Tag Archives: Education

Further Questions: Does your organization have educational requirements aside from the MLS/MIS for professional positions?

This week we asked people who hire librarians:

Does your organization have educational requirements aside from the MLS/MIS for professional positions? If so, what are they and how were they determined? If not, why? These educational requirements may include things like: specific undergraduate degrees, a second master’s degree, a doctorate, etc. Obviously specific positions may require certain degrees but is there a baseline for all positions, either at the time of hiring, after X number of years, for tenure, etc.? 

Laurie Phillips

No, we don’t. Several of us have a second master’s degree (currently 3 in music, for what it’s worth) but it’s not required. We may be looking for someone to fill specific liaison responsibilities, but we’ve generally been able to juggle things around to give someone an area that suits their background or interests. Someone may appeal to us more if they fit a niche need (like the sciences or business) but we’re generally looking for a liaison on top of other job responsibilities so we can’t let that drive the search.
– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

Christine Hage - Dark backgroundWe do not require second masters or specific undergraduate degrees, although we do specifically hire people with masters degrees in Early Childhood Development for our Youth Services Department.  These employees are paid on the Librarian pay scale and work side-by-side with librarians in our Youth Services Department.

We do require that all our librarians to have an MLS and only put librarians on our Adult Services, Outreach Services and Youth Services desks.  Only librarians are authorized to purchase or weed materials.
– Christine Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library

J. McRee ElrodWe value computer and language skills, but these may be acquired by methods other than a degree.
– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

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 us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.


Filed under Further Questions

Job Hunter’s Web Guide: ACRL Residency Interest Group

It seems that each year, the number of LIS graduates increases, and the number of entry-level jobs decreases.  And the bar for those jobs is set higher and higher.  It is difficult for new grads to get their feet on the path to becoming future library leaders.  I’m interested in what we, as a profession, are doing about this problem.  

So I’m glad to present a resource which may really help new grads: the ACRL Residency Interest group.  Residencies provide a structured entrance into the profession, and the ACRL group, along with it’s associated website, provides some good insight into how you can obtain such an entrance.  Hannah K. Lee, who is the Outgoing Convener of the ACRL Residency Interest Group as well as Assistant Librarian, University of Delaware Library, Student Multimedia Design Center, was kind enough to answer my questions about the site and the group.

ACRL Residency Interest Group

What is it? Please give us your elevator speech!

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Residency Interest Group (RIG) is a group of library residents (both current and former), residency program coordinators, library administrators, diversity officers, and human resources professionals from across the country. A residency is post-degree work experience, often from one to three years, designed as an entry level program for recent graduates of library and information science programs. The aim of this group is to encourage interested parties to more broadly share their expertise regarding residency programs and to make it both available and accessible for future residents and coordinators. It was also founded as a resource for newer members, particularly library school students, who may be considering a residency program upon graduation.

When was it started? Why was it started?

In 2008, ACRL amended their bylaws allowing for communities to be created within ACRL that had a specific area of focus but that weren’t represented by Discussion Groups or Sections. They called these Interest Groups. An interest group is a network of individuals who have come together to share their knowledge and expertise with one another, and to help solve problems across organizational boundaries with those who may face similar challenges. The Residency Interest Group was the very first Interest Group to be formed by ACRL.

We have several goals:

  • To centralize information regarding residency program availability
  • To maintain a directory of past and present program participants
  • To garner interest and support for the group’s activities through the production of research projects related to residency programs
  • To serve as an information clearinghouse and resource for institutions planning, managing, or researching residency programs
  • To support potential residents, new graduates, and early career librarians in their professional development through a variety of resources including guest writers, podcasts, and downloadable documentation

Who runs it?

RIG is completely volunteer-based and is part of ACRL’s committee structure. ACRL, in turn, is a division within the American Library Association (ALA). RIG’s leadership includes the incoming convener, convener, outgoing convener, and web editors.

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

I wouldn’t consider myself a career “expert,” and librarianship isn’t my first career. But I’ve learned a lot along the way, and I’m always happy to give advice to new graduates and job seekers. As a college student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I dabbled in every possible field you can image– psychology, French, architecture, chemistry, history, photography– before eventually graduating with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Education. I started my professional career as a high school English teacher in Chicago, where I taught British Literature and Film Studies. I then set my sights abroad, and ended up teaching in the Paris, France region for a couple of years at the junior high level. I returned to the States—and to my alma mater– to continue my studies at the graduate level. While at the U of I, I taught various rhetoric and composition courses, including ART 250: Writing with Video. I received my M.A in English with a specialization in Writing Studies in 2008 and my M.S. in Library and Information Science in 2009. I have worked as a Substitute Adult Services Reference Librarian at the Urbana Free Library, as a Librarian Intern at Harper College Library in Palatine, IL, and as an Affiliate Assistant Librarian and Pauline A. Young Resident at the Student Multimedia Design Center at the University of Delaware Library. I’m currently an Assistant Librarian in the Student Multimedia Design Center. The Center is a one of the largest multimedia facilities in an academic library in the nation. During my residency, my responsibilities included assisting students in creating multimedia content, collaborating on interdepartmental library projects such as videos and interactive tutorials, digital literacy instruction, and staff and student training, among others. In my permanent position, I began a program for multimedia literacy instruction that was launched in Fall 2012. I work collaboratively with faculty across departments, consulting with them on assignment design and teaching class sessions on digital storytelling, production basics, video editing, etc.

Who is your target audience?

Our target audience is new library and information science graduates as well as people who are interested in starting library residency programs.

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

For recent graduates who are looking for a job, the best way to use the site is to consult it on a regular basis to see if there are any new residency positions that have opened up. They can also subscribe to the Residency Interest Group listserv, because most of the jobs that are posted on the website also get sent out through the listserv. To subscribe to the listserv, go to http://lists.ala.org/sympa. We also have regular posts from current and former residents in our Residency Diaries series, and although we haven’t had a podcast recently, we also have a Newbie Dispatches podcast series on a variety of topics of interest to new librarians.

Does your site provide:

√ Job Listings √ Answers to reader questions √ Interviews
√ Articles/literature √ Links √ Research √ The opportunity for interaction

Should readers also look for you on social media? 

√ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ACRL-Residency-Interest-Group/113621396297?fref=ts

Do you charge for anything on your site?


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

I actually found my residency through the ACRL Residency Interest Group! I hadn’t even heard of residencies when I was in library school, and I stumbled upon a job ad for a residency program when I was searching for jobs. This piqued my interest, and I started looking for other residency programs. I came across the Residency Interest Group website and subscribed to the listserv, and not too long after, there was a posting for a job opening at the University of Delaware for their Pauline A Young Residency program. I applied for the position, and one thing led to another to bring me to where I am today. My residency was for two years, but they ended up offering me a permanent position midway through my residency. I’m still at the University of Delaware, and am very thankful for my experiences as a resident.

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

Hannah LeeDon’t get discouraged! It might take a few tries to get your dream job, but in the meantime, don’t be afraid of taking on positions to help build up your experience. If you want to work in a university library, you might have to move to a location you’re not familiar with. If you want to develop your career as an academic librarian, it’s something that you’ll have to seriously consider. Good luck!


Filed under Academic, Job Hunters Web Guide

Library School Career Center: University of Tennessee

This is the second installment of the Library School Career Center feature, which is presented in partnership with the folks from the blog Hack Library School.  If you’re interested in library education, or in new ideas and the future of the profession, you should check it out.


This installment is a little different, as the University of Tennessee School of Information Sciences does not have a career center. However, they do have career related services. HLS writer Chris Eaker investigated his school’s website; questions were answered as completely as possible and marked N/A where not applicable.

Career Center Information

Who staffs the career center?  Please talk a little about how it is managed and run? 


Are there “career experts” on staff?  What are their credentials? 


Does the school provide any of the following:

Library school provides:

√ Job Listings   √ Literature/articles

University’s career center provides:

√ Resume/CV Review   √ Help writing cover letters

√ Interview Practice   √ General Career coaching

Do you provide in-person services?


Do you provide online services?

√ Website with resources

Can you talk a little bit about the school’s approach to internships, practicums and/or volunteering?

UTK SIS has a full time practicum coordinator, so they place high value on this means of gaining work experience.


What degree(s) do you offer?


Is it ALA accredited?


What are the entrance requirements?


When was the library school founded?

1928, accredited in 1972

Where are you?

√ Southern US

Where are you?

√ Urban area

Chris Eaker is a graduate student at the University of Tennessee School of Information Sciences and is a graduate research assistant in the Data Curation Education in Research Centers program. He is specializing in research data curation.

1 Comment

Filed under Library School Career Center, Southern US, Urban area

Library School Career Center: Indiana University

I’m very happy to introduce a new feature here on Hiring Librarians, which is presented in partnership with Hack Library School (HLS). HLS is a collaborative blog that allows students to deconstruct and reshape their own library education, and ultimately to influence the future of the profession through thoughtful public commentary.

Hack Lib School

In this feature, writers from HLS interview their schools about the career resources and services provided to students. Our hope is that these “interviews” will:

1. Provide more information for current students (and alumni) about how they can best take advantage of their school’s career resources.
2. Help people who are thinking about going to library school focus on their post-graduation employability, and how their choice of school might affect that
3. Encourage library schools to provide high-quality career resources for graduates and alumni. Allow schools to share information about their strategies for providing career guidance.
4. Engage library students in career-focused dialogue with their schools.

Without further ado, I’m pleased to present the first in this series, conducted by HLS Managing Editor Brianna Marshall.

This interview is with Rhonda Spencer, Director of Admissions and Placement, Indiana University, School of Library and Information Science.

Career Center Information

Who staffs the career center? Please talk a little about how it is managed and run.

“A Place to Start” is the sub-title of the career office. Why? It helps define the goals of the office. We would like to encourage students to start thinking about the job search process early. We want them to think about their résumé, the interview process, and networking. We want them to understand how job ads are posted in this field. We want to promote professional association involvement. We want students to understand resources available at Indiana University, and in the field of library and information science. We want our students to be confident in themselves, and in their knowledge about the job search process.

New SLIS students may stop by the office for general ideas. We hope that having a peer (a fellow SLIS student) as someone to brainstorm with will help students confidently begin necessary job search preparations. Students nearing completion of their degree may want to have a practice interview. They may want to contribute ideas and time to improving the career resources at SLIS.

The office will staffed by SLIS Student Career Analysts. These students are part of a “think tank” environment designed to improve easy access to resources. They will post full-time job openings to a jobs listserv and to the SLIS Website. They will work on web resources for the SLIS Website – Career Section. They will conduct Practice Interviews with students. They will help promote other career events offered by SLIS and IU. They will work with the SLIS Student Organizations. They will report to and work with the SLIS Director of Admissions and Placement, Rhonda Spencer.

As is the current practice, students may also schedule appointments with Rhonda Spencer to talk about career questions and their résumé. Additionally, they may contact her to reserve the SLIS Career Services Office for a Phone Interview, or for a Student Group Meeting.

Does the career center provide any of the following:

√ Job Listings √ Resume/CV Review √ Help writing cover letters

√ Literature/articles √ Interview Practice √General career coaching

√ Networking events (virtual or in-person)

√ Other: Helping to participate in or to promote events sponsored by the student chapters of professional associations at SLIS, national associations, and other Indiana University career events.

Do you provide in-person services?

√ Appointments √ Drop-in career center

√ Job Fairs √ Mixers or other networking events

√ Speakers, or programs that present experts

*Note: The majority of the speakers, networking events, or job fairs are sponsored by other related groups either within SLIS or at Indiana University. And, in addition to “drop-in hours at the career center, students can drop-in for advising times with the Director of Placement. Also, all SLIS students are assigned faculty advisors. There is also an Internship Director available for consultation.”

Do you provide online services?

√ Website with resources

√ Other: Direct email access to the Director of Placement, and to the student peer consultants; Jobs postings Listserv.

What do you think is the best way for students to use the career center?

To start early in their job search planning, to talk to a peer about strategies…

May alumni use career center resources?

Yes. The website job postings are available. Some alumni contact the Director of Placement for assistance. But, in general, alumni use professional association networking for career advice after graduation.

Are there any charges for services?

No charge.

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

Know yourself. Start early in planning. Prepare a strong résumé. Be considerate about your online presence. Keep potential portfolio items. Attend workshops. Be involved in professional associations. Network – even if it is hard. Personal contacts do help. Have several people review your résumé. Think about where you would like to live. Before applying for a position, learn about the institution — it will make your application materials stronger. Show some enthusiasm. Do you really want to work for this library – in this town? Read the job advertisement four times — it will make your cover letter and résumé more relevant. Emphasize experiences, class projects, key words that will matter to that employer. Dedicate regular time each week to the job search preparation process — (this can start your first semester in graduate school). Enjoy the process. Find your niche.

Students’ Career Paths

Can you share any statistics about employment rates after graduation?

The magazine “Library Journal” does an annual salary and placement survey of all new graduates from the previous year. They survey all ALA-accredited schools. They publish the results each year in their October 15th issue. This survey gives a strong aggregate look at trends in the field.

Can you talk a little bit about the school’s approach to internships, practicums and/or volunteering?

  • Strongly encouraged – (all of the above).
  • Very important.
  • Helpful for building your job portfolio.
  • Internships can be completed for course credit.

Are there any notable graduates?

We have many notable graduates who spend their work days in remarkable service. They are creative, intentional, and helpful in their professional lives. Some work in institutions that are more widely known (Library of Congress, American Library Association, Amazon…). Some became Deans – of libraries, and of ALA-Accredited schools. I am touched though by the pride in the daily work of numerous graduates. They do make a difference in the lives of their patrons. Two examples of graduates from the Indiana University School of Library and Information Science:

1. Rebecca Taylor Bingham:


2. Sharon Lenius:



How many students in the library school?

Bloomington campus (Fall 2012) = 264 degree seeking

What degree(s) do you offer?

  • Master of Library Science, Master of Information Science
  • Ph.D. in Information Science
  • Specialist in Library and Information Science (post-master’s degree)

Is it ALA accredited?


When was the library school founded?

  • First organized curriculum in library science at IU (1930)
  • Graduate degree established (1949)

Where are you?

√ Midwestern US

Where are you?

√ City/town

Anything else you’d like to share that’s unique about the school?

Great university, lovely town, supportive infrastructure, respected and forward-thinking faculty – a terrific place for graduate school.

Note: The Indiana University School of Library and Information Science will merge with the School of Informatics effective July 1, 2013. The new combined School of Informatics and Computing will offer an enriched environment for our students. Additionally, expanded career services will be available. The future for the field is strong.

Brianna MarshallBrianna Marshall is a second year dual-degree Master of Library Science and Master of Information Science student at Indiana University’s School of Library and Information Science. She is Managing Editor for Hack Library School and a 2012-2013 HASTAC scholar. Learn more about Brianna through her blog and portfolio or by following her on Twitter @notsosternlib


Filed under Library School Career Center, Midwestern US

Researcher’s Corner: Education, Training and Recruitment of Special Collections Librarians

This post presents research by Kelli Hansen. As in Eamon Tewell’s research on jobs for Academic librarians, you’ll see that she finds that entry-level positions are scarce.  However, she also identifies characteristics and skills that candidates can cultivate to improve their chances, and I’m intrigued by her findings about the increasingly multi-disciplinary nature of these jobs.  I hope you enjoy this post, because I’m very proud to be able to share it with you.

This project started as a student paper in Michael Laird’s class on Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of Texas at Austin in spring 2009.  Some of our readings raised questions about employers’ expectations of new special collections librarians.  I was preparing to start my job search at the time, and I wondered whether some of the answers could be found in position advertisements.  Here’s what I found out.


For the purposes of this study, I was only interested in job ads for entry-level special collections librarians.  It was difficult to define entry-level because very few job advertisements suitable for recent graduates openly represent themselves as such.  Unexpectedly, it was also difficult to define special collections and even librarian.

In the end, my criteria for including advertisements were as follows:

  1. One year of experience or less; or, length of experience not specified; and
  2. No supervisory duties over other professionals; and
  3. Position assigned to special collections or rare books (with at least 50% of job duties in one of those areas); and
  4. Title and requirements that reflect training in librarianship (as opposed to training in archives, conservation, museum studies, or digitization).

I did not keep track of a total population of job advertisements because I did not intend to estimate the percentage of jobs available to new graduates.  I only wanted a snapshot of the skills and experience employers were looking for in entry-level applicants, and the responsibilities and environments recent graduates could expect in their first positions.

I had a hard time locating advertisements, primarily because of the ephemeral nature of online postings. Eighty-eight position announcements, culled from various print and electronic sources from 2004 to 2009, fit my criteria and were included in the study.


After I collected all of the advertisements, I broke down statistics for features like salary, professional status, geographic location, and institution type.  I found that the largest number of positions was in the Northeast.  The median salary was $40,000, and academic or research environments made up the overwhelming majority.  Over 75 percent required a single master’s degree – either the MLS or a master’s degree in a subject area.  About 30 percent of the advertisements specified that another advanced degree, in addition to the library degree, was preferred.  Almost half of the advertisements required the candidate to have some experience (of an unspecified amount), and over seventy percent of the advertisements stated that experience of some sort was preferred.

In order to measure more subjective requirements, I also did some basic text analysis on the qualifications sections for common keywords, which I classified into broad categories based on the white paper Competencies for Special Collections Professionals.   In the qualifications, keywords varied widely.  The most common single keywords were history, cataloging, and technology.  The competencies with the highest frequencies were Teaching and Research and Public Service, followed closely by Cataloging and Processing and Information Technology.

When I analyzed the duties sections of the advertisements in the same way, there was much less variation.  The most frequent single keywords for duties were reference and research.  The category with the highest frequency was Teaching and Research, appearing in 73 percent of advertisements.  However, the following categories all appeared in 72 percent of the advertisements: Management and Administration, Promotion and Outreach, and Public Service.  Cataloging and Processing was represented in 70 percent of advertisements.


To summarize very briefly, I reached some of the following conclusions:

  1.  Entry-level positions in special collections are scarce, and they aren’t so entry-level.  Like many library jobs, there’s an overwhelming preference for candidates with some prior experience.  Nearly a third of hiring institutions also prefer candidates with additional graduate education.  These facts indicate a very competitive job market.
  2. The job advertisements reflect overlap among libraries, archives, and museums.  There has been much talk about library-archive-museum convergence over the past decade, and the job announcements confirm that idea.  It may be useful for job seekers to cultivate skills and experience in all three areas.
  3. Institutions seem to be looking for candidates who are both generalists and specialists.  Most of the skills mentioned in the advertisements – reference, research support, instruction, cataloging – apply to librarians of all stripes.  However, the position responsibilities and requirements suggest that aspiring special collections librarians need to combine comprehensive library skills with specialized knowledge of subject areas and materials.

The Future

The full version of this research was published in RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage in September 2011.  I only touched on the surface with this article, and there’s still a lot to find out about hiring and training librarians in this field.  Feel free to contact me with any comments or questions.

Kelli Bruce Hansen earned her MSIS from the University of Texas at Austin in December 2010, and her MA in art history from the University of Missouri in 2003. Currently, she’s a librarian in the department of Special Collections and Rare Books at the University of Missouri Libraries, where she focuses on instruction, outreach, and reference. She can be contacted at hansenkb@missouri.edu.


Filed under Archives, Northeastern US, Researcher's Corner