Tag Archives: Academic library

This Should Be a Profession That Cares and Has Empathy, Not a Profession That Reinforces a “Dog Eat Dog World.”

This post originally appeared on April 21, 2013. A year two follow up will post shortly.
raymond wangRaymond Wang volunteers at both the East Los Angeles College library and the Pacifica Radio Archive. He is proud of his work with students, both in his current position as a part-time tutor, where he has helped three students go from struggling to getting an A or B, and in his previous work at the Prince George County Public Schools (DC suburb), where 95% of students are on free or reduced lunch and his 7th grade Algebra class achieved an 80% student pass rate on their Maryland High School Assessment Test. Mr. Wang has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months, in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the entry level. Here is how he describes his experience with internships/volunteering:

Pacifica Radio Archives Feb 2013
East Los Angeles Community college Jan 2013- Present
Santa Barbara Public Library Aug 2012-Dec 2012
Duke Univ Perkins Library Jan 2010-May 2010

Mr. Wang was previously a college radio DJ at WXYC Chapel Hill and KVRX Austin, and he plays violin, keyboard and laptop. In his free time he collaborates with friends to make music. He has a featured article and a poem on the APALA segment “What’s Your Normal?” Mr Wang is in an urban area in the Western US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

TRAINING
TRAINING
TRAINING

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA, Libgig, email listserv (CALIX, INFOLIT)

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 review the job description very thoroughly
Contemplate for hours to see if I meet the job description
If I decide I do, then I tailor my resume to the posting
Write a cover letter that showcases my experiences and skills to explain why you should hire me.
Send it to friends for edits (usually several iterations)
Contact references via email to make sure they are OK with me using them
Provide my references.
Fill out the application attach resume, cover letter and references.

Usually a week or 20 hrs for a library fellows position, depends on the job.

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: Let me know how I can improve my application

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
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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

Provide a clear and succinct job description.
Be honest and realistic with regards to qualifications, experiences and job duties
Librarians are not clowns, we shouldn’t have to wear 20 different hats and juggle 5 batons or more. We didn’t go to school to work for Ringling Bros.
Show some respect,support and encouragement towards potential job seekers, don’t treat them like just another number. Always follow up, communicate, explain why and take the time as we have taken the time to fill out your application.

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

They need to make the online application more user friendly with less hoops.
Make it more personal.
Answer questions about the position with detail and honesty
Be thorough and not ambiguous
Most of all be respectful and understanding that there are people who have been unemployed for 2 or more years without income, experience and accumulated a lot of debt.
This should be a profession that cares and has empathy not a profession that reinforces “a dog eat dog world.”

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Connections
Hard Skills
Soft Skills,
Experience
AND MOST OF ALL TIMING!

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

Thank you for taking the time to create this survey. Also, I hope this will let the politicians and higher ups know how difficult it is to get a job. Library Fellowships need to be more flexible on the terms of graduation dates! There are also needs to be more of them.

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, Urban area, Western US

Stop Wasting Applicants’ Time

This post originally appeared on March 24, 2013. A follow up with Ms. Parham will post in just a few moments.
Cathy ParhamCathy Parham earned her MLIS in 1998 from University of Alabama (ROLL TIDE)!! Most of her career has been spent in school libraries. She has experience in elementary, middle and high schools and three months experience in a public library as a Children’s Librarian.  She is currently the Senior Librarian at Sheik Zayed Private Academy in Abu Dhabi, UAE. She has been job hunting for more than 18 months, in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, Special libraries, radio, television, and theater, at the following levels: Supervisory, Department Head, and Senior Librarian. Ms. Parham is in a city/town in the UAE, and is willing to move anywhere. 

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

1. Salary

2. Benefits

3. Compatability

 Where do you look for open positions?

I Need a Library Job

USA Jobs

Gems Schools

Department of Education

ALA Joblist

Random online sites

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 usually look at the requirements and if I meet the requirements I try to align my resume to the requirements. I have already uploaded my documents on most sites I apply for jobs so I resubmit them (required documents) if it is required. It may take several days to submit the actual application/resume. I don’t spend more than an hour at a time on an application. It gets too intense if I spend more than an hour doing 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

√ 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

√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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

1. Don’t make the job description off putting. I am confident I can perform the tasks set forth for ANY librarian, however, when I read a job description I am often put off by the wording of the details and requirements. Why make it so wordy and complex? I am a school librarian and I perform EVERY duty required of any librarian from budgeting, management, teaching, cataloging, etc. However, when job searching, the descriptions don’t use simple terms, they use terms to put off job hunters. They describe the same jobs duties I perform but they put it in more technical terms.

2. Be honest about the availability of the job opening; if the job is already promised to your sister’s cousin’s husband’s friend just tell me. Stop wasting my time, especially if I never had a chance in the beginning.

3. Be fair in your salary offer. I DESERVE to be paid just like you.

4. Would it be too difficult to tell me why I didn’t get the job other than the standard “you were not qualified”, especially when I am qualified?

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

Stop hiring people they know and actually hire someone who is qualified for the job. Stop wasting applicant’s time. If you have someone in mind why lead us on? Why even post the announcement? If you have to post the announcement by law, shouldn’t you have to hire the right applicant by law? Instead of someone you know or someone who knows someone?

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Knowing someone who can put in a good word for you. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Unfortunately.

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

I would like to know how to write my resume to reflect my experience. I desperately want to move into another area of this field, but can’t seem to get out of the ‘black hole’ of education. Could someone provide some type of example of a resume when moving from one area to another? Has anyone else moved from schools to special/public libraries?

I think the questions on the survey are very well thought out and to the point.

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

Be Specific … and Be Honest

This post originally appeared on March 25, 2013. A follow up with JJ Pionke will appear shortly.

JJ Pionke

JJ Pionke is currently a graduate student in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. She is looking forward to being an academic librarian, and has spent less than six months looking for a position in an Academic library, for positions requiring at least two years of experience. Here is how she describes her internship/volunteering experience:

I have 10 years of teaching experience, changing careers, 2 overseas internships in information literacy and cataloging, 4 semesters as a TA, 1 internship building an online and physical exhibit.

Ms. Pionke is in a city/town in the Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere. In her spare time, she rides a motorcycle, plays video games, and of course, reads a wide range of material including science fiction and Victorian poetry. You can find her at jjpionke.com.

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

job fit, salary, flexibility

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ, ALA Joblist

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

√ Other: I prefer to see a salary listed but it’s not necessarily a red flag if it is not.

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

My first packet took about a day because I didn’t have anything put together. Now that I have everything organized, I probably spend a few hours on each packet with proofreading and updating any information.

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 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

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

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

Be specific in what they are looking for and be honest. Example: if there has been a round of retirements as a cost saving measure, knowing that would be useful.

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

Be more communicative and be explicit in what they are and are not looking for.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

How well you fit with what they are looking for.

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

Ultimately, I think getting hired is a confluence of things, including fit. The job market can be an intimidating place but staying positive, keeping skills sharp, and continuing education while you look, are the keys to finding a job that will make everyone happy.

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 City/town, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US

Appeal to Library Schools

This post originally appeared on February 10, 2013. I will post a year two follow-up with Ryan in just a few moments.
Ryan DreierRyan Dreier is currently the Volunteer Director at The Salvation Army of Brown County, where over 3,000 volunteers have logged at least one hour of service in 2012! He also works at FedEx Office as a “Generalist.” A librarian in the making, Mr. Dreier will finish his MLIS at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee this year. He has been job hunting for a year to 18 months in academic and public libraries, at the entry level. Of his internship/volunteering experience, he says:

Graduating by the end of summer, have done some volunteer work, no formal internship as I work two jobs to put myself through school without debt

He is in a city/town, in the Midwestern US, and is willing to move within an eight hour drive from home. You can follow him on Twitter @ryonlibraryon. Ryan also says:

Green Bay, WI–GO PACKERS!!!!

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

An opportunity to learn and grow
A position to use my experiences to grow programs
The opportunity to serve the community and share and disseminate information

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist

Libgig

Wisconsin Valley Job Posting Boards

inalj.com

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 usually include my resume, transcript, references, cover letter, and that’s on top of the job application requested by the potential employer

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

√ Other: Sometimes I feel like its a matter of interpretation on skill assessment surveys

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage

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
√ Other: Commutation of expectations and vision of that specific library

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

Appeal to library schools, and post openings

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

Provide feedback on what you could do to improve when requested

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I think the secret is that you have to know someone or that full time positions are being filled by paraprofessionals or professionals that are on staff but only working part time, leaving little room to get in.

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 City/town, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US

Be Realistic about How Many Applications Job Seekers are Forced to Put Out

This post originally appeared on March 4, 2013. A follow up with Ms. Becerra-Licha will post in just a few moments.
Sofia Becerra

This interview is with Sofía Becerra-Licha, the archivist at Berklee College of Music, a new position charged with formalizing the archives under a grant from the NHPRC. Ms. Becerra-Licha  earned her MSLS with a concentration in Archives & Records Management from UNC-CH (August ’12), where she was a Spectrum Scholar (2010-2011), a Carolina Academic Library Associate  (2010-2012), and was heavily involved as a student leader. She also holds a master’s degree in ethnomusicology and double-majored in music and Spanish as an undergraduate. Ms. Becerra-Licha was hired within the last two months, but prior to that was looking for a new position for six months to a year, in Academic libraries and Archives, for Entry level positions. This new grad describes her  internship/volunteering experience as:

2 years as a graduate assistant in public services at a small branch library. 1 year in a copy cataloging graduate assistantship for a large audiovisual archives. Two semester-long internships/volunteer positions: archival processing (papers) and original cataloging (music). Two months as a volunteer, cataloging videos. All of these positions were part-time and in academic libraries/archives.

She is in an urban area in the Northeastern US and was willing to move anywhere. Ms. Becerra-Licha is a member of the American Library Association (ALA), Society of American Archivists (SAA), and Music Library Association (MLA). She is currently documenting her first year on the job as a contributor to the SAA’s Students and New Archives Professionals (SNAP) roundtable blog series “A Year in the Life.”

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

Interesting work and/or responsibilities

Congenial colleagues

Salary proportionate to local cost of living

Where do you look for open positions?

Professional listservs and websites

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?

First, I reread the job description carefully and decide whether I meet the minimum requirements, as well as whether it sees like a genuinely good fit for my interests and skills. Next, I add the position as a possibility on my job applications spreadsheet, which includes fields for deadlines, number of references, and any special instructions. Based on the ad, I decide which references make the most sense for this type of position and contact them, including a few sentences about how my qualifications match up against the requirements and anything else particularly distinctive about the opportunity or my experience in relation to it. (And of course, I always include the caveat that they’re welcome to refuse if they have any reservations whatsoever, no questions asked!)

Simultaneously, I briefly research the institution and area to confirm this would be a liveable option, and to get ideas for connections I might mine for the cover letter. Assuming I don’t need to update my résumé, I draft the cover letter, potentially borrowing phrases from previous letters if I have applied for similar positions, but otherwise spending 30 minutes to an hour on the letter alone.

Overall, I would say an average application packet takes a couple of hours, but the length will depend on the demands of the process. I mostly applied to academic library positions, so another 30 minutes to an hour could go towards having to fill in a lot of the same information again on a general HR site, sometimes requiring the creation of an online account with that system. It’s hard for me to gauge because I rarely worked on a single application exclusively. I imagine I’m not the only one who tended to chip away at tasks in between other responsibilities, as I was taking classes full-time and working part-time.

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?

√ Other: Email to acknowledge application and any status updates; phone to follow up after an in-person interview. If I interviewed in person, then ideally phone notification once the position has been filled (but an email is definitely better than nothing!).

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: Information on the area, touring the surrounding area, housing information, etc.

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

Think critically about the job description, particularly the required skillset, rather than recycling from old job descriptions or throwing together a massive wishlist. Be clear about the application process, requirements, and timeline. Avoid requesting an excessive amount of supplemental documents upfront.

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

Be realistic (or at least understanding) about how many applications job seekers are forced to put out and take this into consideration when asking for additional materials, particularly from references. If at all possible, avoid collecting redundant information in time-consuming ways (such as requiring registering for a website or having to enter every single job, when such information is part of the required resume). Above all, communication is greatly appreciated. I understand the back-end is complicated, inevitable hold-ups abound, and there are valid reasons why many details cannot be disclosed. But whenever possible, even something like a generic update on a website saying, “we are now at the phone interview stage” is more charitable than silence. Please follow up in some manner with anyone you interview, whether in person or on the phone, via skype, etc. Professionalism goes both ways.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being persistent, remaining connected and productive, applying selectively, and honestly, having a bit of luck.

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, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Urban area

Security, Wage, Satisfaction

Sylvia BlySylvia Bly graduated from Wayne State University in 2012 with a MLIS and a Certificate in Records Information Management. She is currently employed by Deloitte LP as an intern in their Records Information Management area.  She says:

The internship has been a wonderful experience. I have learned a great deal of information relating to the records environment, and am eager to continue in my career.

She has been job hunting for more than 18 months, at Library vendors/service providers, Public and Special libraries, and in Records, for positions at the level of requiring at least two years of experience. Ms. Bly is in a city/town in the Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere. She belongs to ALA and SLA as well as ARMA.  You can contact her via LinkedIn.

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

Security
Wage
Satisfaction

Where do you look for open positions?

Careerbuilder
Monster
ALA Joblist
various listservs
LinkedIn
Indeed.com

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?

Depends on what the job position is asking for.  Anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.

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?

√ Phone

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 with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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 City/town, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US

Being a New Grad I Feel Better Applying to Jobs That Indicate They are a Place to Grow and Learn

This post originally appeared on March 10, 2013. Her year two follow up will post in just a few moments.
Neyda GilmanNeyda Gilman has a VERY recent MLIS, as her degree was conferred February 1st! Librarianship will be a second career, after working as a medical technologist for five years. She is a graduate reference assistant at the University at Buffalo’s Health Sciences Library  Ms. Gilman has been looking for less than six months, in academic libraries, archives, and special libraries, at the entry level. Here is how she describes her internship/volunteering experience:

I currently work part time at a library on campus. I have also done practicums at a public library, hospital library, and in a special collection. When my part time work ends soon I plan on continuing to volunteer there until I can find a job.

She is in a city/town, in the Northeastern US, and is willing to move anywhere, although

location is important so if I don’t think I could be happy living there I probably won’t take the job.

Ms. Gilman is a 2011 ALA Spectrum Scholar (MLA/NLM Scholar). You can learn more about her by visiting her e-portfolio or LinkedIn profile.

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

Type of library – I am interested in Academic (especially health sciences) or hospital

Location – I am looking nationwide (and Canada), but only apply to places in locations I think I would enjoy living

Mentorship/guidance – this is not necessary, but being a new grad I feel better applying to jobs that indicate they are a place to grow and learn

Where do you look for open positions?

Mostly indeed.com and ALA joblist. I also check MLA jobs and am on numerous listservs.

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?

One application will take at least a day, usually more, depending on what they want. I start with my resume or CV (whichever one they specify) since that is the easiest – I use a similar resume/CV for most applications and it doesn’t usually take long to customize it for the specific job. Next I work on my cover letter and this is that part that takes the longest. Last is compiling my list of references – I have a list of about ten people who have all agreed to be references and I choose from that list depending on the job. The exception to this is if the job wants an actual letter or form filled out; in these cases the first thing I do is contact my references.

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?

Put the posting out in as many areas as possible. Don’t have too strict of requirements. Having a lot of preferred qualifications is good, but I get really discouraged when I don’t meet one qualification out of a long list of required qualifications. There have been jobs that I know I would be good at and would love doing, but didn’t apply because there was one or two qualifications that I didn’t fully meet.

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

Keep the lines of communication open. If I am not a top choice, fine but let me know. Even if I am still being considered but not in the first batch of interviewees I want to know where I stand.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I’ll let you know when I get a job. 🙂

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 City/town, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US

Further Questions: How easy is it to switch between different types of librarianship?

This week we have a question from a reader.  She asks:

With the job market being the way it is, I have generally been looking for jobs in both public and academic libraries. How easy is it to switch between different types of librarianship? Do public libraries see an applicant with lots of academic experience and automatically dismiss them, or vice versa?

Laurie Phillips

I have been an academic librarian for 24 years but, before that, I worked in reference at a large public library. Reference was very different in an academic library than in the public library – not nearly as interesting when I first came here, but now I have a lot more opportunities to work with students. The skills are the same but the teaching and relationships that are part of academic librarianship generally aren’t there in public libraries. That said, I think you can apply successfully for both. Just know that you will have to highlight different skills and successfully respond to different environments. One of our most successful hires came from public school teaching and public librarianship. When he applied here, he tailored his letter of application to show how well he fit the qualifications for a job that was just being developed.

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

 

Christine Hage - Dark backgroundIt depends on the job pool.  Generally we get enough applicants that is is highly unlikely that we would look an academic librarian for a public library position.  This is not to say that we haven’t had academic librarians with NO public library experience apply for a youth services position.  In fact I just interviewed one today who had lots of sports coaching experience with young kids, but no public library experience.  Even with coaching experience he wasn’t qualified to work with kids in a public library.
If the position were in a large public library and in a subject department there might be more relevance.  In that case a public library might really be looking for a subject specialist, but in the run of the mill public library not so much.
I realize that library education isn’t all that different for public and academic libraries (merely a couple of different courses), but the experience is very different.  If an academic librarian volunteered or worked as a substitute librarian in a public library I might be inclined to consider them.  Other than that I’d stick to people who studied and / or have worked in public libraries.
– Christine Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library
Petra Mauerhoff, CEO, Shortgrass Library SystemMy personal experience has been that after a certain amount of time spent in one type of library one does tend to get pigeon-holed as knowing only about that type of work.
I have made the switch from special library to public library and then into post-secondary library work for a short amount of time and back into public libraries. Speaking from my personal experience, on an administrative/management level, the duties are very similar and transfer easily.
Recently, our regional library system (serving public libraries and school libraries) was going through a hiring process for a technology related management position and we interviewed candidates from academic libraries. We found out during the conversations that to a large extent the duties appeared to be similar: vendor relations, budgeting, ensuring services are relevant to the audience served.
The most important aspect always seems to be how willing the incumbent is to learn about their new environment. This is of course the case even when switching jobs within the same type of library. Be a “sponge” during your first while on the new job: absorb as much about the new environment as you can, learn about how things are done and WHY. Immerse yourself in the culture of the new place of employment, to find out what the priorities of the organization as a whole as well as those of the individual departments are.
The basic principles of excellent customer service and the (relatively) seamless provision of access to relevant resources will likely be the same, no matter which type of library you find yourself in.
I also wanted to mention again that our library system is currently part of a Shared Intern Librarian initiative, in which we share a newly graduated Librarian for a period of 12 months with our local public library as well as our local College Library Services. The Librarian spends equal amounts of time at each institution and thus is provided with experience in three different types of library organizations. Given that new grads often have to choose between types of libraries without actual experience that might tell them which they would prefer (or have an aptitude for), we figured this initiative was a great way to allow new grads to gain experience in different library organizations and then lets them make an educated decision after the 12 months. Plus, it gives them great work experience and they come out of the 12 month period with three “bosses” who are able to provide (so far, glowing) references.
And yes, we do pay our Interns.
– Petra Mauerhoff, CEO, Shortgrass Library System
Sarah MorrisonI would consider any library experience as “library experience” when reviewing applicants.  Academic, public, special, corporate, every library requires the same basic skills—order to fit the collection, stay within a budget, work within the hierarchy, work in teams or on committees, work in a hectic environment, deal with technology issues, choose and explain databases, handle problem patrons, etc.  Not having switched between libraries after I began full-time work, I can’t absolutely say, but I know people who have made the switch.  It would be more about finding jobs that meet your skill set and marketing those skills.
– Sarah Morrison, Adult Services Librarian, Neill Public Library, Pullman, Washington
I feel that experience is experience-both work with patrons/students. I would be more hesitant to hire someone with only TS experience, for example, to work as a Reference/Public Services librarian.
– Kaye Grabbe, Director, Lake Forest (Public) Library, Lake Forest, IL.
Jason GrubbI don’t think the switch is as difficult as some in our profession would have you believe. I’ve successful transitioned back and forth between both type of libraries throughout my career. I’ve watched friends and colleagues do the same. I currently work in a public library where we have hired several librarians who only had academic library experience. The key is to show with your application and interview how your library experience in any type of library is relevant and transferable to the position you are applying to.
– Jason Grubb, Director, Sweetwater County Library System
Celia RabinowitzAs a profession we seem to have often told new librarians to pick a track and stick with it because switching between types of libraries is difficult, or at least it is hard to convince search committees that it can be done successfully.  The switch might be easier for some subfields than for others, and it is certainly the case there are many differences in the audiences served, resources, and services provided.  That said, I am always looking for someone who can demonstrate in a cover letter that they “get” the job that is open and that they can match their qualifications and approach to the work with the position we have available.  It isn’t always easy.  I think it’s fair to say my library faculty might have a bias toward candidates with academic library experience.  I think this is an example of a situation where the cover letter can be the most important part of an application.  Why do you want to make the switch (if you are already working in the other type of library)?  If you are applying for both simultaneously it is absolutely worth the time it takes to craft cover letters that clearly address the jobs.  The same letter won’t work for different libraries.  Is it a challenge?  I think it still is.  Should academic libraries simply overlook candidates who have most, or all, of their experience in public libraries?  I don’t think so.  I want to be talked into it, so go for it.
– Celia Rabinowitz, Director of the Library, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

I can only speak from an academic perspective to respond to this question. I would say that it very much depends on the hiring manager. I know many academic librarians will not hire librarians out of the public library, but I think it has to do with the differences in administrative structure (City Council verses Higher Education). Also, many academic libraries are tenure track which requires scholarly publishing, presenting, professional service which is not required of public librarians (however many of them do these things).

From my personal perspective as a hiring manager in a public services setting in an academic library, I frequently hire librarians (and support staff) from public libraries because they usually bring with them very strong customer service skills. While many public librarians aren’t publishing, they are frequently involved in community service, service in professional organizations, and are used to giving presentations so I feel they can make the transition easily enough and their stellar customer service skills are worth the extra mentoring I might have to do in the scholarly area.

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

For more on this topic, take a look at How Can Candidates Changing Library Types, or Fields, Best Present Their Skills? from September 2013.

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!  She got sequins in her hair, Like she stepped out off of a Fellini film, She sat in a white straw comment.

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Filed under Academic, Further Questions, Public

Residency Run-down: Santa Barbara City College Library Residency

I know a lot of you readers are new librarians or current students. And we all know it’s a tough market for emerging information professionals. That’s why I’m really happy to be able to share this interview with Kenley Neufeld of Santa Barbara City College. In this interview, Mr. Neufeld describes, the origins of the program. as well as why Santa Barbara City College Library is a great place to learn about academic librarianship and the top two things he looks for in applicants.

Can you give us a brief introduction to the Santa Barbara City College Library Residency Program?

See http://library.sbcc.edu/blog/2011/07/08/2011-2012-library-resident/

Why was this program started? or Why does Santa Barbara City College Library continue to fund this program? What makes it important to your organization?

The program was started to meet a need to serve more students. Between 2005-2010 the number of students using the library more than doubled and yet we weren’t able to make any staff changes to meet this increased demand. We are an extremely busy library with very limited staff. We also wanted to keep our approach to serving students fresh and innovative. By bringing in new librarians on a rotating basis we can assure freshness.

I approached a community member to fund this position because the institution wasn’t able to add more librarians to our staff. As a leader in the library profession, as an award-winning library and award-winning college, it is the right thing for us to continue being innovative in how we provide services.

What are the main job duties of residents – do they differ from those of “regular” librarians?

The duties of the resident are no different than our “regular” librarians. We try to expose the resident to as many aspects of library service as possible, assign them areas in which they have interest or strengths, and push the resident to take on leadership responsibilities.

Are residents paid? Do they get any other special benefits?

Yes, the residents are paid as part-time faculty. No other specific benefits.

What would you tell a potential applicants in order to convince them to apply for the program?

We are one of the top community colleges and library in the country. We are exciting, innovative, and passionate about what we do. The view is spectacular.

What are the eligibility requirements?

See http://library.sbcc.edu/blog/2011/07/08/2011-2012-library-resident/

What does the selection process entail? How does it differ from the regular job application process?

The selection process is less formal than our regular job application process. Applicants must complete one of the online college applications and then are screened by the library director and other librarians for interview selection. The interview is performed by the library director and a selection is made.

Any tips for students? Is there anything they could do to improve their chances of winning a spot in your program?

At this point we’re on a 2-year cycle and so the next vacancy will be in Summer 2014. Reviewing the criteria should provide the best indication on how to improve their chances.

When will the next residents be picked?

Summer 2014

Anything else you want to tell us about the program, or about job hunting in general?

Communication and customer service skills are two of my top criteria when interviewing people. I want to see someone who is creative, smart, and has some vision on where to go.

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Filed under Academic, MLIS Students, Residency Run-Down, Western US

Job Hunters’ Web Guide Guide

We’ve been featuring different websites for LIS job hunters for a while now, and here is our list.  You can always access the full feed of profiles by going to the Archives page and choosing the category Job Hunters Web Guide (or just click that link).  While you’re on the Archives page, you may want to take a look at the other categories, which include things like library type or feature title.

So, in alphabetical order, here are the websites we’ve featured since starting with INALJ on December 6, 2012.  The links go to the full profile, which will link you to the website (just click on the screenshot).

Academic Library Jobs:  Job posting website, targeted on Academic libraries

ACRL Residency Interest Group: Job listings and information for people interested in getting a residency position, and for those offering them.  Excellent opportunity for networking and information straight from the source.

Archives Gig: Job postings for archivists.

Career Q & A with the Library Career People: Submit your questions about careers and job hunting, and read answers to what others have asked.

Careers in Federal Libraries: Your guide to being the POTUS’ Librarian.  And other Federal library positions.

Careers in Law Librarianship: Everything you ever wanted to know about being a law librarian, from the American Association of Law Librarians

I Need a Library Job: Comprehensive job postings for all kinds of LIS careers.  Also blogs by over 50 different editors on different aspects of library job hunting and careers.

Infonista: Information about non-traditional LIS careers (and traditional ones too).

Librarian Hire Fashion: Crowdsourcing advice on what to wear to library interviews, by posing questions and curating submissions from users of their interview outfits.

Library Association of Ireland’s Career Development Group: Career links, research, and events from the LAI.

The Library Career Centre: Career coaching from recruiter Nicola Franklin

LibraryJobline: The Colorado Library Association posts jobs and resources, and collects statistics about library jobs, making the data freely available.

Library Job Postings on the Internet: Index of library employment sites – over 400,  from all around the world.

LisList: US lis jobs, in one big list.

METRO Jobbank/Career Resources: From the Metropolitan New York Library Council (managed by the extraordinary Ellen Mehling), job listings and articles on library careers.  METRO also hosts workshops for job hunters.

Library Jobs.ie: Want to work in Ireland?  Irish library job postings, as well as LIS-related job opportunities.

MLA Deal:  The Maryland Library Association’s website for new professionals and library students.

Open Cover Letters: Real cover letters that got people library jobs

What are we missing?  Tell us about your favorite library job site in the comments!

Guides Alma Wegen and Fairman B. Lee with a climbing party on Nisqually Glacier, Mount Rainier National Park

Finally, it’s time for your monthly reminder about the Interview Questions Repository.  Follow this link to submit questions you were asked in your recent library interview, or follow this one to prep for your upcoming interview by taking a look at what others have added.  These links are always available in the sidebar to your right.  Top tip: use the List View feature to limit to just the answer categories you are interested in. As of 07/11/2013, there are 156 lines of submitted questions.

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Filed under Job Hunters Web Guide, News and Administration