Category Archives: Other Organization or Library Type

You might be pleasantly surprised at how nice people are, especially library people.

Market before PassoverThis anonymous interview is with a librarian who works for a public library consulting service and has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Youth services specialists, technology consultants, and adult services generalists.

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban area in the Southern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met the qualifications in terms of education & experience.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

As the executive director of our organization, I do the “first cut” look to make sure the applicants meet the basic requirements of education & experience. We are a very small organization & don’t have an HR department.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Education & experience is lacking.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Read the job posting carefully and make sure your education & experience are a good fit before applying. Do not just apply for something at a place you’d like to work to get a foot in the door if you are not really qualified.

I want to hire someone who is

smart

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 1

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: 0

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are the same number of positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

We don’t hire entry-level professionals. We are a consulting organization to other public libraries, and as such, we must have experienced librarians.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

We are re-inventing ourselves as community hubs of information & recreation. Libraries are developing makerspaces, have programs of interest, and supply communities with networking opportunities in a forum that is free and open to all. We serve all ages, all races, all ethnicities, and all levels of literacy.

Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?

Don’t be afraid to take a job in a part of the country that you have never lived in or considered working in. You might be pleasantly surprised at how nice people are, especially library people.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Other Organization or Library Type, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

For Public Review: Ethan Fenichel

Welcome to crowd-sourced resume review for LIS job hunters!

Please help the job hunter below by using the comment button to offer constructive criticism on his resume. Some guidelines for constructive feedback are here, and the ALA NMRT has brief tips for reviewing resumes here.

This 2 page resume was submitted by a job hunter who says,

I’ve been working in the corporate sector for several years and finished my MSIS in December. I’ll be using this resume to look for a job in an academic library or a library services company (like an OCLC). I’m interested in research but also outreach and education. I’m very anxious about my lack of in-library experience and I’m interested if my resume translates to people hiring librarians.

ethan fenichel p1

ethan fenichel p2

To submit your resume or CV For Public Review,

  • send it as a Word document or PNG or JPEG image to hiringlibrariansresumereviewATgmail.
  • It will be posted as-is, so please remove any information that you are not comfortable having publically available (I suggest removing your address and phone number at a minimum).
  • Please include a short statement identifying if it’s a resume or CV and
  • describing the types of positions you’re using it for (ie institution type, position level, general focus).
  • Finally, you will also need to confirm that you agree to comment on at least five other posted resumes.

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Filed under Academic, CV review, For Public Review, Other Organization or Library Type, Resume Review

Further Questions: What if candidates are interested in obtaining another degree?

Here’s another question from a reader. I asked people who hire librarians:

Is it a turn-on or turn-off when applicants mention their desire to obtain a further degree which is not strictly library science, but is tangentially related? (For example: a degree in education, management, etc)

I would say it probably depends on where you are applying. If it is a tenure track academic library, then absolutely, we want to know that you have thought ahead about your career, your continuing education, your research and publishing interests and frequently ask about these things in an interview. If your research and educational interests are not at all related (say for example you want to become a skydiving instructor) I would probably skip that part unless for some reason the search committee is asking you about your personal interests.

Advanced degrees in a subject specific area including management, or higher education are a big plus in academic libraries!

– Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Eagle Commons Library, University of North Texas Libraries

 

Marleah AugustineI don’t see it as either a turn-on or a turn-off. I take it just as more information about the candidate that I can use to determine whether the candidate will be a good fit in the position. 

I will say that, as someone with a psychology background (BS and MS, prior to my MLIS), I’ve always thought that a psychology degree is helpful when working with the public, or staff for that matter. 🙂

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

 

angelynn king

 

It can be a concern if it’s a degree subsidized by the hiring college

— the committee does not like to get the impression the applicant is primarily interested in the tuition benefit and will leave as soon as the degree is earned.

Generally, though, there is no such thing as too much education in academic libraries. 

-Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus

 

Furthering ones’ education is always a positive thing. For me, it would be a turn-on We have a couple of Children’s Librarians who have other masters degrees in early childhood ed and special ed. Makes them better able to provide outstanding programs and services.

– Kaye Grabbe, Director, Lake Forest (Public) Library, Lake Forest, IL

 

J. McRee Elrod

 

Libraries need cataloguers with subject specialization.  

We would be pleased.  

Whether employees may take classes free of charge is a legitimate question to ask if applying at an academic library.

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

 

I think it’s a GOOD thing when applicants express an interest in continuing their education! To me, this says that an applicant is interested is a “go-getter” and is motivated to grow, both personally and professionally. I like to hire people who have energy and enthusiasm, and the desire to achieve another degree is a good indicator of those two traits. In an academic library, it is extraordinarily helpful to have library faculty who have a secondary body of specialized knowledge beyond the library/information science degree. This expert knowledge is highly valuable to our students, but it also enhances the value of the library to the entire college. I believe our libraries *need* the broader perspective that comes with a diversity of education experience beyond the library/information science degree.

– Elijah Scott, Director of Libraries, Georgia Highlands College

 

Sherle Abramson-BluhmI think the manner in which it is mentioned is more what makes it a turn-off or turn-on.
A candidate who brings this up without being asked may appear to be less serious about doing the work of the job – and more focused on the degree.
But a willingness to continue learning I do not feel is ever a bad thing and can be discussed in the proper context.
– Sherle Abramson-Bluhm, Head, Print Acquisitions, University of Michigan
Laurie PhillipsIn some cases, this can be a red flag. We work really hard to hire people who will succeed and move up toward tenure, etc. We invest a lot in our junior faculty and don’t want to lose them. We are a primarily undergraduate institution with a few graduate degrees. If someone wanted to get an MBA here, we’d say go for it. There is a night program and it would be helpful in many ways to their work and to the organization. Our now retired Dean obtained her MBA here while working as a librarian. But, if someone wanted to work on a degree that we don’t offer, how would that work? What would be the outcome? Moving on? That might be difficult to support. We don’t require a second master’s degree, although some of us have them. So I can’t say definitely either way. It would depend on how that plan would fit into their work here.
– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

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.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  How was I supposed to know you was a heartbreaker I didn’t know, I couldn’t know Now I’m laying on this killing floor and I wanna comment

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Filed under Academic, Further Questions, Other Organization or Library Type, Public

Further Questions: Is salary range included in your job postings?

This week we have a reader inspired question. I asked people who hire librarians:
Do you include a salary range in your job postings?  Why or why not?  Who makes that decision?

At my private academic institution, salary information is considered confidential, which means that we are not allowed (by HR) to post salary information in our job ads. Within those constraints, we try to be as transparent as possible. If candidates inquire about salary, the question is referred to the dean who will share the target range for the position. In addition, when a search is narrowed to finalists, those finalists are notified by the dean of the target salary range, so that if their requirements are beyond what we can pay, time isn’t wasted on a search that is bound to end in disappointment.

– Anonymous

 

Laurie Phillips We include the minimum salary, not a range.

Generally, the chair of the committee negotiates the salary range with the Dean, based on other salaries in the organization.

We always include the minimum, so nobody is making a decision to do it or not.

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

 

Marge Loch WoutersYes we do.

Nothing is more frustrating to an applicant than taking the time to get credentials and application materials ready only to find that the job does not pay enough to make the move worthwhile.

This is an administrative decision.

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

 

We do. It’s policy for all state government positions.

– Kristen Northrup, Head, Technical Services & State Document Depository, North Dakota State Library

 

Terry Ann LawlerYes.

Our salaries are negotiated through the city and with our union with occasional input from outside organizations who study salaries. All of our city salary ranges are publicly available on our city website.

A salary range is non negotiable, but you can start at mid range instead of the beginning if you have more experience than is advertised for the job.

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

 

angelynn kingOnly one of the academic libraries I’ve worked in has posted salary.

Usually HR has a standard policy, and there isn’t anything the advertising department can do.

In a public college, the salary ranges are often a matter of public record, but you have to be a librarian to find them. Oh, wait: we are librarians. Happy hunting!

-Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus

 

We have started including a salary range in our postings so applicants can “self-screen” and not apply if their salary requirements are not a match.  We ask an applicant’s salary requirements in the screening questions we send to candidates who we might be  interested in interviewing.  Because there have been times when the gap between what we were offering and what applicants were asking  was substantial we recently moved to including a range.  It also serves as another way to shape applicants’ expectations about the level of the job.  Obviously the education and experience requirements in the job description should convey that, but those responsibilities, if filled at a larger institution than ours, might warrant a much higher pay scale.  So including a salary range gives a more complete picture.

The argument against including a range is that desirable candidates may not apply, whereas if they did and we really wanted them we might go back to our administration and negotiate for an increase and/or some way to enhance the benefits package.

We at the Library make the determination as to whether to include salary in the posting; the salary itself must be approved by our VP.

– Ann Glannon, Associate Director, Wheelock College Library, Boston, MA

 

Yes a range for salary is always included in the posting. This is pretty basic and we have a salary schedule based on the grade for each position, so there is not much flexibility, except for experience.

– Kaye Grabbe, Director, Lake Forest (Public) Library, Lake Forest, IL.

 

Jason GrubbWe do not include a salary range in our job postings because a salary range is not available.

There is no flexibility in our Library Board adopted pay scale. Each position has a set grade with steps that only increase with time in the position. In other words, each vacant position begins at an established amount that cannot be negotiated. Thus, there is no reason for us to include a salary range.

This starting salary is included in the job posting.

– Jason Grubb, Director, Sweetwater County Library System

 

Yes we do.

Our county HR does this across the board. It may be voluntary but it could also be part of the union contract. I’m glad we do it because  that information can inform whether or not a person even wishes to apply for any given position.

– Christy Davis, Library Director, Klamath County Library Service District

 

Sherle Abramson-BluhmSalary range is usually in the library postings.
I am not sure if this was a University decision or within the Library itself – although most University postings do include the information.
Generally it is the high level positions, where the salary is likely to be a negotiating point, that the information is not indicated.
I think it is only fair to post this information – it is data any applicant should know going in and diminishes the possibility of surprises, misunderstandings or disappointment down the line.
– Sherle Abramson-Bluhm, Head, Print Acquisitions, University of Michigan
Celia RabinowitzI always try to include a minimum starting salary for positions.  My institution does not usually do this for faculty positions but I have not had resistance either from the Human Resources office or from my dean when I include it in a job ad.  I feel more comfortable offering a minimum starting salary than a range.  Ultimately any negotiation involves the Dean of Faculty and establishing the ranges is tricky.  I can say that two of my last three librarian hires involved a negotiation which resulted in a higher starting salary for the candidate who got the position.  I would rather a candidate (and we) think about experience and qualifications when determining a salary rather than where they fall on a predetermined scale.  I am not sure how easy it would be to justify giving someone $48k rather than $49k but I can see offering someone $45k and then negotiating to $48.  I do usually have an upper limit that the Dean and I establish.
– Celia Rabinowitz, Director of the Library, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

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.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts, there they are all standing in a row, big ones, small ones, some as big as your comment.

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Filed under Academic, Further Questions, Other Organization or Library Type, Public

For Public Review: Rachael Altman

Welcome to crowd-sourced resume review for LIS job hunters!

Please help the job hunter below by using the comment button to offer constructive criticism on her CV. Some guidelines for constructive feedback are here, and the ALA NMRT has brief tips for reviewing resumes here.

This Resume was submitted by a job hunter who says,

I have used this resume to apply for knowledge management, research manager, market research analyst, and data analyst positions at consulting firms, law firms, and corporate libraries. 

rachaelaltman_resume1

 

12 Comments

Filed under For Public Review, Other Organization or Library Type, Resume Review, Special

Further Questions: Would you hire someone for a librarian position if s/he had no library experience?

So while I was on break, Hiring Librarians turned two. I started doing Further Questions a few months later, in early April of 2012. In honor of that, and because I couldn’t think of what to ask this week, I thought I’d re-ask that original question. It is:
Would you hire someone for a librarian position if s/he had no library experience? If yes, under what circumstances? If not, why not?
For comparison: here is the link to the original post.  I also seem to have formed my own thoughts on the matter in the interim, and I wrote a post about them on my other blog.

Jason Grubb

 

We hire the right person.

It is always nice when they have library experience, but this not a requirement for entry level positions.

With most management positions we like to see at least 2-5 years of library experience.

– Jason Grubb, Director, Sweetwater County Library System

 

Ha! I would absolutely consider hiring someone without library experience because I myself had none. There are many skills – database experience, records management, customer service – that translate well. Coming from another field where the importance of confidentiality was understood would help too.

If they were doing a complete career 180 and had the MLS without experience, they probably wouldn’t rise to the top.

– Kristen Northrup, Head, Technical Services & State Document Depository, North Dakota State Library

 

Marge Loch WoutersWe would definitely hire someone without library experience if they have 1) great customer skills; 2) good decision making skills ; 3)ability to learn and innovate. Love of books, a great sense of organization and experience does not always translate into a great librarian. It’s the intangibles that we like to suss out in our interviews.

I am always encouraging potential candidates – and experienced librarians  – to throw their hats in the ring if they can show proof of mightiness. Show mightiness how?  Immerse in professional library networks/associations and contribute and/or seek out mentors.  Create an active professional presence on social media – write a blog or start a Tumblr, Twitter groups chats (#libchat,  #readadv, #alscchat, #nerdybookclub) and learn about/contribute to the discussion; show the ability to innovate and think outside the box to serve patrons (resting on laurels…ho-hum!)

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

 

Laurie Phillips

 

I’m fine with my previous answer!

Much more thoughtful than my “no” of this morning.

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

 

I think it depends on what you mean by “librarian position.”  We have various part-time positions in Adult Services that are paraprofessional positions; none of them require library experience except the position that has staff and collection oversight.  Paraprofessionals can do (and are now doing, in many libraries) many of the same tasks as professional librarians.  The difference is in time and training.  The benefit of hiring someone with library experience into a professional position is that they come with an understanding of the theories and values we all have about collection development, freedom to read, cataloging basics, etc.  Someone without library experience can be taught that, but it would be a major investment of time.

I am prevented by City HR from hiring anyone who doesn’t meet minimum listed qualifications—including history of library employment—when the job ad specifically lists it, and we are unable to make changes to our job ads.  Theoretically, even if I could make such a hire, I can’t imagine wanting to; that history of library experience (either work experience or library education) is a basic starting point for training.

– Anonymous

 

Christine Hage - Dark backgroundThe person would have to be extraordinary (multilingual, super duper talented, extremely well thought of in the community, a customer service expert, etc).  I find it hard to believe that someone would get a masters degree in library science and never have worked in a library as a page, circulation assistant, part-time librarian, or volunteer.  I also prefer their experience to be in a public library as we are a public library.
On the other hand we do hire people with masters degrees in early childhood development as librarians in our Youth Services Department, but they would have to have worked with children before.
– Christine Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library
Melanie LightbodyYes, I would (and have) hired librarians with no library experience.  I believe that entry-level positions need not require previous library experience.  With positions such as a children’s librarian or in programming and adult services other experiences could bring a welcome perspective to the job.  I look for customer service, initiative, imagination, facility with technology and strong sense of mission of and passion for public library services.  None of those require library experience.  I consider the MLIS as a good starting point for a professional librarian.
– Melanie Lightbody, Director of Libraries, Butte County
J. McRee Elrod
SLC would hire a new MLIS graduate,
if they were able to produce and send high quality MARC records.
– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging
I would not hire someone for a professional position with no library experience. If I lived in a different area, I might have to reassess that, but I live in a metroplex with two library schools so we have a lot more applicants to choose from. So in fairness, I should say, I would prefer to hire someone with library experience. Depending on the applicant pool, experience could range from volunteer work, to a practicum, to part time work as a student assistant in college, or even two years of full time library experience. When an employee brings library work experience with them, their onboarding period is shorter and they bring along the perspective of work at another library that could benefit my library. Someone with experience has more realistic expectations of what the job will be like and what effort is required to succeed.
– Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Eagle Commons Library, University of North Texas Libraries

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.com.

Thank YOU for reading! How I wish I had someone to comment to, I’m in an awful way.

1 Comment

Filed under Academic, Further Questions, Other Organization or Library Type, Public

Further Questions: Should internships go under employment experience or in a separate section?

This week I have a question that I lifted off Twitter:

On resumes, should internships go under employment experience or in a separate section? 
Petra Mauerhoff, CEO, Shortgrass Library SystemShortgrass Library System in conjunction with Medicine Hat Public Library and Medicine Hat College Library Services offers a Shared Internship for a new MLIS graduate that we are very excited about. During the one year duration of the internship, the Intern Librarian spends equal amounts of time at each organization and I most definitely think that the experience gained during this year should go under employment experience. Our Intern Librarian’s responsibilities are the same that we would assign to a “regular” full time new librarian (scaled back to take into consideration the part time hours at each organization, of course). This allows the Intern Librarian to gain real employment experience and learn skills that will come in handy in future jobs.
Our internship program is in its second year and it has been a great success so far, allowing a new grad to gain experience in three different library sectors (regional library system, mid size public library and college library). It has been great for our staff to have new grads join the team who bring with them new perspectives and ideas that help us provide better library services. In our case, the interns also get the benefit of coming out of the experience with references from three supervisors, instead of the usual one.
– Petra Mauerhoff, CEO, Shortgrass Library System
Jacob BergEmployment.
Side note to fellow hiring managers: pay your interns. Not doing so is classist, because only the well-to-do can afford to work for free. And because race, ethnicity, gender identity, mental illness, physical ability, and sexual identity, among others, often correlates with class, internships are discriminatory along those lines as well. Also, not paying people to work devalues our professions by sending signals to other employers that our labor, time, and effort is not worth compensation.
-Jacob Berg, Director of Library Services,  Trinity Washington University
Jason Grubb
I’m not a fan of different sections. I don’t want to work too hard to figure out what a person has been doing for the past 5 years. Including the internship in the same section as employment experience helps an employer see where it fits in. If you would prefer not to use the “employment experience” heading go with something like “work experience” or “professional experience” or even just “experience”.
– Jason Grubb, Director, Sweetwater County Library System
angelynn king
Employment experience is fine, as long as it’s clearly stated whether it was paid or unpaid.
-Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus
Either or both (but pick one for the more detailed version, depending on what skills you acquired during the internship – and also list those skills in your Skills List!). BUT, if you’re applying for a civil service librarian position that requires not just a cover-letter and resume, but a standardized application form, make sure to include any info about your internship in both employment and education sections of the application form AND in any relevant “supplemental” questions AND mention it in your interview (also assuming if it is relevant).
Remember, civil service “fill-in-the-blank form” applications are diced and sliced by HR departments and multiple people read and review different parts of your application, often without any access to other parts, e.g. your brilliant and beautiful attached resume may not be seen by any single reviewer – or anyone at all. So, instead of being a “job app cataloger” and trying to figure out where to classify that internship, experience, skill, or training, put it everywhere – but not everywhere at great length. There is nothing wrong with being concise and saying in 2 or more relevant places “during a 6-month internship I used x software and designed x website – please see under “Education” for more detailed information and a link to the website I created”
– Laura J. Orr, Law Librarian, Washington County Law Library 

Sarah MorrisonEven if the internship was unpaid, I would expect to find it under work experience.  That’s the point of the internship, right—to get work experience?  If someone had multiple relevant internships, it would appropriate to group those experiences together in a separate section.

I consider paid and unpaid internships the same as any other relevant work experience when looking at a candidates work history.

– Sarah Morrison, Adult Services Librarian, Neill Public Library, Pullman, Washington

Marge Loch WoutersI am more than happy to see internships go under employment.

It is usually professional level work and whether paid or unpaid probably contributes to the candidate’s toolbox of professional skills.

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

Celia RabinowitzThis is becoming an increasingly complicated experience to document effectively and efficiently for employers.  If an internship/placement happened within the context of a graduate program I think it might actually be in a new kind of section on the resume for Internship/Volunteer Experience.  Increasingly librarians pre- and post-MLS are volunteering and I think a lot of that training should be documented.  A paid internship could go under employment.

Many internships are short (3-5 months) and unpaid and I think they clutter up the employment section of a resume.  I had not thought of a separate section until the question was posed here but many librarians are not doing more than one and also volunteer work. 

– Celia Rabinowitz, Director of the Library, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Laurie Phillips

 

It doesn’t matter as long as it’s there.

 

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

 

Sherle Abramson-Bluhm
As far as I am concerned it does not matter, as long as it is clearly described.
If it is library related experience, the lack of payment is not relevant for my consideration.
I would not judge where it appears on a resume as significant either way.
– Sherle Abramson-Bluhm, Head, Print Acquisitions, University of Michigan

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.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  It’s the tattooed broken promise I gotta hide beneath my comment.

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Filed under Academic, Further Questions, Other Organization or Library Type, Public