Category Archives: School

You need the hands on practical experience to compliment your studies, it makes your education that much more meaningful and solidifies what you are learning.

Civic library, Newcastle, 1957, Hood collectionThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager (you are hiring people that you will directly or indirectly supervise).  This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Interns, secondary school librarians and librarian assistants, teacher librarians, catalogers

This librarian works at a School Library with 0-10 staff members in an Urban area in Asia.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

3

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging

√ Budgeting/Accounting

√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Marketing
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

Policy writing and the legal aspects of careers in libraries. It’s so important to protect yourself, your staff and patrons from legal situations that can be prevented with proper policies being written up.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Practical skills related to tasks can be learned on the job, such as book repair, book processing (i.e. new books, donations), office and desk organization and management (essential when working with a team), specific software skills (there are so many new types of software coming out it is not reasonable to expect this to be taught in library school).

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience

√ Professional organization involvement

√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

ALA accredited institutions, they have high standards. Library Schools from Europe, North America, or Australia. I would have to research certificates or degrees coming from lesser known institutions in Asia, Africa or South America.

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

Chinese institutions – Sadly, I have a hard time trusting that the standards of skills are a good fit for what I want candidates to be able to do in a North American style library. Many of the websites are in Chinese with no English option so I cannot verify what skills candidates have been taught, nor can I guarantee that the certificate is genuine.

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Work or volunteer in a library at the same time! If you can’t get a library job, at least volunteer in one. You need the hands on practical experience to compliment your studies, it makes your education that much more meaningful and solidifies what you are learning.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, School, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

It is still very much WHO you know not WHAT you know.

Christchurch libraryThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for More than 18 months. This person is looking inAcademic library, Archives, Library vendor/service provider, Public library, School library, Special library at the following levels: Entry level , Requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

3 years @ Melbourne Museum – Volunteering in Customer service, Library and Digitisation 6 month internship @ Melbourne Museum – Doing research in the Humanities department 1 month internship @ the Parliamentary Library, Canberra – worked in collection management, digitisation, databases and media services, customer service and coding.

This job hunter is in a Urban area in Australia/New Zealand and is willing to move Anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

A good salary, professional development opportunities and career progression.

Where do you look for open positions? (e.g. ALA Joblist, professional listserv, LinkedIn)

Networking with people, attending library related events, Linkedin, ALIA job board, libraryjobs.com.au

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

  • Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

Anywhere from 1-2 days to a couple of hours each day through-out the week.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

  • Other: stretched the truth

When would you like employers to contact you?(Please select all that apply)

  • To acknowledge my application
  • To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
  • To follow-up after an interview
  • Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

  • Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?(Please check all that apply)

  • Tour of facility
  • Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Be clear in the position description about the responsibilities of the job. Be clear in the interview about the type of person/personality you are looking for the interview.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

It is still very much WHO you know not WHAT you know.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Good direct questions, easy to answer.

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Filed under Academic, Archives, Australia/New Zealand, Entry Level, Job hunter's survey, Public, School, Special, Urban area

Nothing is worse than getting hired and then sitting around waiting for information about the hiring process.

This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for Less than six months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, School libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

6 years public library experience (through high school, college, and post-undergrad)
Marketing & Publicity Internship
Youth Activism volunteer

This job hunter is in a city/town, in the Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

 1. If it’s full time and if not, does it pay enough that I could survive for a bit while I look for a second job
2. If FT, benefits/sick/vacation
3. Location. I’m honestly not too picky about location, but it’s difficult to job-search across states as I’ve learned that many employers are very leery about hiring from out of state.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALAJoblist, INALJ (spanning several states), local library websites

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

Hours: adjusting my cover letter, making sure my resume is up-to-date, making sure I crossed all of my ‘t’s and dotted all of my ‘i’s.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Be specific in what it is that you’re looking for in a potential candidate. Yes, being broad in what your post can attract a wide pool of applicants, but what if you get someone who’s great at one thing but downright awful at another? People will pick and choose what attributes of a job application they desire and you won’t get the full package you want.
Hire from outside. OR: do internal recruiting for a week. After a week if there are no internal bites, post the job publicly. It’s incredibly frustrating to apply for a job only to discover that the employer has gone with an internal candidate, despite the job being posted publicly.
Be honest in what is required of the job. Going to require 2 nights and one weekend a month? Mention that.
If it’s part time, will the opportunity arise for it to go full-time? Mention that — especially if it’s a position that could only go full-time if the applicant gets an MLIS.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Communicate.
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Communicate what is happening, where you are in the process, who you are in contact with and who, if anyone, I should be in contact with. Nothing is worse than getting hired and then sitting around waiting for information about the hiring process.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I wish I had a clear-cut idea. I wish I could say it’s ‘having a perfect resume!’ or ‘having a stunning cover letter!’ or ‘having TONS of experience’ but surely, it’s not just that. All I can say is be personable and passionate about your profession. Know how to market yourself. If you’re unemployed, learn a new skill, a valuable skill — web design, a programming language. These will make you more marketable and wanted in information professions.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Great survey. Loving reading through the responses.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

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Filed under Academic, City/town, Entry Level, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, MLIS Students, Public, School, Special

Don’t insist on a single “right” way to process every applicant

Goose hunting in Klamath County, Oregon, OSU Special Collections via Flickr CommonsThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for A year to 18 months. This person is looking in Academic library, Archives, Library vendor/service provider, Public library, School library, Special library at the Entry level and for positions Requiring at least two years of experience. This job hunter is in a City/Town in the Western US and is willing to move To a specific area.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

I’m looking within a geographically-targeted area for paraprofessional library openings that I feel match my qualifications. I want to be physically active on the job (i.e. shelving returns) and be able to walk or bike to work. In my ideal job, supervisors and colleagues would have collaborative relationships, and expectations would be communicated explicitly.

Where do you look for open positions? (e.g. ALA Joblist, professional listserv, LinkedIn)

Potential employers’ websites, professional listservs, ALA Joblist, LinkedIn

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Yes

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I compose a cover letter for each position I apply to. I incorporate the job description’s language when describing my qualifications and addressing ways that I will contribute to the employer’s diverse workplace.

The application process for many library jobs is through a shared portal (i.e. NeoGov), which streamlines attaching certain files that are associated with my profile – letters of reference, degree and certificate, unofficial transcripts.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

√ Other: Invite me for an interview and offer me the job

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ The interview itself–how it’s conducted, the people i meet, etc.

√ Clear understanding of responsibilities

√ Potential relationship with supervisor and colleagues

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Look at barriers to hiring and employment and be open to solutions that eliminate those barriers. For example, to attract long-distance applicants, consider video interviews. Don’t insist on a single “right” way to process every applicant, or assume that everyone will perform essential functions in exactly the same way.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Look beyond superficial impressions that an applicant might present, recognizing that the job-application structure does not duplicate the work environment.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I hope the most significant factor is possessing the desired skills. A successful interview should establish the abilities of the job applicant. Beyond that, I think a lot depends upon the mindset and attitudes that have been brought together. Work and management styles, values held, even the other person’s “likability.”

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Academic, Archives, City/town, Entry Level, Job hunter's survey, Public, School, Special, Western US

Apply for jobs they are a good match for, have relatable experience for.

View of street vendors at 7th and B Streets, NW (Ca. 1880) MarketThis anonymous interview is with a school librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Director/Cataloger, School Teacher Librarians, Media/Serials Librarian

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

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

√ more than 100, but less than 200

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Had the required qualifications, such as MLIS degree, library experience, other desired qualifications.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

All applications are viewed by all members of a committee

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

Resume, letter of interest. Lack of necessary qualifications. Lack of experience.

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?

Apply for jobs they are a good match for, have relatable experience for.

I want to hire someone who is

qualified

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?

√ 1

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

√ There are fewer positions

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

√ No

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

√ Yes

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

Experience is required and listed as so in the job ads.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

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, School, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area, Western US

More library school graduates are going straight from undergraduate into a library program, and might not have three-five years experience coming out.

Rebecca Lemos

Becca Lemos is an aspiring children’s librarian currently working as a library page. She is proud to have accomplished the conception, planning and implementation of a genre based reorganization of her library’s picture book collection. She has been looking for a new position for more than six months, in public libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, and Department Head. Ms. Lemos has a:

Teaching degree with intensive student teaching, internship and mentoring experience. Internship in children’s public library services.

Although she currently lives in suburban area, Ms. Lemos is looking for work in a specific urban metro area in the Northeastern US. She is an avid baker/foodie, and to offset that hobby she is also a runner. You can take a look at her ePortfolio, or learn more about her on LinkedIn.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

1. Location, Location, Location.
2. Livable Salary
3. Opportunities for long-term growth

Where do you look for open positions?

1. MCLB
2. LORI Jobline
3. INALJ
4. LinkedIn
5. Traditional job sites (monster, indeed etc.)

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I have a few cover letters pre-prepared but I will re-write and tailor them to fit the job that I am applying for. I have a resume and reference list that I always keep up-to date, including links to my educational portfolios and LinkedIn page. If the job posting supplies an email to send my application to, I will email all of the documents along with an introductory message. If it is a mail in application I will print out all of those documents, include my business card and a handwritten note, expressing my interest. I try not to spend more than 1-2 hours on an application.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

Other: Instead of library page, I list my position as library assistant 1) because I’ve had interviews with library staff who didn’t understand the terminology 2) I do much more than shelve books in my current capacity and am allowed more freedom in my position because of my degree 3) honestly to give myself a leg-up in the job hunt. I feel like a hiring committee sees library page and instantly views my job experience as not valid experience, when in fact I’ve learned more from my hands-on experience as a page than I did in library school!

When would you like employers to contact you?

To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Other: Phone for good news, email for bad news, and save your taxpayers the postage and stop mailing rejection letters.

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary
√ Other: The responses I receive from my own questions to the interviewer/interview board as well as the level of communication and professionalism during the interview process. If I’m expected to respond to your emails in a timely manner, I expect the same consideration from you. Even if the emails are to say, “we haven’t made a decision yet, but hope to soon” that is more respectable than five weeks of silence and no communication.

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Offer realistic salaries and positions for level of education. I shouldn’t have to work three part-time jobs that require a MLIS because there are no full-time positions out there. Be fluid about years of experience. More library school graduates are going straight from undergraduate into a library program, and might not have three-five years experience coming out. Be willing to to mentor and take on new graduates. We have to gain experience somewhere. More millennials like myself are entering the workforce with student loan debt and multiple part-time jobs are not viable financial options for us. I have seen many of my peers with library degrees choosing jobs outside of the library world because they can’t afford to be a part-time librarian.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Communicate at every step of the way. Notify me immediately if you decide not to interview me, or if the position has been filled.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being yourself and being honest. Don’t be afraid to admit your weaknesses, or that you don’t know the answer to a question. Play up your strengths, and when you get home find the answer, and email the committee back to demonstrate that even if you don’t know an answer off the top of your head, you are a dedicated information professional who will and can find the answer.

Also, thank you emails. Always.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Public, School, Suburban area

the two librarians behind the counter just laughed at me (that one left me crying in my car)

Librarian working at the Pointe Coupee Parish Parish library in New Roads Louisiana in 1936This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for More than 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, School libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I volunteer at my childrens’ school library. A school library is the last place I want to work and ironically was the only place I could find to take me on as a volunteer. I went to every public library in the area and each one told me they do not use volunteers, or they only accept high school students. At one I was told “There just ain’t nothing to do,” and at another the two librarians behind the counter just laughed at me (that one left me crying in my car).

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Southern US and is not willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

–Experience (though I’ve read that prospective employers do not like to hear that, but it’s true. I want to get my foot in the door, I want to be immersed in the field I chose to spend my tuition on…I want experience!!)
–A fair salary.
–Employers and coworkers willing to give a fast-learning and motivated newbie a chance.

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ, indeed, USAjobs, ALA job list, college and university websites, local government sites, etc.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

It has gotten to be pretty routine now, but I try to play up certain strengths as per the job description in the application, resume and cover letter. It is a fairly constant process.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ Other: No, but I am getting to the point that I might have to just to get a chance. I don’t feel good about that.

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Be honest about what they want in their descriptions. I have applied for so many “entry level,” “new grads welcome,” “no experience necessary” jobs just to have my application denied due to lack of experience.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Communication. Let us know if you are interested, or not interested. Email is fine!

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I have no idea! To be honest, I’m about ready to give up and either go back to school (which I really don’t want to do since I spent [wasted?] my whole GI Bill on my MLIS) or just swallow my pride and find a cashier or sales job somewhere. Do I need to know someone? Do I need to lie about my experience? It has been an extremely disheartening experience.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

It’s hard to get experience when I can’t get the experience! It’s been two years, 63 applications, three rejection emails, and two interviews. Every day in which I hear absolutely nothing back (good or bad news), I’m a little more discouraged. I have also encountered a lot of rudeness and hostility in my job search. I don’t know if it is because I don’t have the practical experience that other grads have, or if it is because the job market is tough and I’m just another person competing in their field. Maybe both. I left military service to go to college to pursue my dream job and I think now that I made a huge mistake.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

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Filed under Academic, Archives, Entry Level, Job hunter's survey, MLIS Students, Public, School, Southern US, Special, Urban area