Category Archives: Job Hunters Web Guide

Job Hunter’s Web Guide: PNLA Jobs

If you’re wondering which LIS Job Board has the most beautiful header image, look no further. I’m pleased to present to you the Pacific Northwest Library Association Job Board.

What is it?  Please give us your elevator speech!

The PNLA Jobs page is the place to look for library jobs in the Pacific Northwest- this includes the United States and Canada. The PNLA Jobs page also has a spot for library jobs which are not located in the Pacific Northwest. 

When was it started?  Why was it started?

I’m not sure of when it was started, but the form I have has entries that go back to 2018. My guess is that it was started because there was a need to promote and advertise library jobs in the Pacific Northwest.

Who runs it?

Ilana Kingsley is the Webperson for PNLA and updates the PNLA Jobs page on a regular basis.

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

Nope. I’m the Web Librarian for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Rasmuson Library. I have a MLS and MEd. 

Who is your target audience?

Folks in the Pacific Northwest who are looking for job opportunities.

What’s the best way to use your site?  Should users consult it daily?  Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

Listings are posted  on a weekly basis. If you’re seeking employment, or just want to get a taste of what library jobs are out there, your best bet is to consult the PNLA Jobs page  weekly).

Jobs are removed from the page the day after their closing date. For positions that are open until filled, I check the links weekly to see if the job ad is still active. 

Does your site provide:

√ Job Listings

√ Links

Do you charge for anything on your site?

No. Listings are free for PNLA members. We don’t charge for non-PNLA members, but donations are welcome. 

What are your standards for job listings (e.g., must include salary)? 

On the PNLA jobs form we ask for the job title, the employer, the state/province, a working link to the position announcement, the closing date if applicable, and other relevant comments that the webperson would need to know in order to post the link. 

For those who are unable to use the Google form, email the PNLA webperson directly at webmaster@pnla.org

Jobs ads posted to the page must be related to the library profession.

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About a Decade Later: Former Job Hunter Cristy Moran

Head shot of Cristy Moran. She has tortiseshell glasses, brown chin-length hair, a polka dot top, black cardigan, and big smile.

Back in 2012/2013 I ran a survey of job hunters (co-authored by Naomi House of INALJ). It had over 500 responses, including 117 people who were at least initially willing to be non-anonymous. In this series, we check in with these respondents to see what they are doing, about a decade later. 

Cristy Moran completed the original survey in January 2013 and her answers appeared as There is a “Black Hole” of Information After One Drops a Resume. We followed up with her at the end of 2013 and learned that after applying to over 200 jobs in 16 months (and a stint as a temporary reference librarian), she had found a permanent, full time position as an information literacy instructor (considered paraprofessional). When we followed up in 2014, Cristy had started searching for a professional librarian position and had a plan to consider work outside her geographic area if not successful. In our last follow-up, in late 2015, she had found a faculty librarian position within her region, which she described as, “the right one for me.”

Given that saga, I was really happy when she agreed to do this follow up. She’s in a new state and about two months into a super interesting new role. If you’d like to connect with Cristy or learn more about her career path, she has a website and is on LinkedIn.  

She was kind enough to answer my questions below.  

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take to get where you are?

I am the Adult Library Services Senior Consultant at the Colorado State Library – which Google tells me is about 2,000 miles from the last place you found me in late 2015.  Then, I had finally found a full-time job as a faculty librarian. Up until two months ago, I was still in that college, serving in the same role. It was an incredibly challenging and rewarding job that allowed me the opportunity and space to craft my own career. However, like so many others, my husband and I – two professionals working in public education in Florida – were among the many that re-evaluated our work lives during the pandemic. A lot of the decisions I had made to grow as a professional in certain areas offered me the opportunity and gave me the confidence to look for work that was a little different but played to my strengths and interests in librarianship.

Were any parts of your journey completely unexpected?

At that job, I was based out of a joint-use library location – regional public library and college campus – where I ended up working with the public (non-students) a lot more than I ever imagined. My closest colleagues on-site were public librarians in adult services. Most of my days (until the pandemic) were a struggle to juggle responsibilities on a public reference desk and programming for adult public library users and a really long list of things in service to my actual employer: the college. It’s a unique condition that only my partner college librarian on my campus can understand – because he was there with me every step of my time there. For all the challenges – which are many – there were so many opportunities that I really benefited from and enjoyed. How much I enjoyed the job – despite those challenges and despite that situation for which no one can really prepare you – is perhaps the most unexpected part.

Looking over your past answers, what pops out at you? Has anything changed?

In 2015, I wrote, “It’s easy to box ourselves into a chosen profession because that’s what our job is. And I mean this for any job in any field. The most successful I’ve been at any job I’ve had is when I’ve thought back to seemingly unrelated past experiences and considered them in context of my current responsibilities – or the job description of a position that I want.” I stand by that. Fully. Wholly. Completely.

I have found librarianship to be rewarding because it’s dynamic. It’s wild to me to think back on what I thought a librarian did for a living. What I imagined my day would be like – even when I was getting my MLIS. The reality is that what prepared me for the career I have had was working at a CD store as an undergrad. It was the years of running a tutoring center and balancing teaching, budgeting, meeting with parents, reaching out to teachers at local schools, and managing a staff of professional teachers and recent high school graduates. It is all those experiences, I believe – far outside Library Land, where I discovered and developed the elements that have made up the version of librarianship that has been my awesome, rewarding, and never-boring career.

Have you had a chance to hire anyone? If so, what was that like?

I’ve served on and chaired several hiring committees, both for the library department and for other academic departments. It’s given me insight into the academic hiring process – and the reality vs expectations of job seekers and people on search committees. The process is, largely, determined by the institution’s systems and, in my experience, while the committees can create thoughtful questions, the rest of the process is limited by HR policies. Also, it’s worth mentioning that committee members are fitting their committee work within incredibly tight schedules of primary responsibilities like teaching, reference, and institutional service. As organized and proactive as I am, I wasn’t able to add hours to my day and overlapping availability for interviews with my colleagues who were just as busy as I was. Suffice it to say, it’s a slow-going process and it’s not for lack of wanting to move it more rapidly. There are just a lot of obstacles – availability of busy people being chief among them.

Do you have any advice for job hunters?

For the ones new to the field… It is hard to be a librarian. Especially right now. And, more to the point of this interview: It’s harder to become a librarian – to find a job that gets you there. A lot of qualified, seasoned librarians are out there looking for jobs that would otherwise be entry-level positions. That’s the reality of the job market right now for us. I was just in it. I went for entry-level position openings. I didn’t get the majority of them. It’s hard out there. Extend yourself some grace. Be kind to yourself. Consider what you can afford to do and the career you want to have. Don’t sell yourself short.

For the rest of us… for the librarian job hunters who are just looking for the next gig – for whatever reason… You’re not alone. It’s hard out there for us too. Play to your strengths. If you didn’t already engage in professional networks at the local and state level, start now. Listen to the chatter. Look for the next place to be better than the last one. Don’t be afraid to try something new. We need to change and be flexible because libraries, librarianship, and the communities we serve – and the world in which we serve them – are ever-changing. What it was like when we started, isn’t what it’s like now. Extend yourself some grace. Be kind to yourself. Consider what you can afford to do and the career you want to have. Don’t sell yourself short.

Do you have any advice for people who hire LIS folks?

Hire people who look like, sound like, and are the people your library serves. Fill your library with people who understand and know and love your community because your library is a part of that community. If you want your community – be they students or neighbors – to love your library, then the library needs to be a place they see themselves and where they want to be seen. It is unreal that I was the only Hispanic/ Latinx librarian in an institution whose student body is 37% self-identified Hispanic/Latinx. It is even more unreal when I consider the racial make-up of the libraries where I’ve worked compared to the area demographics and the institution’s student demographics. We need to exemplify the values we espouse if we want to uphold them. People won’t come to libraries – thus, libraries will become obsolete – if we don’t fill our staff with the faces, voices, interests, and experiences of the world outside our walls.

Also, there’s no such thing as a unicorn. Looking for one among people who apply to your job opening at a library isn’t going to suddenly make them real. 

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

I love being a librarian. It’s better than I thought. It’s also really challenging. It’s unforgiving in many ways. There are expectations of us coming from the institutions that hire us, the people we serve, people who don’t even know what we do for a living, people who hate what we stand for, and even from our own peers in the profession. And I still love it.

It’s not the job I thought it was and – perhaps – it’s not the job it was either. It’s changed since I wanted to be a librarian, and it’s changed since I’ve been one. That’s the kind of work that it is. That’s the gig. Reflecting on what librarianship is now, what it was, and what it needs to be in order to meet the needs of the communities we serve and to stay relevant in the world that is today, tomorrow, and the next is essential in Library Land. It’s hard work – invisible and visible – but it’s worth it.

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Job Hunter’s Web Guide: CILIP Careers Hub

This is part of our series, Job Hunter’s Web Guide, which profiles online resources for LIS job hunters.

It’s been interesting for this American to get a few glimpses into librarianship in other countries. The UK’s main association for librarians is CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals). I recently corresponded with their Workforce Development Manager, Helen Berry, to put together this profile. Please enjoy learning a bit about CILIP’s efforts, history, and goals around supporting library careers in the UK.

What is it? Please give us your elevator speech!
The CILIP Careers Hub is a dedicated area of the CILIP website with resources, support and guidance for those seeking a job in the information profession. It covers all stages of the career journey and is freely accessible to members and non-members alike.

The CILIP Job Board, Information Professional Jobs, is part of our Careers Hub and carries the
largest number of LIS jobs in the UK. The roles cover the sectors of Academia, Health,
Government, Public, Schools, Legal, Commercial and Special Collections.13000 people visit the
site each month.

When was it started? Why was it started?
The job board was born out of a fortnightly jobs print supplement that went out to CILIP
members from the Sixties right up until 2010. Initially entitled LISJOBNET.com, it rebranded in
2018 to align the brand with the membership journal and became Information Professional
Jobs.

Who runs it?
CILIP, the library and information association.

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?
CILIP is the UK library and information association. We support, unite and develop information
professionals and librarians across all sectors- the people who help the world make better decisions.

We also offer training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to the profession, accredit LIS courses at Universities in the UK and internationally, led the trailblazer group to develop the Level 3 Library, Information and Archive Services Assistant Apprenticeship Standard for the UK and offer 3 levels of Professional Registration (Certification, Chartership and Fellowship) ourselves, backed by our Royal Charter and Professional Knowledge and Skills Base. Which is a slightly long winded way of saying, “yes, we do know quite a bit about the information profession!”

Who is your target audience?
Anyone working or wishing to work within the library, knowledge and information domains in the
UK. Appealing to cross sectoral workers from Academic, Health, Government, Public, Schools,
Legal, Commercial and Special Collections.

What’s the best way to use your site? Should users consult it daily? Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?
Jobs are added to the site most days. Depending on your level of job-seeking seriousness,
there is a mechanism to put you in touch with the latest jobs.

There is a real-time e-alert service that emails users details of jobs that fit their search criteria as
they hit the database, so you aren’t inundated with irrelevant posts. You can also opt to receive
these alerts hourly/daily or weekly, if you wish.

We also have a weekly e-newsletter that gives details of all the new jobs that week – everything for you to browse. 6,700 subscribe to this e-newsletter. The sign up page is here.

Does your site provide:
√ Job Listings
√ Answers to reader questions
√ Links
√ Research

Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats?
√ Twitter: @CILIPInfoPJobs
√ Newsletter: Weekly Jobs Round Up

Do you charge for anything on your site?
Not for Jobseekers. Advertising is paid for.

Anything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about
library hiring/job hunting in general?

For job hunters – never be afraid to reach out and ask questions. The library and information
profession is vast, but full of very friendly people who are more than happy to share their
experiences with new professionals. If there’s a particular sector you’re interested in finding out
more about, there’s a good chance there’s a CILIP Special Interest Group for that area and our
members are always willing to share their knowledge!

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Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Sites of Yore

In the first iteration of Hiring Librarians I started a feature called Job Hunter’s Web Guide, where I profiled websites that provided LIS career advice, job listings, or other forms of support for job seekers. I’ve been working through updates for the sites that are still active, but several are on pause, no longer being updated, or have been taken down entirely. This post will provide a look at the sites of yore, including a site that was started in 1995 and ran for 20 years.


Career QandA with the Library Career People

Career Q & A with the Library Career People:

The site was an online advice column for LIS job seekers. The site at the URL in the profile no longer exists. The Library Career People joined forces with Ellen Mehling and started the site Your Library Career, which included blog posts as well as advice. It stopped being updated during COVID. Ellen now writes Brooklyn Library’s Work Life blog.

Infonista

Infonista:

Run by Kim Dority, this site “is a blog that focuses on all the different ways LIS professionals can deploy their information skills, in both traditional and nontraditional environments.” I profiled it in February 2013. Infonista is currently on pause, last updated in January 2020. I reached out to Kim and she shared that she is currently focusing on client projects, her work with Kent state and managing an illness in the family. She does plan to return to updating Infonista at some point in the future.

The Library Career Centre:

Nicola Franklin provided recruitment and career coaching services for library and information professionals. The site, which I profiled in December 2012, centered around a blog but also included information about Nicola’s services. I reached out to her and she said, “I’ve relocated to the US and initially moved into in-house recruiting at USC and then onto my current company, the L.A. Times, where over the past 5 years my role has expanded to lead talent management, which encompasses recruiting, learning & development, performance management and other ‘talent’ related areas.

I don’t actively work in recruiting library or information professional staff any more, and only maintain the Library Career Center to do career coaching (resume advice, etc) for any UK or US based folk who request it.”

Librarian Hire Fashion

Librarian Hire Fashion:

This Tumblr shared pictures of interview outfits worn by library workers  who had received a job offer. It was last updated in 2015. I profiled the site in December 2012  and also worked with its author, Jill, to put together the most controversial/regrettable of the Hiring Librarians surveys, What Should Candidates Wear. I checked in with Jill and she said, “I stopped posting because I unexpectedly became a library director and was uncertain about how FOIA applied. However, helping people get the jobs they want is a passion and I’ve hired 11 times since 2015, that I can remember. Fashion and clothing choices are still an interest, too.

Library Job Postings on the Internet:

Started back in 1995 by Sarah Johnson, this site sunsetted in 2015, after 20 years of indexing library employment sites from all over the world – when I did a profile in December 2012, there were more than 400 sites. She has a great good-bye note up on the site. It includes the explanation, “My professional interests have expanded into other areas, and regretfully, I don’t have the time to keep up with this site as it deserves.  For the past two decades, I’ve run this site on my own, on a volunteer basis.  Rather than continue to maintain a site with outdated links, these pages were taken down in November 2015, after a three-month advance alert that I’d be doing so.”

Sarah is still online and regularly blogs about historical fiction at Reading the Past (Twitter @readingthepast).

LisList:

This was a REALLY BIG list of US jobs. The site doesn’t exist any longer. It was run by Amadee Ricketts and her husband James Orndorf from around 2014-2016. She said, “ It was fun but as our circumstances changed, and especially once I got a new job with a steep learning curve, it made sense to let it go.”

Open Cover Letters

Open Cover Letters:

Stephen X. Flynn started Open Cover Letters about six months before I started Hiring Librarians and I’ll always be grateful to him for how friendly he was. He’s the one that advised me to buy the domain, he spoke with me in a webinar, and he even forwarded me a job listing when I was looking for work. I profiled Open Cover Letters in March 2013.The site shared redacted Cover Letters that had been written by successful LIS job hunters and earned him a spot as a 2012 LJ Mover and Shaker. He stopped updating the site in 2016. He said, “I left the academic library field and became a middle school teacher that year, so my priorities have changed and updating the site has not been a priority. I actually still have some submissions that I never uploaded and it’s something I’d like to do, just get those last ones up there. On the other hand, I have committed to keeping the site online and will continue to pay for hosting and the domain for the foreseeable future.”

I also profiled the following sites, but was unable to get updates. 

Academic Library Jobs:

This site was a curated list of Academic library job postings. It no longer exists, and I was unable to reach the author.

Careers in Federal Libraries:

Last updated in 2020, this site provided a blog and links to virtual and in-person events. I profiled it in February 2013. I was unable to find out what happened. There was some reorganization in ALA which may have affected it: In 2018 the Federal and Armed Forces Libraries Round Table (FAFLRT) merged with the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies to form a new division: The Association of Specialized, Government and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASGCLA). Then the ASGCLA was dissolved in 2020 and its interest groups were picked up by other divisions. 

MLA Deal

MLA Deal:

The Maryland Library Association’s Development of Emerging and Aspiring Librarians was an interest group for new professionals. Their site included a blog as well as job listings and advice. It no longer exists, and I was unable to get more information from the Maryland library association. It looks like the interest group itself also no longer exists.

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Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Archives Gig (Revisited)

Meredith Lowe started Archives Gig in 2010 and has been posting jobs for Archivists, records managers, and students ever since. We profiled the site back in 2013 and wanted to provide a quick update.

The site has a new URL (no more LiveJournal) and has continued to grow and evolve. 

I caught up with Meredith with a few questions:

What has changed with Archives Gig?

One thing that has been really interesting is the research and tools that have cited AG as a resource! A couple of recent favorites are:

It’s incredibly rewarding that AG has been helpful to these important contributions!

How is archives job hunting different now versus ten years ago?

This field has been steadily moving toward seeking those with skills in digital curation, projects, and collections, and those who are looking to work in the GLAM fields would be well-served to pick up skills in those areas. With the pandemic, there has been a big shift to remote work in all sectors, and that includes the archives field. Although most positions are still in-person, there are a lot more remote-only positions as well as hybrid schedule options – and I think with digital projects that hybrid/remote work is even more achievable.  

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Job Hunter’s Web Guide: CLIR and DLF Job Board

Today I am pleased to share a job board that reaches beyond libraries and archives. While you can visit the site anytime, they also send a weekly digest that includes a short note featuring a resource or item of interest. They’re friendly and responsive to feedback – I recommend checking it out!

screenshot of the CLIR DLF job board website

What is it?  Please give us your elevator speech!

The CLIR (Council on Library and Information Resources) and DLF (Digital Library Federation) Job Board is a place for job seekers in the galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM) fields to find current positions posted by CLIR sponsors, DLF members, and non-member organizations. Listings are active for 60 days and require minimum salary to be included. Each week, a job board digest is sent out with the latest listings to digest subscribers. When requested by an employer, we actively promote listings on CLIR and DLF social media.

When was it started?  Why was it started?

The DLF Jobs Board began in 2011 when the DLF staff began posting positions on the DLF blog. In 2015, an email digest of current positions on the board started going out to subscribers. In July 2016, the standalone site – jobs.diglib.org – was started and DLF member institutions could post unlimited jobs for free. During this time, CLIR also had a similar job message board titled “Jobs Connect,” which provided job posting services for CLIR sponsors.

In 2019, the DLF Jobs Board and CLIR’s Jobs Connect combined to become the “CLIR+DLF Jobs Board,” allowing DLF members, CLIR sponsors, and other non-member organizations to post jobs in one location.

In 2020, the board was renamed the “CLIR and DLF Job Board.” Another important change that year was the requirement that all jobs posted specify a minimum salary amount or range. In July 2022, a resource section was added to help job hunters consider issues of cost of living, social issues, and civil rights access as they looked for a new position.

Who runs it?

The job board is run by CLIR and its Digital Library Federation program. The job board is administered by a CLIR staffer (that’s me!), who reviews and approves each job as they are submitted by employers. I also handle any technical issues or problems with payments, when they occur.

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

I am not a GLAM career expert, but I have worked in libraries, museums, and IT recruiting, and I am fortunate to be surrounded by colleagues at CLIR and DLF who have extensive experience in the fields.

Who is your target audience?

Our current audiences are employers and job seekers in the GLAM and MLIS fields. Most of our sponsors and members are in higher education, but I would like to reach out to organizations of all types that hire people in the GLAM fields.

What’s the best way to use your site?  Should users consult it daily?  Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

I hope that using the job board is straightforward, and I recommend checking periodically during the week. Job postings are lighter during the summer months, so checking more regularly starting in the fall is a good idea.

I am always interested in hearing from job board users! During the pandemic, we made a change in how long jobs were listed, thanks to a user who wrote and shared how depressing it was to see so many job links on the board, but to have most be dead links or jobs that were no longer taking applications. My colleagues and I agreed, and decided that jobs would be active for 60 days unless requested by employers to go longer.

Does your site provide:

√ Job Listings

√ Links  

Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats? 

Readers can find jobs listed at jobs.diglib.org and subscribe to the CLIR and DLF Job Board Digest to receive a weekly email newsletter with the latest jobs posted.

Do you charge for anything on your site?

CLIR sponsors and DLF members are able to post unlimited jobs for free. Non-sponsor or member organizations are able to post jobs for $200 per job.

What are your standards for job listings (e.g., must include salary)?

We do not post or publicize unpaid positions or internships. We also require employers to include a minimum salary amount and support fair employment practices. I review every job posted to be certain it is a real position and meets our listing requirements.

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

I would love to hear from job board users! I often hear kind messages from job board digest readers about my introduction to each digest, which I greatly appreciate. It would make my day to hear from someone who found their next position using the job board. 

Anything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

There is a lot of information about the GLAM fields online, sometimes positive and helpful, sometimes negative and discouraging. My goal with the job board and the digest is to provide links to jobs and information about professional development opportunities through CLIR and DLF, with a dash of care and hopefulness.

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Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Library Jobline (Revisited)

In 2013, as part of the Job Hunter’s Web Guide series, I ran a profile of Library Jobline, the job board run by the Colorado State Library (funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services). They still provide listings, and have in fact grown! But of course some things have changed. Below are some updates (and a new question). 

Who Runs It?

It is now run by Network and Resource Sharing, a unit of the Colorado State Library.

What’s changed about your site since the 2013 profile?

The site has grown significantly since 2013 in terms of the number of employers and job seekers that have signed up and the frequency of job postings. In 2020 we partnered with the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services and incorporated their job board into LibraryJobline. This has been a great relationship and we hope that it might serve as a model for partnering with other state/regional job boards in the future. More generally we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of employers outside of Colorado to the point that jobs for libraries within the state are now about half of all new posts.

Regarding the website itself, there have been few changes in functionality since 2013. Our focus remains the same: make it easy as possible for employers and job seekers to connect, while providing a platform that encourages collecting, analyzing, and reporting data for library (and related) employment. To that end we’ve stripped away some of the burdensome posting requirements for employers, and we’ve continually refined our email notifications so that job seekers more reliably and accurately receive notifications of new posts.

The *NEW* Question: What are your standards for job listings (e.g. must include salary)?

We require a few basic pieces of data about the job such as title, employer, location, and a job description. Additionally, employers can have their jobs “featured” by providing additional data for hours, compensation, and benefits. We don’t edit people’s ads but we do occasionally reject ads for jobs which are not within or closely related to the field of librarianship.

What’s the job hunting landscape like for your target audience?

It’s probably not unlike the general economic landscape as a whole: beginning in late 2020 we saw a significant increase in the number of jobs posted, but that has not been accompanied by a change in the number of new job seeker accounts or traffic to the site. For example, we had twice as many jobs posted in 2021 compared to 2020, but just about the same number of new user accounts for both years. It’s early yet, but that trend has continued up to this point in 2022.

We recently published an infographic for 2021 and you can see that here: https://www.lrs.org/fast-facts-reports/2021-library-jobline-fast-facts/

Thank you!

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Job Hunter’s Web Guide: ACRL RIG (Revisited)

In 2013, as part of the Job Hunter’s Web Guide series, I ran a profile of ACRL’s Residency Interest Group. I’m happy to be able to provide an update to that post. RIG is still doing great work to support opportunities for new librarians to gain work experience. I’m impressed with the mutual support provided by this community! The update was provided by Jessica Dai, ACRL RIG Convener, 2021-2022, Kalani Adolpho, ACRL RIG Incoming Convener, 2021-2022, and Sheila García Mazari, ACRL RIG Outgoing Convener, 2021-2022.

Please note RIG’s upcoming webinar – this Thursday:

What’s Next? Starting the Job Search for Resident Librarians, July 14th, 2022 at 1p ET/12p CT/11a MT/10a PT. Registration is required. 

What is RIG? Please give us your elevator speech!

The Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Residency Interest Group (RIG) provides a platform for current and former resident librarians and other interested parties to share their experiences, engage in service and research, and learn about the availability of library residency opportunities. We work to implement a Resident-Centered Framework (RCF) which has three principles: to center the residents’ perspective and honor their experience, uphold the resident as the primary audience and beneficiary, and commit to transparency. Read more about the RCF in the Diversity Residency Toolkit.

When was RIG started? Why was it started?

In 2008, ACRL amended their bylaws allowing for communities to be created within ACRL that had a specific area of focus but that weren’t represented by Discussion Groups or Sections. They called these Interest Groups. The Residency Interest Group was the very first Interest Group to be formed by ACRL in order to support residents, residency coordinators, and institutions that host residencies. Over the last few years, the audience for RIG has shifted to primarily support current and former residents.

While the number of residents rose substantially when ACRL’s Diversity Alliance launched, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on funding structures, we have seen several universities either end their residencies or choose not to hire a new cohort of residents. Therefore, most individuals currently involved in RIG are former residents, although we are starting to see more residency positions open and we’re hoping to see an uptick of current residents within our membership. 

Who runs RIG?

RIG is completely volunteer-run and is part of ACRL’s interest group structure. ACRL, in turn, is a division within the American Library Association (ALA). For the past year (2021-2022), RIG’s leadership team consisted of Jessica Dai as Convener, Kalani Adolpho as Incoming Convener, and Sheila García Mazari as Outgoing Convener. This structure enables the Incoming Convener to learn on the job for a year before assuming the Convener role, while the Outgoing Convener provides institutional knowledge. For the next year, we are excited to work with our new Incoming Convener, Mallary Rawls. Additionally, we have talented team leaders who organize our teams, which include New Members and Mentorship, Programs and Proposals, Social Media and Web Communications, Assessment, and the Diversity Residencies SubGroup.

RIG leadership changes every year, with each member of the leadership team signing up for three years to allow for continuity. Each year, a call for nominees is sent out for a new potential incoming convener. The roles of Incoming Convener, Convener, and Outgoing Convener are the only roles that require an ALA/ACRL membership. 

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

Being a career expert is out of scope of what we do. Generally we tap into the wide variety of expertise from our members and are a peer network of support, particularly for folks looking to start a residency experience or for folks searching for their next role upon the conclusion of their residency. 

Who is your target audience?

Though our audience includes LIS students looking for their first library position and job seeking is one function of our group, our primary audience in recent years has shifted to current library residents and fellows. ACRL RIG aims to be a virtual community for and by library residents who are looking to connect with each other, as well as learn more about and improve library residencies. 

What’s the best way to use your site? Should users consult it daily? Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

Folks are free to explore the website and learn about current residents as well as recent work completed by the RIG teams such as the Diversity Residency Toolkit, created by the subgroup on Diversity Residencies. RIG accepts volunteers to serve on one of our teams on an ongoing basis, and as we receive them, we also publish job postings for both residencies and early-career librarians. We do not post everyday, but folks can feel free to consult the site as needed. 

Does your site provide:

√ Job Listings 

√ Answers to reader questions 

√ Interviews

√ Articles/literature 

√ Links 

√ Research 

√ Event Information

What requirements do you have for job listings on your site (e.g. must include salary)?

This has been an ongoing discussion for us over the last few years as we’ve seen increases and decreases in the number of residency positions. First and foremost, we require job postings to include salary information as part of our commitment to the RCF’s principle of transparency. Salary transparency can be especially important for job seekers who may be considering relocating for a term limited position. Additionally, if the position is a diversity residency position, salary transparency can help job seekers identify whether the institution has committed to the ACRL Diversity Alliance’s principle to “provide a salary for the resident commensurate with the salaries of equivalent entry-level library professionals.”

Rather than reposting a job link, we ask that individuals share the job posting copy as they want it to appear on our website. Since we’re volunteer run, we do not have the bandwidth to write or rewrite copy for our postings. If you would like us to post on our Twitter profile, please provide the required character count.

Finally, we prioritize postings of residencies and/or early career positions since our target audience includes LIS students and recent graduates, as well as resident librarians. We may accept postings that require extensive prior experience on a case-by-case basis. 

Should readers also look for you on social media? 

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Do you charge for anything on your site?

No, the RIG website is free to access. There are no paywalls.

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

Our site is as much a resource as it is a community. Back in 2020, residents worked to write an open letter to library administrators asking them to continue to support residency positions during a time of budget cuts, hiring freezes, and an ongoing health crisis. Over 300 people signed onto this letter and anecdotally we are aware that some institutions extended their residencies an additional year so that residents could obtain the full benefits of their experience and to allow them to enter a more active job market. This was work created in conjunction with residents both affiliated and not affiliated with RIG. Though this doesn’t directly impact job seekers, we’re proud of the advocacy role that RIG has fulfilled in directly supporting library residents.

Anything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

Please join us for a webinar hosted by RIG’s Programs and Proposal team titled What’s Next? Starting the Job Search for Resident Librarians set to take place July 14th, 2022 at 1p ET/12p CT/11a MT/10a PT. Registration is required.

This panel features Tarida Anantachai, Director of Inclusion & Talent Management at North Carolina State University Libraries, Sheila García Mazari, Professional Programs Liaison at Grand Valley State University, and Juliana Espinosa, Student Success Librarian at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, who are all former resident librarians with recent experience job searching and/or chairing job searches. The panel will be moderated by Alyse Jordan, Ed.D. Lamar University, Head of Research, Engagement & Learning at Lamar University. The conversation will touch on how to evaluate job ads and best prepare application materials for the job search process.

Thank you!

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Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Library Returners

In the previous iteration of Hiring Librarians, I did periodic features on websites that supported LIS job hunters. You can take a look at the list here. I am planning to do updates on some of those listed, and I’m also hoping to feature new (or new to me) sites.

I’m really pleased to be able to feature Library Returners. It’s an excellent and much-needed resource for those returning to work after a break. This is a topic I had heard about a lot from readers; in fact we did a series on it back in 2013. In the COVID era, I think it’s even more relevant. 

Home page of Library Returners website: background image is a bookshelf and title of site is: Library Returners: A site for those returning to Librarianship after a career break

What is it?  Please give us your elevator speech!

Library Returners is a site aimed at those returning to work in libraries after a career break. It contains a range of advice, guest posts and career break stories, that will also be of value to those changing track, sector, thinking of taking some time out, or just reassessing where they are in their career.

When and why was it started?

I entered the world of career breaks many years ago. But I didn’t find the information I needed or wanted when I wanted to re-join the profession and return to work. The blog was started to fill what I felt was a gap in career resources available for librarians who had taken time away from the formal workplace.

It went live in April 2018 but it really started with the release of a blog post written in September 16, 2018 called Getting back into the game: how to restart your library career after a break – Library returners This post provides a rather neat summary of some of things someone who in on a period of extended leave can do to kickstart their library job search. However, it was also a good ‘vision post’, setting out what the blog was really all about. I received such a great response to this post and people started to subscribe.

Now, I post a mixture of articles that I write myself or that are written by fabulous librarians working in the field with experience of career breaks or from wonderful library career and industry experts offering career advice. I am always interested to hear what topics readers would like to see tackled on the blog. I started to write about the things I wanted to hear more about, but as the site developed, ideas for articles have also come from readers directly, using the Dear Ms Library Returner, – Library returners box or via direct messages. The personal stories, like Guest post: Jessie – Library returners have a real and deep connection with people and I would certainly like to develop this in the future. Some are from librarians who have successfully returned to working at the level they want, while others are from people still working their first return to work job or ‘bridge job’. I am deeply grateful to everyone who has contributed because they’ve all given me their precious time for free. 

Who runs it? Please tell us a bit about your background. 

Library returners is run by Susan Mends from Wales, UK.

I have what might be described as a portfolio career!

I started in libraries in the early 1990s, initially working full-time in public libraries and then working full-time in teaching and developing open, distance and e-learning masters programmes (an early career highlight was setting up the Masters in Library and Information Studies by distance learning in Aberystwyth University Throughout this time I maintained a genuine interest in career education, guidance and planning to enhance employability.

I took a career break in 2013 after my third child was born. Around the same time, I was also engaged in caregiving to an elderly member of the family. Four years later I started my library returner journey, returning to work on a flexible basis and taking on a ‘bridge job’ with part-time hours in a public library as entry back into the profession.

I still work in the public library sector while also providing freelance writing services to a university department and have, for example, recently completed revising an open, distance and e-learning module in Children’s Librarianship. 

Who is your target audience?

Librarians, aspiring librarians, library workers, returners and relaunchers and anyone who wants and needs to connect and interact.

The biggest audience are people taking a break from the workplace for a variety of reasons and finding ways to return. However, it is also read by other readers, e.g., those who are interested in part-time, flexible, professional remote work. I’ve been surprised by the number of new library professionals who’ve told me they access the site. A new development are readers preparing for their retirement.

It is accessed in many different parts of the world. Changes in the workplace and the wider profession in response to the coronavirus pandemic mean that everyone is considering their future.

What’s the best way to use your site?   

Readers can check it out as needed. New blog posts are released around every two months. The bibliography and other pages will be updated on an ad hoc basis. 

Does your site provide:

Answers to reader questions

Interviews

Articles/literature

Links

Research

The opportunity for interaction

Advice on:

Cover Letters

Resumes

Interviewing

 Networking

Other: Flexible working / Job applications / Career coaching / Mindfulness/Portfolio careers / Job shadowing / Volunteering/ Lack of work experience / Job skills / LinkedIn / 

Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats? Please include links, subscription information, or other details if pertinent

Twitter: @Libraryreturner 

LinkedIn: Susan Mends

Facebook 

Do you charge for anything on your site?

No

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

The library returners blog is building a collection of real-life career break stories from people who have taken time away from libraries for all sorts of reasons. People on a career break find real value in reading other people’s stories, whether they record a return to the same field of librarianship or a career adjustment or change. They can be particularly helpful to read during a long, tough job hunt, the type of difficult search process being experienced by many at the moment. I am always looking for new stories as people find these really useful.

The stories collected so far can be found here Your voices: LIS career break stories 

You can find my story Real-life Returners: the challenges of returning to work in the library and information sector on another website! 

Anything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

The hardest thing for a library returner to overcome is the perception that you’ve become stale and lost your professional skillset while you’ve been on extended leave. 

If you can:

  • Seek out networking opportunities while you are still on your career break – how can you connect, attend a conference, a virtual webinar?
  • Keep your skills up to date – can you take a course?
  • Maintain your LinkedIn profile – it is tempting to close it down but far better to hold it open and say why you are not available. Now it’s ready to update when you are! 

The job search process can be daunting and anything you can do to make this a bit easier will help. But if you switched off completely during your break, don’t worry. Visit libraryreturners.com for more advice!  

Thank you!

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Job Hunter’s Web Guide: LisList

Ever wished for a REALLY BIG LIST of LIS jobs?  Look no further than LisList.  Keep reading to learn more.


lislist

What is it?  Please give us your elevator speech!

LisList is a list of U.S. library jobs, updated daily.  It includes public, academic, school, and special library jobs.  We are especially interested in  those that require an MLS or equivalent.

 When was it started?  Why was it started?

It started in February 2014, so it’s brand new.  It was started to fill what we saw as a gap in the job search resources available for librarians.  There are a number of good sites that offer articles and advice, and some of them include job listings by state or specialty, or job listings submitted by employers .  But other than LisList, there is no clearinghouse with one big list of jobs (like the one Lisjobs featured in its heyday).

Who runs it?

Amadee Ricketts, a youth services librarian from Colorado, and James Orndorf, a photographer who happens to be married to a librarian.

 Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

We are definitely not career experts, but we’re good at making lists.

 Who is your target audience?

Librarians, aspiring librarians, and library workers.

 What’s the best way to use your site?  Should users consult it daily?  Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

The list grows every day, but users can check it out as needed.

Does your site provide:

Job listings

Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats? 

√ Twitter: @theLisList (highlights a Job of the Day)

√  Tumblr: http://lislist.tumblr.com (highlights a Job of the Day)

Do you charge for anything on your site?

No.

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

Not yet, but hopefully in the future.

Anything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

Nope.

Do you run a web resource focused on LIS jobs or careers?  Or is there one you’d like to know more about?  Email me a hiringlibrariansATgmail to suggest a site for the Job Hunter’s Web Guide.

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