Category Archives: Information Literacy Instruction

Researcher’s Corner: Job Ads and Academic Standards and Proficiencies

I am pleased to bring you this look at the types of skills mentioned in ads for academic librarians.  I think that you will find the results illuminating, and that you will appreciate their analysis.  If you’d like to read about this work in it’s full scholarly glory, please obtain a copy of: 
Gold, M. L., & Grotti, M. G. (2013). Do Job Advertisements Reflect ACRL’s Standards for Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators?: A Content Analysis. Journal Of Academic Librarianship, 39(6), 558-565. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2013.05.013


Standards and proficiencies documents are one way library science organizations communicate key skills and general values to the profession and to the world. Our interest in examining the relationship between professional standards and job advertisements arose out of committee work that focused on revising and critically examining the Standards for Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators, one of the many sets of standards drafted by the profession. These standards help direct librarians’ professional development activities as well as guide those who are looking to fill positions with qualified applicants. Given the goals of such standards, we wondered if there was any clear relationship between the key skills identified by the profession and the skills deemed most important by those seeking to fill instruction positions. As new-ish librarians just emerging from the journey of the academic job market, this line of  inquiry was particularly interesting to us.


Specifically, our research examined whether the areas of focus within the Standards for Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators were represented in instruction librarian job advertisements from US academic institutions. We used a content analysis approach, in which we scrutinized job advertisements that appeared on ALA JobLIST during a six-month period (January 1 to June 30, 2012).

Proficiency Categories from the Standards:

1) Administrative skills

2) Assessment and evaluation skills

3) Communication skills

4) Curriculum knowledge

5) Information literacy integration skills

6) Instructional design skills

7) Leadership skills

8) Planning skills

9) Presentation skills

10) Promotion skills

11) Subject Expertise

12) Teaching skills.

Using these categories, we examined about 50 job ads in a pilot study in order to develop the coding guide for our analysis. The creation of the coding guide and the many spirited discussions that it sparked between us was one of the most difficult, fun, and lengthy portions of the project.


Our results included an analysis of 230 job advertisements for words or phrases relating to the 12 proficiency categories. Institutions posting ads ranged from doctorate-granting universities to associate’s colleges and special focus institutions. Ads represented jobs in 46 states with the majority of ads (54%) indicating no requirement for years of experience.

  •  Administrative skills were mentioned in the highest percentage (82%) of job ads and were mentioned consistently across institution types.
  • Subject expertise (56%) and Leadership skills (52%) were also mentioned in the majority of job advertisements.
    • However, a much smaller percentage (19%) of associate’s colleges’ job ads mentioned Subject expertise compared to other institution types.
  • Instructional design skills were mentioned in 46% of ads.
  • Presentation skills were mentioned the least, in only 8% of job advertisements.
  • Teaching skills were only listed as a required skill in 13% of job ads.

Implications for Job Seekers

Though exploratory in nature, our study can be informative for job seekers interested in discovering which skills are in-demand. It is clear that employers place an emphasis on Administrative skills, which for this study meant working well in a team and communicating instruction goals. A high percentage of ads also mentioned the importance of professional development, scholarly research, or seeking out instruction opportunities, which were classified as Leadership skills. Though the desire for these skills may not be surprising, the explicit mention of them in these ads highlights the importance for job seekers to incorporate these qualifications into their application materials.

Also of note for job seekers, Subject expertise was mentioned in a higher percentage (65%) of ads from institutions offering doctorates than those not offering advanced degrees. Additionally, most ads that mentioned Subject expertise listed it as a required or preferred qualification rather than mentioning it generally in the body of the job ad.

It was surprising to see Instructional design skills (e.g. experience with lesson planning, developing learning outcomes, or course content) mentioned in more job ads than Teaching skills. However, this was likely related to the recent emergence of librarians as instructional designers and our strict definition of Teaching skills, which required knowledge of pedagogy or learning theory and was beyond mere teaching experience.


We feel that it is important to note that the low frequency of mentions for some skills in job ads is likely not due to employers valuing these skills any less. We believe a lack of mentions may have been due to the limited space available within job advertisements and the inclusion of institutionally prescribed language, as well as the fact that certain skills (e.g. presentation and teaching) are more effectively evaluated during campus interviews rather than through application materials. Thus, it is important to remember that job ads are only one indication of the skills that may be important for a particular position. We suggest that professional standards can provide additional guidance regarding specific competencies that go above and beyond the language of job ads. These can help applicants to articulate and identify key abilities that they have when writing cover letters or responding to the general language found in these ads.

Grotti_Meg-2013-06-- smiling only


Meg Grotti, Coordinator of Library Instruction, University of Delaware Library

Meg Grotti’s research interests include instructional technology for libraries, information literacy pedagogy, and assessment of student learning.  Meg has served on numerous professional committees at the national and local level, including work for the ACRL’s College and Research Libraries publication and the ACRL Value of Academic Libraries initiative.


profilepinkMelissa Gold, Assistant Professor and Science Librarian at McNairy Library, Millersville University of Pennsylvania.

Melissa Gold’s research interests include information literacy pedagogy, using professional standards in practice, and the value of the library building. She serves on committees within the instruction section and science and technology section of ACRL and regularly presents at national conferences. Melissa has also served on multiple search committees and enjoys giving feedback to job seekers. Feel free to contact her about academic job searches.

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Filed under Guest Posts, Information Literacy Instruction, library research, Researcher's Corner

Hired Librarians: She Said She Had a “Crush” on Us

Here’s the next post in our Hired Librarians feature, where I interview a recent successful job hunter and the librarian that hired her.  This week I’m interviewing Nicole Tekulve, Information Commons Librarian, and Virginia Cairns, Chair of Search Committee/Head of Reference & Instruction.  Ms. Tekulve and Ms. Cairns are Academic Librarians.

UTC Library

They work at the Lupton Library at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, which is in the Southern US and has 31 staff members.

The Successful Candidate: Nicole Tekulve


Where are you in your career?  When did you graduate, and how many years of experience do you have?

I am an early career librarian who graduated in spring of 2011. I have a little under two years of professional experience and about 5 years of paraprofessional experience in public and academic libraries.  

Why did this job pique your interest?

This was actually one of the first questions I was asked in my interview! To begin with, I knew about the UTC Library’s reputation, the innovative projects they worked on, and the type of librarians they employed. I wanted to be a part of team where I would be challenged both intellectually and creatively. I also loved that I would be doing a variety of things- from teaching classes to planning workshops and programs to managing student workers.

How many pages was your resume? Cover letter?

My CV was 3 pages long and my cover letter clocked in at a full page.

What research did you do before submitting your application?

For starters, I did some general research about the library, campus, and community. One of the greatest things about this library is that they are very transparent. The library maintains a wiki with tons of information about the organizational structure and past, current, and future projects. I made sure to pour over that information thoroughly.

I also did more specific research related to information commons. I reviewed books, journal articles, and looked at the webpages of many information commons throughout the country. This helped me define my vision of an information commons.

What did you wear (or – do you have a photo of your outfit)?

I don’t have a photo but here’s a recreation. It’s not the typical pantsuit but I wasn’t interviewing at a place that I considered typical.


Can you describe your process in preparing for the interview?

A major part of the interview process was developing and presenting my ideas for programs and services that would further the Information Common’s mission to serve as a collaborative hub for the library and on campus. I spent about a week developing the presentation and then at least two or three days refining and practicing. I even went so far as to record myself giving the presentation on my iPhone and listened to it over and over again while making the 4 hour trek to Chattanooga (I realize this is a little crazy).

I also read through this list of interview questions and thought about some potential answers. There’s no way to know what a search committee will ask but even developing sample answers will help you think quicker on your feet when the interview time comes.

What questions did you ask?

Be prepared for that moment when the search committee asks “do you have any questions?”! The night before the interview I jotted down about ten questions and grouped them according to the different interviews. I had different questions for each of the different groups I was meeting with. Some of the more general questions were things like “What is the biggest challenge facing the library in the coming year?” and “Why do love working at Lupton Library?”. I also made sure to stay engaged throughout the day and ask questions during the more informal moments like the coffee break and lunch.

Why do you think you were hired?  What set you apart from other candidates?

I think it was combination of experience and personality. I had a year’s worth of professional experience under my belt and I could highlight past projects and accomplishments that I felt would appeal to the search committee. I also tried to make sure that I was myself throughout the process. I mentioned Honey Boo Boo in my cover letter to clue them in on my love of pop culture. For my presentation, I included funny pictures (like dogs walking on tightropes) because I wanted to convey my lighthearted side.

Is there anything else you want to tell my readers about why you were chosen? Or any general job hunting advice you want to dispense?

As far as general advice, I would  strongly recommend that you have someone review your application materials. It doesn’t have to necessarily be another librarian. My sister comes from the corporate world and has helped me immensely with proofreading and formatting.

I also would suggest that you tailor each cover letter and CV to the position that you are applying for. No two jobs are exactly alike so you’ll want to make sure that you are highlighting how you fit for each position.

The job hunting process is time consuming. When I was applying for a slew of jobs leading up to graduation, I treated it as a part-time job. I would come home from work and search for jobs, draft application materials, and follow-up on applied jobs for at least two hours a day. Be willing to invest time in the process to ensure a positive outcome.

The Hiring Librarian: Virginia Cairns

Virginia Cairns

What stood out in this applicant’s cover letter?

Nicole wrote an excellent cover letter that covered all the bases (highlighted specifics of how she met the requirements of the job). She also indicated that she knew of our library and the work we have been doing (she said she had a “crush” on us). The crowning detail was a reference to Honey Boo Boo. I had to speak with this person after reading her letter. That’s what a good cover letter should do – make me want to meet you, discuss things further and learn more about you.

Did she meet all of the required qualifications listed in the job ad? How many of the desired qualifications did she meet?

Yes. Nicole pretty much met all of them. She was doing a very similar job at another school. Her CV did a great job of outlining the varied duties she was performing in her prior job that matched up with what we were looking for.

In comparison to the rest of the pool, did the applicant have more, less, or about the same years of experience?  What about for the other people you interviewed?

Nicole was right at the top of our pool of candidates. We had probably 3 who shared similar levels of relevant experience and desirable skills.

What was the interview process like?

We phone interview about 10 finalists and then bring anywhere from 2-4 to campus depending. The interview itself is dinner the evening before with the Dean, and then a full day of meetings, a formal presentation, a social hour with the library staff and faculty, campus and library tours, and we close out with a wrap up with the Dean.

What stood out in this applicant’s interview?

Nicole was articulate, she came prepared with questions, she had good examples of projects she had completed and groups she had worked with. She described herself as having a “yes: mentality, which goes a long way in our culture here at UTC. Her presentation was solid and she was clearly comfortable in front of a classroom. She enjoyed interviewing us as much as we enjoyed interviewing her. She established rapport with us very well and had done her homework (she knew who we all were,  by name).

Were there any flags or questions you had about this person’s abilities, and how did they resolve them?

No, Nicole was clearly qualified for the job. And she fits well with our existing team in the instruction department and library-wide.

Is there anything else you want to tell my readers about why this candidate was chosen? Or any general job hunting advice you want to dispense?

A good cover letter is the key to making it through the initial onslaught of applicants (in some cases 175+) and landing an interview. Make the letter reflect not only your skills and experience but your personality as well. Get help polishing up both your resume and your cover letter if you feel you need it.

Once you land an interview, do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the library, its services and its people. In the interview, be prepared to treat the day as a two-way conversation – ask us questions just as we are asking you questions. Practice your presentation thoroughly so you’ll be confident and comfortable delivering it. Express your continued interest in the position to the Dean or hiring manager as you wrap up the interview. If possible, follow up with an email or note to the search committee after you get home from the interview, just to cement it as a positive experience and reinforce your interest in the position.

If you’re part of a recent hiree/hiring manager pair who’d be willing to be interviewed for this feature, please contact me.  Or please pass along this request!

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Hired Librarians, Information Literacy Instruction, Southern US

Further Questions: When and how should candidates check-in after an interview (if at all)?

This week’s question is related to last week’s, but about a later stage of the process. I asked people who hire librarians:

When and how should candidates check-in after an interview (if at all)? Have you ever told someone you’d get back to them by a certain time, and then not been able to do so?

Cathi AllowayWe give interviewed candidates an approximate decision date, but encourage them to call us if the date passes and they have not heard from us. I explain that deadlines are sometimes compromised because we sometimes need additional approvals from the library board or local government officials that may be delayed. We will also tell really good candidates that if they get an offer from somewhere else while they are waiting to hear from us, to feel free to call about it so we can work with them as they make their important decision.

– Catherine Alloway, Director, Schlow Centre Region Library

Laurie PhillipsOther than sending a thank you email, I don’t know if it would help to check in. I have had people send follow-up materials that were mentioned during the interview. Yes, there may be a reason why the final decision is delayed (the Dean is out, the Provost’s office hasn’t given us the final go-ahead, a committee member is ill), but in general, we meet to decide as soon after the final candidate as possible. A candidate should find out what the interview schedule is while they are interviewing (are they first, last, what is the schedule). That way they should know when to expect to hear. Otherwise, if the committee is still bringing in candidates, we’re fairly busy with that and may not have a lot of time to respond. Keep in mind, I cannot notify the unsuccessful candidates until I have an absolute yes from the successful candidate. At that point, I write emails to the unsuccessful candidates who visited campus. I have asked job seekers if they prefer email to a phone call and have been told that they prefer email because they don’t have an awkward conversation with me and don’t get their hopes up when I call.

– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

I agree with some of the posters from last week. I don’t think that an applicant should “check in” once they have submitted an application, unless they have forgotten to include something, they really want the search committee to know about.  The only other time may be when they are being considered for another position, but they prefer yours and really want/need to know if they are being actively considered, so that they can make a decision.  I have to admit that it is a tad annoying to me as a potential employer or search committee chair to receive phone calls, especially repeated calls from the same person.   I understand from many years of doing this, that the search process can take a long time, and it is frustrating for a candidate to be left hanging.  But the cogs move pretty slowly in academia sometimes, often due to conflicting schedules for meetings, and/or large candidate pools.  I’m afraid that I think it is best to just wait out the process, unless one of the two reasons above are the case.  I don’t mean to sound hard about this, because I, like most people, have been on both sides of the process.  However, everyone needs to remember that search committees want to finish their work and select a candidate as soon as possible too.  None of us is trying to cause hardships for candidates. Once the candidates get a job and serve on a search committee, I think they will better understand why the searches can often take an inordinate amount of time, as frustrating as that can be.

– Sharon Britton, Library Director, BGSU – Firelands

Marleah AugustineI think it’s best if candidates let at least a week go by. Sometimes the interview process is not even finished and I get calls from candidates. I appreciate their eagerness, but I just don’t have anything I can tell them at that point.
I’ve always (knock on wood) been able to get back to people on time.
– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library
Manya ShorrIn my current situation, I’d rather people don’t check in at all within the first two-three weeks after the interview. I know it’s extremely frustrating to wait for a response and that it seems like nothing is happening, but I ask applicants to trust that things are moving forward. There are a myriad of things that could be happening behind the scenes. For example: a panel member may have gone on vacation right after the interview (recently happened here..with two panelists), we may be calling references (do you know how hard it can be to connect with references?), you may be our second choice and we’re waiting to hear if the first person accepts the position (in fact, we may be flying them out here to visit before offering them the position). I’m aware that it feels like torture and it is never our intention to make applicants suffer, but there are protocols in place that we have to follow. So, please, be patient. I promise we have not forgotten about you and we will be in touch soon.
– Manya Shorr, Senior Manager, Branch Services, Omaha Public Library

Randall SchroederI have never had that situation, but if I did miss a promised deadline a quick e-mail asking what is the status of the search would not be received poorly.

One reason that this situation has not been my experience is if I give candidates a ballpark idea of when they will hear back, it is usually a simple matter to send out an e-mail explaining, in general, what the delay is about. If I am down to a few on-campus interviews, it is no hardship to send out a couple of e-mails. If it is more global than that, our new HR software allows me to send out group e-mails quite readily.

My general feeling is that people’s imaginations will come up with much worse explanations in the absence of information. It will save all us much anxiety if I can give candidates an honest answer about the timeline when possible.

In short, I want my candidates, especially my finalists, to feel valued. Why start off a potential collegial working relationship with preventable hard feelings?

– Randall Schroeder, Department Head of Public Services, Ferris Library for Information & Technology Education

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight. If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.

Thank YOU for reading!

Tall and tan and young and lovely, the comment from Ipanema gets posted


Filed under Academic, Adult Services, Cataloging/Technical Services, Further Questions, Information Literacy Instruction, Public, Public Services/Reference

Further Questions: What are the most important “tech skills”?

This week I have another question from a reader.  I asked people who hire librarians:

Everyone says it’s important for candidates to have “tech skills”. Can you please explain what, exactly, tech skills are?  I realize it varies depending on position, but what would you say are the most important programs and proficiencies for candidates, and why?

“Tech skills.” OK – I expect anyone I hire at any level (clerk to professional) to know the vocabulary of computers – that is, words like icon, program, mouse, hard drive, disk, thumb drive, monitor, cable, etc. so they can explain to the repair person more than just “the little girl in the corner isn’t coming up.” (Oh yes. Exactly)

I expect anyone I hire at any level to know basic mouse use, keyboarding (don’t have to be fast but should not “hunt and peck”), how to set up and use an email program, how to use a word processing program to write, find and print documents; and familiarity enough with using computers to learn the online catalog and circulation system, change the printer paper, turn on and turn off the equipment properly, and know to look to see if it is plugged in when it won’t turn on.

Then, for the professional staff, all should be able to learn our ILS system and have the technical skills sufficient to teach it to others as well as the technical skills to do basic computer upkeep – download and install upgrades, keep the security system updated, and basic computer installation (taking it out of the box, plugging in all the parts, and making it work). Also the skills and background knowledge to easily learn and teach the operation of other equipment as necessary – microfilm machines, digital projectors, fax machines, etc., and explain to a patron how to download an audiobook or an eBook from our collection.

If we start talking a special technology person, it gets very intense up to taking apart and fixing, but basic “tech skills.” There you have it.

And if we want to talk tech skills in the generic – it doesn’t hurt knowing how to plunge a toilet or change a light bulb – just saying.

– Dusty Snipes Grès, Director, Ohoopee Regional Library System

Tech skills for my public library mean two things. 1) What we used to call BI back in the day. Especially for public service librarians, I don’t want to hire anyone who would not have the sufficient skills to understand and to train the users in basic computer skills (how to set up email, how to look for a job, how to use software, basic search strategies). 2) Any librarian or library staff member needs to be able to troubleshoot minor software issues and to understand and follow the instructions of our IT staff when troubleshooting and repairing over the telephone. Where I have worked in the past, getting timely service from IT may be impossible. I don’t want our public computers to sit idle any longer than necessary.

– Melanie Lightbody, Director of Libraries, Butte County

Laurie PhillipsAs you say, the exact skills and the level of expectation will vary depending on the position but there are some good general rules of thumb where technology and libraries are concerned. What we mean is that the person should have the ability to learn and adapt to changes in technology quickly and easily. For tech services, I need people who are willing and able to use software to track and analyze data. Using Excel or similar software to be able to show trends and analysis is crucial. And, as I mentioned, you need to be able to quickly adjust when software is upgraded or changed. You also need to be comfortable enough with technology and software that you can demonstrate it to faculty and students and troubleshoot their problems. At the very least, you should be proficient in using Office, but then there are so many other possibilities to understand and learn – system software, vendor websites, presentation software such as Camtasia, web authoring software, and on and on. Catalogers should be comfortable with how systems use data to interact with one another. Not that you need to know every kind of software, but you should be completely comfortable with learning and adopting new software and technology.

– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

For reference positions, I would think Web searching would be very important.  Familiarity with ILS and OPAC selection and use is important.  For cataloguers, familiarity with online resources (such as the Library of Congress online catalogue and authorities, MARC21, and OCLC) are a priority.  How to use MARCReport and other automated aids is helpful.  Ability to program would be a plus.

– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

Emilie SmartTech skills vary by department I’m sure, but the absolute minimum required to work in the Reference dept at my library are:

Proficiency in MS Office applications (extra points for Access proficiency).  In other words, know how to format a document, change its font, insert an image; understand how a spreadsheet works, plug in a formula, sort by various schemes; create a birthday card or a newsletter; create a basic powerpoint presentation.  We assist patrons with these skills every day.

Be able to write basic html code from scratch (no Dreamweaver or other html editor).  This includes inserting URLs and images, creating tables, creating ordered and unordered lists.  You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve asked an interviewee if they know how to write basic html and they tell me, “I know how to use Dreamweaver…”   Yeah, but can you clean up the mess you made with it?  We maintain a lot of library website real estate and staff must have a basic knowledge of html in order to do this efficiently and effectively.  But even if you never have to actually write code, it helps to speak the same language as the webmaster.

Understand the basic workings of a computer.  Understand basic computer terminology.  Understand files — what they are and where they live on the computer.  Understand how to save, copy, drag…  We instruct patrons daily.

Understand basic internet functions:  upload, download, social media in all its varieties, forums, email, texting, RSS…  Know what an embed code is and where to put it.  We help patrons with this all the time and we use all of these things ourselves.  A basic understanding is essential.

Know how to edit an image, i.e., resize or crop at the very least.  See above.

Know what ebooks are and how to access/use them.  Familiarity with a variety of devices is great too.  We have Overdrive; our patrons have every device on the planet — and don’t know how to use them.  Staff MUST be able to help them out.

Know how to search a database whether you’ve used it or not and be able to recognize or describe features that you expect to see in a database (saved searches, permalinks, citation assistance, etc.).  We have loads of databases covering the entire Dewey range and we often have to instruct patrons on how to use databases that we don’t use regularly.  It helps if you know how databases work, how they are organized, and what features to look for.

Know how to get on a wireless connection.   Know how to set up a projector to use with a computer.  Know how to skype.  Know how to use a smartphone and/or tablet.  Things we do on a regular basis for outreach, programs, reference…

Basically, the more you know about computers, software and the internet, the better.

– Emilie Smart, Division Coordinator of Reference Services & Computer Services at East Baton Rouge Parish Library

Marge Loch-WoutersIf it’s a generalist position (adult reference; children’s reference), we like to see people who are proficient in the Microsoft office suite; understand and can use Adobe; aren’t afraid to drive a computer around; understand wikis; can upload files; read blogs or have a blog; are proficient and aware of social media as it relates to libraries and can open a printer, pull out the cartridge and replace it.  Bonus points if the candidates have used ipads/itouch/iphone/kindles and nooks. We have tech support in other positions in the library.  For the generalist, our expectation is that we don’t have to teach or encourage them to know what are essentially “basics” for us.

– Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library

I agree with your reader in that which technology skills are needed can vary quite widely with the type of job and organisation – from online subscription database sources for a private sector business researcher, to library management systems at a public library, Moodle/Blackboard or other VLE systems in academia or MS Sharepoint or other content management or EDRM systems to manage records or an intranet.
Something that is becoming a necessary skill in common across lots of different roles and environments are web2.0 and social media skills.  Whether used for internal communication, organising workflow or sharing files, or for external advocacy and marketing, facility with these technologies is rapidly becoming a core ability.
Over time, there will probably be other systems and technologies becoming common place, so I would say the most vital skill of all is the confidence and curiosity to experiment and play with these as they arrive, so that librarians remain at the forefront of information handing and can best help their patrons.
– Nicola Franklin, Director, The Library Career Centre Ltd.

Terry Ann LawlerIf we are totally honest with ourselves, sometimes even WE don’t really know what we mean by ‘tech skills’.  For example, sometimes, it just means ‘can you move a mouse and navigate google?’

Usually, what I mean is that I want someone who has more than the average ‘checkmyfacebookandemailtentimesaday’ person.  I need someone who isn’t afraid to troubleshoot a printing problem, who can replace a CPU and who already knows how to search a database including advanced searching.  You probably don’t have to know where a sound card plugs in, but it would be nice.  It grueling to start a new employee and find out that they can’t navigate basic computer systems and are afraid to click anything for fear of breaking the computer.  It is very hard on my staff and myself to train a new employee in basic computer skills at the same time as we are training them in building safety, copy-write, library policies, ILL, etc. 

I also, usually, mean that I want someone who can work in MS Word and Excel and other popular software programs at more than a basic level so that they can help customers with their resumes or other issues.  And, I want someone who has some knowledge of Internet resources that are helpful.  Most college graduates today can do these things.  If you find that you can’t, you should probably take a class or two.  In fact, there may be some for free at your local library;)

I don’t normally put tech skills into my hiring matrix criteria unless I’m down to being the only person in the building who can replace a monitor.   However, when it is mentioned on a resume, that perks up my eyes.  If you have tech skills, or have taken classes or are certified, I highly recommend putting that in your resume in the skills section.  Even if you aren’t using the exact same computer systems and software, I can at least see that you have the ability to learn those things and you probably know enough to carry you through new systems.

– Terry Lawler, Assistant Manager and Children’s Librarian, Palo Verde Branch, Phoenix Public Library

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email me at

Thank YOU for reading! And I encourage you to try here that after-reading breath freshener, the com-mint.

*Edited 8/10/2012 11:15 AM PST to add response from T. Lawler.


Filed under Adult Services, Cataloging/Technical Services, Further Questions, Information Literacy Instruction, Public Services/Reference, Youth Services