Category Archives: Suburban area

When the job ad says, “effective written communication skills,” which most do, the cover letter is where hiring managers will look for evidence of that.

Fruit and vegetable vendors, Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

research librarians, technical services librarian

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Southern 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?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Ours was an entry level position, so I would define “hirable” as someone who had some work experience and relevant coursework and appeared to be flexible and collaborative.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We use search committees for librarian hires.  There are criteria that go into the job ad and in the case where we had 100+ applicants, we developed additional criteria to winnow the pool further.

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

We are limited to bringing 3-4 applicants for campus interviews, and as a matter of practicality we would do video interviews for perhaps 6-8.  Depending on the size abd quality of the applicant pool, we might not be able to interview applicants who do not have the preferred qualifications.

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 ad and remember that your cover letter is your writing sample.  Tailor it to your audience and purpose and please have someone else proofread it before you send it off.

I want to hire someone who is

adaptable

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?

√ 2

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 more 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?

√ 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 would give preference to entry level applicants who have some work experience in libraries.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

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

Job hunters really need to focus on that cover letter as a way to get more than a glance at the rest of their materials.  When the job ad says, “effective written communication skills,” which most do, the cover letter is where hiring managers will look for evidence of that.

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.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

Communicate with your local library school

photo State Librarian James Stapleton and guests at the Book Week launch, Brisbane, ca. 1948 This 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 Six months to a year. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Public libraries, Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, Senior Librarian. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I had a very positive internship experience at Johnson & Wales before I graduated. My supervisors allowed me to attend meetings with other libraries, and experiment with instructional tools and chat reference. Soon I will be volunteering at a local historical society for archiving and historical library experience.

This job hunter is in a suburban area in the Northeastern US and is Hoping to stay in S. New England.

Where do you look for open positions?

OLIS Jobline, Massachusetts Board of Library Commisioners, Connecticut Library Jobs, HigherEd Jobs

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

√ Only for certain kinds of employers

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

I have a resume that is pre-designed, which I customize for certain positions, same with a cover letter. I usually spend no more than an hour preparing an application

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
√ 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?

Communicate with your local library school to set up PFE programs and set up a relationship with interns who might want to apply for jobs at your library

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!

Leave a comment

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

The minimum requirements for an entry level position is a very low bar to reach

This anonymous interview is with an public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Staff in reference, youth services, adminsitration, and circulation.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an suburban 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”?

We look for a combination of skills that are job knowledge (library skills) plus interpersonal and customer service skills.  For supervisory positions, we prefer some supervisory experience.  We also look for signs of initiative or planning skills.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We evaluate all applications.

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

Lack of library experience.  While it is not a deal-breaker, we find that many applicants look at the skills needed on the job post and see that they fit the minimum requirements. The minimum requirements for an entry level position is a very low bar to reach.

For professional positions, we are more flexible, because the commitment to library school indicates a certain desire and knowledge of library work.

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

√ Other: If asked, we share areas they could improve on.

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

Go beyond just reading the job description, and find out more about the position.  If it is a good match, you will have skills in the relevant areas already and not be stretching your resume to match the job.

I want to hire someone who is

a team player

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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

√ 2

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

√ 5-6

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 require experience, but we also find that professional librarians are applying for para-professional jobs.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarianship, and how it is defined, is a moving target.  We find that the library as community center is more emphasized now, whereas in the past it might have been more of a popular materials center, or a technology center. Libraries adapt to community needs very well, and will continue to do so.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Public, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

In one case the cover letter was too aggressive

Market scene. Women and men. 1922 2 This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

cataloging, collections development, circulation, archives, public services

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban 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 requirements of the job announcement.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Applicants were evaluated  by a search committee made up of a library faculty member(s), the Assistant Library Director, and an outside faculty member.

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

Did not meet job requirements or experience was not related to the position.  In one case the cover letter was too aggressive, and we felt that the person would not have been a good match for our library.

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?

Make sure that you are applying for jobs that you are qualified for.  Use your cover letter to succinctly describe how your experience and education relates to the job, and why you would be a good fit.  The cover letter is just as important as the resume.

I want to hire someone who is

balanced

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?

√ Yes

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?

It does, but it is not necessarily a requirement.  It has been done more in practice, but there is room for discussion.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Too many reasons to list.  One is that librarians are more important now than ever to help users decipher the vast amount of information that is now available.  We provide access to resources that our users would not have otherwise.  There are many many more reasons why librarianship is not a dying profession.

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.

2 Comments

Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

If the applicant did not list any reference experience, they did not meet that criteria.

Paramaribo market scene. Women and men. 1922.This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference librarians
Library Directors
(Our cataloger position is a support staff position although it requires an MLS. It is going to be open this year due to retirement and we are going through the justification for approval to fill it now.)

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban area in the Midwestern US.

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

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 51-75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Had relevant experience = we were searching for a reference/instruction librarian (academic experience)

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR used basic criteria to weed out first applicants (i.e. verification that they had an MLS). After that all application materials are sent to the committee members via an online ‘link’. Using a matrix that was completed before the process even began, the committee evaluated each application. After that, the committee met to talk about the applications and result of our criteria matrix and we decided on six people to interview.

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

They did not have the experience or qualities on our criteria matrix for instance one criteria was ‘experience providing reference assistance.’ If the applicant did not list any reference experience, they did not meet that criteria.

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 career advertisement carefully and be sure to address all of the aspects listed for the job in describing work experience. Read the library website information and include relevant information related to that library. Do not use a form letter changing the job information – there is always one person who has done that and does not check it carefully and has the wrong job or location in it. Make sure there are no punctuation and grammar errors on the online job application and make sure to include everything on the online job application form even if it is in your resume.

I want to hire someone who is

a team player

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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?

√ 2

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?

√ Yes

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?

It is not required, but preferred. The librarian that we just hired in in her very first librarian position – she worked in para-professional jobs before, but she was able to get the experience because in her case librarian positions were replaced with para-professionals.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

Why or why not?

It has been a real battle to get any library positions approved for hire by the administration at my institution.

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

Job Hunters – it helps to have two master’s degrees for academic library work even if not required. Other faculty on the hiring committee look for subject knowledge beyond the MLS.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

it’s dismaying when I encounter those who could have used a course in cataloging

Interior of Townsville library, ca. 1948This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

catalogers, reference, instruction

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an suburban area in the Western US.

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
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Soft skills are problematic. MLIS students would benefit from learning more about public speaking and presentations, about networking in professional functions, and about writing ranging from a good cover letter to effective e-mails. I hear more and more that cataloging isn’t being taught, or that it’s only an elective. Organization of information is the backbone of so much library work, and it’s dismaying when I encounter those who could have used a course in cataloging.

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

√ No preference–as long as they have the skill, I don’t care how they got it

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

Actual application of skills, such as when to make local decisions for cataloging materials so as to meet the needs of the users rather than what a classification system suggests. Organizational culture. You can’t interview for that precisely, but it is something that can be shared and inculcated after hire.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Student organization involvement
√ Professional organization involvement

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

No preference. The candidates I see are usually from a small pool based on the programs that are geographically closest.

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

I am wary of alumni from the larger online programs, but I would judge candidates on the merits each puts forward.

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

You can often tailor assignments to your career goals, so try to do so. Work in a library as a student worker if you can, or do a practicum or internship. Do not overlook management courses – all too often librarians get promoted because they have the most seniority, and having some course work to back that up is helpful.

Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?

Your program or university should ideally offer career advice and workshops on applying for and interviewing for jobs. Seek out these resources and use them!

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses to this survey, or specific analysis of the responses discussing online school, the amount of coursework students should take, and preferences/reluctances for candidates from certain schools.

Do you hire librarians?  Tell us your answer to, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Suburban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

This is not a formal procedure, just what happens in practice.

Vegetable and flower seller and stall, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WashingtonThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who 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 librarians, library directors

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban area in the Northeastern 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?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met the criteria specified in the job posting; handled resume and cover letter with a professional attitude

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

All applications are handled by the Library Director, who conducts a first round of interviews. A few (2-3) candidates are then invited to a second interview with the Director and HR Committee. The final decision is made by the Director with the guidance of the HR Committee.

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

Applicant does not meet qualifications spelled out in job posting (i.e. educational requirements, professional experience, etc.)

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?

Ensure that your application materials are tailored to the position you are applying to

I want to hire someone who is

capable

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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

√ 2

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 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?

Yes, but it does not have to be at the professional level – could be para-professional or volunteer. This is not a formal procedure, just what happens in practice.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarians are still very much needed in communities

 

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Northeastern US, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area