is up to the individual student to step up and participate.  As I tell my students:  SLA is there for you.  But you can’t sit back and just expect a handout.  You get out of it what you put into it … so get involved!

Questions from the survey:

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

Number 1:  I think finding a good corporate culture fit is key – both for the candidate and for the employer.  Candidates who are interested in and ask questions about the culture of the organization, the environment and how their role would contribute to culture and to the success of the organization are on the right track.
Numbers 2, 3, etc are more prosaic:  in no particular order:  presentable; articulate; intelligent.

Do you have any instant deal breakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

Yes.  Tardiness.  You are wasting my time.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Other: Only one! Your cover letter is like your elevator pitch.  Reel me in!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Other: Two is ok, but no more. You’ve reeled me in with your cover letter … now wow me with your resume so I will want to meet you in person!

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ Other: No. Well … really, if you are entry level, the objective statement probably really goes like this:  “I want a job.”  And the more senior you are, the more your resume will resemble a brochure … in which case, a tagline might be in order!

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ I don’t care

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Having a sincere, honest manner.

 

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SLA Candidates: Kate Arnold Talks About Hiring Librarians

Election time is right around the corner!  This fall SLA members will get to vote for their next board.  Kate Arnold and Juanita Richardson, candidates for 2013 President-Elect, have agreed answer some questions about Hiring Librarians. If you’d like to learn even more about them and the other board candidates, the SLA blog is posting regular Board Updates, which present “Meet the Candidates” questions on all sorts of topics.

Kate Arnold is the Information Centre Manager at National Children’s Bureau  (NCB) in UK. NCB is a non-profit organisation working with, and for children and young people, improving their lives. The Information Centre’s six staff facilitate access to information and knowledge for 150 staff as well as external users.  Kate has extensive experience as a hiring manager and a member of hiring committees.

Questions about SLA:

In broad strokes, what do you think the SLA’s role is in library hiring and employment?

– Providing tools (up to date competencies framework) and mechanisms (forums, wikis and job advertising boards) to allow members to share best practice in hiring and employment for both recruiters and applicants.
– Through involvement in units providing members with volunteer opportunities to enhance their resumes and job prospects.

How can SLA serve unemployed or underemployed librarians?  Please name specific programs or services that exist, or that you would like to see enacted.

As a community of information professionals SLA can support unemployed and underemployed professionals through its units’ activities such as continuing professional development events (eg on resume writing, and job interviews) and networking events (offering the opportunity for members to connect and help one another).  SLA’s jobs board can help to highlight current vacancies, although this is North American centric so not necessarily that helpful for those of us outside North America. However, chapters can help to fill this gap, and SLA Europe does this through its jobs board. Getting actively involved in your units can also provide valuable volunteering experience.

How can SLA support library students in order to help them be best situated for future employment?  Please name specific programs or services that exist, or that you would like to see enacted.

– SLA can support library students in a variety of ways: providing resources such as the competency framework (something that is currently being updated) and those from First Five Years Advisory Council which can help students prepare for future employment. Through units giving them opportunities to volunteer and gain new skills and valuable experience of team work, chairing meetings etc. Through networking offering them mentors who provide support and advice on employment.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about SLA or your candidacy?

We are at a critical time for the profession and so the theme for my candidacy is ‘reframe’. I want to build on the member engagement and interaction we saw with Cindy Romaine’s Future Ready initiative. This gave us an opportunity to see into the future, so now it’s time to reframe: ourselves, our association and our profession. Reframe is something we have to do collectively as a community. It will provide us with a different way of looking at who we are, what we do and what our value is.

Questions from the survey:

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

–  Drive – to achieve things and drive yourself.
–  Passion – for your subject area or the cause or raison d’etre of your organisation.
–  Adaptability/flexibility.

Do you have any instant deal breakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

– Not providing all information specified for the application process, eg providing resume and cover letter rather than completing an application form.
– Over running on specified time when giving a presentation during the interview process.

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

– Lack of suitably tailored covering letters, which don’t rely on template, generic paragraphs to illustrate candidate’s fit with person specification.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

– Detailed information on responsibilities, eg  size of teams they’ve worked in, or managed, budgets they’ve been in charge of etc.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√  As many as it takes, but shorter is better

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ I don’t care

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ As an attachment only

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

– Have prepared well, done your research on the role and the organisation. Thought about how your skills and experience match the person specification, so that you can provide examples in your answers.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

– Not having done any homework in the form of research on the organisation or the job.

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

– Greater volume of applications to plough through each time you advertise a job.

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

– Remember an interview is a two-way process, it’s for the candidate to find out if they think the hiring organisation and job fit them and vice versa.
– Do your research so you’re prepared to answer questions & to ask some. This will show how motivated you are and how good your research skills are.
– Don’t be afraid to use relevant personal or volunteer experiences as examples for interview questions, particularly if you don’t have work examples or if they’re more relevant.

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Have You Voted? Gina Millsap Talks about Hiring Librarians

It’s election time!  Gina Millsap and Barbara Stripling, our two ALA presidential candidates, have graciously agreed answer a few questions about their thoughts on ALA’s role in library hiring AND take the survey. Voting will be open through April 27th. Visit this page for more details.

Gina MillsapGina Millsap brings a perspective gained in more than twenty-five years of hiring for libraries to this interview.  She is the current CEO of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, and has also been a library director.  She has been recognized for her leadership as a 2007 Mover & Shaker, and a past president of LLAMA (the Library Leadership and Management Association). Ms. Millsap’s candidacy is based in her desire to expand ALA’s tradition of service to members, to make progress on issues such as e-books and digital content, and to ensure that the value of libraries is deeply understood in our communities. If you have questions, you can find more information on her website or you can post them in the comments and she will address them as time allows.

Questions about ALA

In broad strokes, what do you think the ALA’s role is in library hiring and employment?

ALA’s primary responsibility is to serve its members and demonstrate the tangible value of membership through programs and services.  An important part of that is assisting its members in achieving their career goals.  ALA provides very good information on job searching, has a clearinghouse for job postings and offers placement services at conferences.  Those are all key aspects of finding the right job.

That isn’t the whole picture and what is confusing and perhaps frustrating for many librarians who are looking for their next career opportunity is the myriad channels (beyond ALA) in which jobs are advertised.  There are a number of variables affecting someone’s ability to find that perfect job, depending on library type, alternative connections (for instance to other professional associations) and the policies and practices of the particular institution that is hiring.

One possibility is for ALA to look at the other job and career information and services that have developed over the years – many times by innovative librarians working on their own initiative (like this blog) — and begin to fill in the gaps in its own services.

There also needs to be information on and best practices for hiring on the library side.  It doesn’t work if librarians and other library job seekers are following best professional practices as an applicant and the institutions they are applying to don’t have excellent recruitment and hiring practices in place. And that happens too often.

Having hired a number of librarians, managers and library staff over the years, I believe that libraries and their parent institutions, whether that’s local government, a school district or a university, have a responsibility to review and improve their recruitment and hiring practices.  I’ve been an applicant myself enough times to know how inconsistent the library job market is in its treatment of applicants.  The experience can be professional and inspiring or it can be unresponsive and discouraging.

I think ALA can also facilitate the hiring process for employers by developing information and standards for recruiting and hiring librarians and other library professionals.

How can ALA serve unemployed librarians?  Please name specific programs or services that exist, or that you would like to see enacted.

I’ve already mentioned that ALA provides information on job searching, a clearinghouse for job postings and offers placement services at conferences.  Something else to consider would be year-round, digital placement services.  We joke about sites like match.com and eharmony, but the technology does exist to help connect librarians with prospective library employers.

Job counseling and testing are other components of a comprehensive approach to helping people and organizations find the right people.

And building a network and making contacts is also how some of the best jobs are obtained. ALA offers ALA Connect as a means of helping members develop online relationships and learn more about each other.  It has been a challenge to get the membership to embrace it the way many professionals have, say, Linkedin.

So, what are the possibilities of incorporating more Linkedin-type features to ALA Connect, to incentivize the use of member communities? Let’s explore that.  It’s also possible to build on the success of existing online networking systems.  What if ALA developed a formal relationship with Linkedin to establish a networking site for the library profession?

Here’s another one — job fairs.  I’m aware of at least one ALA roundtable, the Federal and Armed Forces Libraries Round Table, that has sponsored a successful job fair in the past two years.

So, there are many ideas worth discussing and some worth piloting.  I’d welcome the opportunity to help facilitate those efforts.

How can ALA support library students in order to help them be best situated for future employment?  Please name specific programs or services that exist, or that you would like to see enacted.

I frequently say that those of us who currently lead and manage in libraries of all types are the second-tier clientele for library schools.  All three states I’ve live and worked in have ALA-accredited graduate library school programs. And, yet, I’ve never been asked what I look for and why I would hire a new library school graduate, especially one with little or no library work experience.

Clearly, the accreditation process for library school programs that ALA oversees is a critical part of assuring that library education is serving the interests of library students and the institutions they may work for. I also think there needs to be a bigger feedback loop that includes employers that lets library schools know how they’re doing, so that each class of faculty and students has a better idea of how to educate a librarian who is ready for the workplace.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about ALA or your candidacy?

ALA has an ambitious and on-target strategic plan that runs through 2015.  It provides a broad blueprint for some of the issues, ideas and possible initiatives I’ve mentioned.  I am an experienced facilitator and would love the opportunity to draw on the collective expertise of our association to continuously improve the environment for library job seekers and libraries looking to hire the best our profession has to offer.

For more information on what I would do to serve our members and our profession as ALA president, please visit www.ginajmillsap.com

Questions from the Survey

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

  • a passion for libraries and the difference they make in communities
  • the ability to work in a team environment, where adaptability and capacity to be flexible and manage change well are essential
  • a commitment to customer service and continuous improvement

Do you have any instant deal breakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

  • Failure to read or meet minimum qualifications
  • Failure to follow simple directions or answer questions.  If we ask for a completed application, cover letter and resume, please do it.
  • Submitting what is clearly a form letter or resume that has not been developed or adapted for the specific job being applied for.

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

Resumes that are just chronological lists of jobs.  I want to see what you know and what you can do.  Tell me about projects you’ve done — even as a volunteer and/or student or intern.  Tell me how that’s better prepared you for the job you’re applying for.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

Graphics or a sidebar that highlight the one thing you want me to remember about you.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ Yes

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ Both as an attachment and in the body of the email

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Come prepared — dress professionally, have done a lot of research about the library so you know why you’re the best candidate, and so that you can reference specific examples (e.g. the library’s strategic plan, the services offered) when answering questions.  When information is so readily available through the web, lack of preparation isn’t acceptable.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

Not preparing or doing the background research on the library. Talking too much or not enough.  Making assertions of skills and abilities, but not backing them up with real life examples.

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

We do what we call organizing around the work, so we don’t often do a one-to-one replacement of an existing position.  We evaluate each position as it comes open to determine if it’s needed and how it will contribute to the library’s strategic goals. We are also much more likely to do an executive recruiter-type hiring process in which we identify the people we think are library “rock stars” in particular areas, or in other professions, if it’s a non-librarian position.  We identify and pursue the people we want to work with.

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

Right now we’re graduating more entry level librarians than there are entry level librarian positions.  Many of the available jobs are in supervisory or management level positions.  Don’t automatically rule those out, and if you’re in library school right now, make sure that the curriculum is helping you gain some knowledge and skills about organizational effectiveness and management.  And let’s face it, there’s no replacement for experience, so volunteer, find a mentor and work with your professors to ensure you’re getting what you need in leadership and management training.

For more experienced librarians who are unemployed, or looking for that next professional opportunity, find a mentor and challenge yourself by volunteering for projects or activities that aren’t in your current job description.   The librarians I hire have to demonstrate initiative, energy and the ability to lead and facilitate excellence in themselves and others, as well as the theory and practice of library and information science.

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Have You Voted? Barbara Stripling Talks about Hiring Librarians

It’s election time!  Barbara Stripling and Gina Millsap, our two ALA presidential candidates, have graciously agreed answer a few questions about their thoughts on ALA’s role in library hiring AND take the survey. Voting will be open through April 27th. Visit this page for more details.

Barbara Stripling

Barbara Stripling has done something we haven’t yet seen on Hiring Librarians: as a former Director of both Chattanooga’s Library Power program and New York City’s Office of School Library Services, she has hired school librarians!  She also brings an Academic perspective, based on her current experiences as a faculty member helping prepare Syracuse University library students for their futures. Ms. Stripling is running on a platform of transformation and empowerment.  I will let her tell you more about it.  If you have questions, you can find more information on her website or you can post them in the comments and she will address them as time allows.

Questions about ALA:

In broad strokes, what do you think the ALA’s role is in library hiring and employment?

I see ALA’s role in five main areas:

  1. Professional development.
  • ALA can offer a robust array of professional development opportunities, in both face-to-face and virtual venues.  This professional development should target all levels of expertise, all different areas of librarianship, and the latest issues in the field.  Professional development is a powerful way for ALA to support our members in positioning themselves as the most qualified applicants for a library position.
  • Certification programs offered through ALA-APA provide an opportunity for librarians and library workers to earn a certificate of advanced studies, which provides a public validation of quality and should influence hiring decisions.  I hope that ALA can continue to develop certification programs in other areas, for example, young adult librarianship.
  1. Opportunities for leadership development.
  • ALA can offer many opportunities for members to build their leadership skills, both in producing high-quality collaborative work on committees and task forces (which becomes a part of a member’s body of work) and in taking a leadership role as a member or officer of a committee or task force.
  1. Networking, job fairs/interviews, support for resume building.
  • The personal networks and relationships that can be formed through ALA are powerful ways to find new job opportunities.  ALA holds job fairs and interviews, as well as opportunities for guidance in resume development, at its conferences.  These can be very effective in connecting to the jobs that are available and developing effective interview and application skills.
  1. National advocacy, lobbying.
  • ALA has a big role to play in setting a national landscape of support for libraries and librarians.  Part of that role is advocacy with strategic partners and government.  Another part of that responsibility is strong lobbying for legislation that supports the value of librarians (for example, the reauthorization of ESEA to include school librarians).
  1. Support for local advocacy, lobbying.
  • ALA must provide materials, information, and strategies so that librarians can advocate and lobby effectively at the local level where hiring decisions are made.

How can ALA serve unemployed librarians?  Please name specific programs or services that exist, or that you would like to see enacted.

ALA offers a number of services to help unemployed librarians.  ALA Placement Services offers online job lists, opportunities for employers to post a job and communicate directly with applicants, workshops and webinars, employment blogs and guides, space and support for interviews at conferences, and a connection to the resume review services of NMRT.

NMRT is the unit of ALA that provides the most robust support for unemployed librarians, including workshops at conferences, mentoring and networking connections, and support for the whole process of searching for a job.

Because of the nature of hiring for school libraries (school librarians are hired locally by school districts who don’t have any connection to ALA and don’t usually advertise openings beyond their local community), ALA does not support job seeking in school libraries very well.  Jobs are occasionally listed on the listserv of AASL.  The personal networking that is made possible through ALA is helpful to unemployed school librarians, but not enough.

One possible avenue of increasing the awareness of job openings is for ALA to work with the state chapters to elicit announcements of open positions.  State chapters are often aware of vacancies within the state.  Then ALA should set up an active database that can be searched by type of position/library and by state.  For school librarians, the database can be supplemented by tapping in to the supervisors’ section of AASL.

To further support the unemployed, ALA should pursue research and advocacy around the value of libraries and librarians.  That information should be readily available to anyone who needs to justify the hiring of librarians to boards, administrators, government officials, or the community.

How can ALA support library students in order to help them be best situated for future employment?  Please name specific programs or services that exist, or that you would like to see enacted.

I have several ideas about how ALA can and does support library students.  The Committee on Accreditation is especially important, because the work of that committee ensures that every accredited library program offers a substantive and high-quality education.  There is no substitute for situating library students for future employment.

ALA offers other opportunities as well, including reduced membership fees and conference fees so that students can participate fully in ALA experiences, mentorship, internship on various committees, new member guidance and support, and support for library educators.  ALA encourages graduate schools to form student chapters of ALA, and those chapters provide opportunities for professional development, networking, mentorship, and leadership development.

ALA can do more to support library students in their preparation for their careers.  First, ALA needs to be more inclusive of the voices and opinions of library students.  They are the future of the profession and what they know and care about matters to all of us.  In my campaign for the ALA presidency, I have been conducting a series of virtual town hall meetings with graduate student chapters.  I would hope to continue those connections if I am elected president.  Second, we need to develop many ways for library students to contribute their ideas and expertise to ALA.  They will be developing their leadership skills at the same time.  These opportunities might include the appointment of library students to task forces about specific issues, the nurturing of interest groups, increased opportunities for presentations and poster sessions at conferences, and mentorship and new venues for professional publishing.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about ALA or your candidacy?

I tried to lay out my presidential focus on my website (http://www.barbarastripling.org), but I will emphasize some of that content here.  I am focusing on Transforming Libraries, Empowering Individuals, and Transforming Communities.  Libraries are on the cusp of greatness.  We must seize the moment by re-defining ourselves and capturing the exciting possibilities offered by technology and social media; the explosion of information; and the challenges of maintaining a strong democracy while nourishing the expression of diverse viewpoints.
Strengthen ALA support for transformation process

  • Foster a dialogue that engages all ALA members.
  • Promote integration of electronic content, technology, and future trends through flexible and rapid research and response.
  • Support sharing of innovative practices.
  • Strengthen connections among all divisions and types of library.
  • Build coalitions and relationships with external agencies.

Champion the values of intellectual freedom, equitable access to information, and democratic conversation

  • Promote a public agenda for intellectual freedom and privacy; support members in implementing these values.
  • Demand equitable access to information, technology, and infrastructure, particularly in our most underserved rural and urban areas.
  • Actively provoke civic engagement by fostering conversations among diverse members of our constituencies.

Empower community voices

  • Support the leadership and training of youth librarians for school and public libraries.
  • Implement a national agenda to strengthen school libraries.
  • Enable librarians and library workers to engage all constituencies within their communities and design services with their community members.

Foster diversity in library leadership

  • Strengthen opportunities for mentoring and leadership development, both as professionals in the field and as ALA leaders.
  • Develop strategies for increasing the diversity of librarians in the field and in leadership positions in ALA.

Build a strong ALA voice and a public will for libraries

  • Support a strategic legislative agenda.
  • Engage ALA members and our communities in advocating for transformed libraries.

Questions from the survey:

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

I think the top three things I look for are:

  1. Clear vision of role.  I expect a librarian to focus on the user/student and to demonstrate an understanding of how libraries impact the user.  I expect the candidate to convince me that librarianship is not just a job; it is a profession about which the candidate is passionate.  Finally, for school librarians, I expect the vision to include teaching.
  2. Interpersonal relationships and communication.  In an interview, I am looking for the candidate’s ability to listen, be respectful and thoughtful, show an openness to collaboration, and display self-confidence and a sense of humor.
  3. Evidence of effective practice.  I will be looking for evidence of effective practice, either practice that has happened in the past (conveyed through verbal responses and/or a portfolio) or practice that the candidate envisions for him or herself in the future.  I want to hear specific examples of how the candidate would bring vision and theory to life.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

I do have dealbreakers, but not actually a list of them.  In the past, I have crossed a candidate off the list if he or she displayed no passion for librarianship, showed too much ego or arrogance, focused totally on resources rather than services and instruction, made disparaging remarks about a current or former employer or colleague, or referred me to a personal website that was not professional.  Although I do not actively seek Facebook or blog pages, I will look at them if the candidate provides the link.  I will not hire anyone who presents him or herself in a flippant or sarcastic way.

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

I can’t think of anything.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

The following is a short list of some things that I have seen on resumes occasionally, but not consistently.  I like to see resumes that include:

  • Publications, presentations
  • Involvement in professional organizations
  • Areas of responsibility listed for each previous job
  • Internship experiences, especially if never had a job
  • References

How many pages should a cover letter be?

 √ Two is ok, but no more

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

As many as it takes, I want to look at every accomplishment

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

Other: No (I assume that their objective is to get the job I’m hiring for.  If that is not their objective, then I likely will not hire them – so they are definitely better off just skipping the objective.)

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

As an attachment only

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

I have already listed some of the characteristics that I look for, but I am “won over” by the following:

  • Honesty about strengths, areas in which to grow
  • Ability to listen and respond in a focused way to questions
  • A sense of humor
  • Preparation – the candidate has done his or her homework by reading the website, application, and any other materials to find out what I’m looking for and what I consider to be top priority
  • Self-confidence without arrogance

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

The most common mistakes I have seen are that the candidate talks too much, doesn’t answer the questions asked, and doesn’t show how his or her strengths will fulfill what I need.

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

The greatest change I have seen in school library hiring is a hiring freeze, so that no one outside of the district can be hired for a vacancy.  The district instituted this policy to avoid laying off current employees while it was dealing with terrible budget cuts.  The change that I instigated was to set the performance expectations higher, to develop some reflective practice instruments so that librarians could get a clearer picture of where they might shine and where they need to grow, and to talk to principals about the responsibilities of a school librarian so that when they hired, they asked the right questions and hired the most capable people.

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

First, please don’t get discouraged.  This is a great time for libraries and librarians and the job market will pick up.  Be flexible in the type of position you accept – maybe it’s not exactly what you want or in exactly the place you were hoping for, but you can make it a very positive and enriching experience.  Get that first job, even if you have to compromise a little.  Once you have that experience, you can move on to a position that is closer to your area of expertise.

Be willing to learn.  No employer expects a new employee to know everything already, but every employer expects that the new employee will jump right in and learn everything it takes to do an outstanding job.

Be willing to start at the bottom.  You will not walk into a situation that has perfect hours or ideal job responsibilities.  No matter what position it is, do the absolutely best job that you can.  You will develop confidence in your own ability and respect from your colleagues and supervisors.  The advancement will come.

I’d like to thank Ms. Stripling for taking the time to answer my questions so thoroughly! I encourage you to visit her website, or to use the comments section to ask any questions you might have. Most of all though, I encourage you to make your voice heard and VOTE!

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