We count years worked in a library – whether full or part-time – in exactly the same way. It is immaterial whether you worked 5 or 40 hours a week in terms of longevity. In our opinion, you experienced/observed and immersed yourself in the library for every day you worked, no matter how many hours you put in.– Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library
We do count part time work at my academic library. One year for every part time year worked (both for professional and non-professional positions). I know it is different at all institutions, but our online applications do not ask how many hours a candidate worked part time. So in the case of the Twitter question, four years of part time work would equal 2 years of full time work, no matter the hours so you could apply.– Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Eagle Commons Library, University of North Texas Libraries
In house–part time work is almost always pro-rated (20/h/wk–22 yrs–11years exp). However, I look at the whole candidate, and work experience is work experience–the only time it seems to be counted differently is management–and even then, every little bit counts, even life experience. Its really how you package your time working outside of a field. If you feel like you can do the job, and sell yourself through your resume and cover letter to get an interview, than YES! definitely apply. That leap of faith might be the best thing for you and the workplace.– Virginia Roberts, Director, Chippewa Falls Public Library
If I were that applicant, I would go ahead and apply. The burden of deciding whether the experience is enough lies with the interviewer, I think. I’d rather see someone who has worked part-time for that amount of time who has great potential and ideas rather than someone who has worked full-time for that amount of time and doesn’t have those other things. If the rest of your application speaks to the quality of your work and the potential that you have, I wouldn’t worry so much about the exact number of hours and if it qualifies you. Fewer hours than 20 can get iffy, but again, I think that lies with the interviewer and whether the rest of the application is enough to bring the applicant in for an interview.– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library
I would not mind hearing from someone who had been part-time for 2 years, IF they can make a convincing case for having experience. The applicant should specify that a job is part-time or x hours in the week in the resume. In the cover letter, the applicant should explain how their part-time status still makes them meet the basic job requirement of 2 years experience. This could include:
- part-time work included a wide range of experiences, major responsibilities, or major projects making the candidate viable.
- part-time work included a lot of overtime hours.
- other valuable experiences outside of library work such as other relevant non-library jobs, volunteer experience, workshops, formal education that supplement the part-time work. For example, if an applicant had 2 years of part-time retail work and 2 years of post MLS part-time library work, I’d see that as equal to 2 full-time years; retail or hotel/restaurant work is a good customer service training field.Overall – if you are really interested in a job, but lack the basic posted qualifications, PLEASE explain why you think you meet the qualifications or deserve consideration in the cover letter! To blatantly disregard basic requirements without a “pitch” as to why you should be considered makes the employer think you are careless, lack attention to details, or spray-painting your vita everywhere and not motivated for that particular job.– Catherine Alloway, Director, Schlow Centre Region Library
In response to this question, part-time work has indeed counted at every place I have worked, but it is calculated as a full-time equivalency. In other words, if your hypothetical half-time librarian had worked for FOUR years, she would be qualified for the job with the two-year experience requirement.-Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus
When we ask for years of experience, we’re looking for a period of time as opposed to something more like credit hours. If you work part-time for two years, I see nothing wrong with that being two years of experience. It may be a naive assumption on our part, but we assume that you do take at least some of the job home with you, that though you may work twenty hours per week, you are spending more than that amount of time thinking about the job. These candidates can and should apply.– Jacob Berg, Director of Library Services, Trinity Washington University
1) Apply anyway.
2) If we do calculate tightly, and in the public sector we often have to, we allow for “time served” at time of possible appointment, not as of the date of the application, which can be months before the appointment.
3) Other types of “experience” can count toward the minimum, e.g. volunteer or work experience in a closely related field, enrollment in a job-related course that has a substantial hands-on, practicum, internship, or similar component, lots of library professional association activities, etc.
4) Think about the reasons for that 2 year requirement: commitment to the profession, exposure to and experience with a wide variety library-workplace tasks, familiarity with the cycle of librarianship (budgets, grants, programs), which can be different in different types of libraries, special, federal, public (local), academic, etc., bibliographic skill development, etc.
– Laura J. Orr, Law Librarian, Washington County Law Library
When we indicate that a position requires a minimum of 2 years of experience we mean full-time experience, it definitely matters. We don’t consider applicants who don’t meet the minimum requirements. If you worked part-time you should indicate that in your resume and enter the full-time equivalence (FTE) for these positions. If you have unusual experience that doesn’t follow the expected path for the position you have applied for, that you think should be considered but might not be obvious to the committee, make your case in your cover letter.
– Bonnie Smith, Assistant Program Director for Human Resources, University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries
Great question! At our library, there are a couple different things that happen. First, all our applications are first reviewed by City HR. HR interprets all “part-time” work as 20-hrs per week, and so they would disqualify anyone in the example you had given. If the job description lists as a requirement 2 years and the candidate has only part-time experience, s/he would need 4 or more years. Even if the candidate worked part-time at 30-hours per week, it would be safest to have double the experience.
If the candidate makes it through City HR, perhaps because of strengths in other areas/requirements, I do try to account accurately for work experience (15 hours/week vs. 35, etc.) whenever possible.
I think it’s always worth it to apply, especially if the candidate meets or exceeds requirements in other areas. If nothing else, it’s good practice at writing a cover letter, and you never know. I was encouraged in grad school to apply for jobs if I had at least half the requirements; in both of my full-time library jobs, I haven’t met 100% of the listed criteria (I had 2 yrs exp. but part time, good collection development exp. but no management exp., etc.). The important thing would be to be able to show that those duties or tasks are attainable for you, not necessarily that you’ve done every single one.
– Sarah Morrison, Adult Services Librarian, Neill Public Library, Pullman, Washington
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