Tag Archives: Indiana University

Be Mindful of How Stressful Interviews Are and Be Compassionate

Diana La Femina earned her MLS from Indiana University in 2007. She specialized in rare books librarianship and recently finished the M.Phil. program in Medieval Language, Literature, and Culture at Trinity College, Dublin. She is currently employed temporarily in an unrelated field and is searching for a professional position. She has been job hunting for more than 18 months, in academic libraries, archives, library vendors/service providers, public libraries, school libraries, special libraries, and

anywhere I think I can use my degree at all.

Ms. La Femina has been looking at the entry level, for positions requiring at least two years of experience, and

whatever I think I can argue being qualified for.

Here is how she describes her internship/volunteering experience:

My internships were fantastic, though I do wish I could have gotten more experience from them. If I could go back and do my degree program all over again, knowing how the job market would change just before December 2007,  I would spend even more time interning and volunteering. I’m trying to get as much volunteer work as I can find now to make up for it now. I just hope my efforts show.

Ms. La Femina is in a suburban area in the Northeastern US, and when asked if she is willing to move, says:

Very willing, but being able to depends on the position. I can’t relocate if the salary for a position won’t support such a move.

She describes herself as a Librarian Extraordinaire, Book Reviewer, and Tea Lover. You can see more about her professional qualifications, as well as her other endeavors, on LinkedIn here.

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

1. Do I meet the qualifications, or can I justify applying for the position if I don’t?

2. Do the qualifications and requirements match the job description and pay? In other words, is there a disconnect between the candidate requested and the position being offered (are they asking for at least five years of experience when the position described is entry level).

3. Can I afford to relocate or exist on the salary listed? Surprisingly, not always.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, LinkedIn, INALJ, various college and university websites, HigherEdJobs.com, various libraries in specific cities, SLA, ACRL…so many places.

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

√ Other: I prefer to, even if it’s a broad range. I’m wary of postings that don’t list a salary range because it’s one of the ways I gauge what an employer wants of me. Especially if the position requires relocation, I need to know the salary range so I can know whether I could take the position if I got it.

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

It depends on the position, the detail in the job description, etc. Usually I’d say a couple of hours, less if I can work on an application without interruption. I just recently spent the better part of a week working on a cover letter that I’ll hopefully be able to use as a base in the future.

First I go through the job ad and pick out the major duties and requirements. Then, I make a list matching these to my experience. How can I show that I have the experience they’re looking for? After doing that and typing up a rough draft, I try to figure out where and how to explain what I can do for the employer and why I’m the best candidate.

I’m not sure if all of this works or not; I haven’t landed anything yet.

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

√ Other: Lied, no; exaggerated, perhaps. I FEEL like I’m exaggerating, but I also have a really hard time telling people how wonderful I am, so I think it’s more me selling myself. There’s a fine line.

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: Tell me ANYTHING you can. It’s a common courtesy. I understand getting a form email when there are many applications, but acknowledgement is only polite and helps me gauge my job search.

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Other: Contact me any way you can. Choose whatever way is easiest for you, so long as you contact me.

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

√ Other: I want to know where I’ll be working, with whom I’ll be working, and what I’ll be doing. Salary details, benefits, and all else can be discussed after we’ve both determined that I’m a good fit for the position. (Again, a basic salary RANGE is important in the beginning, not the salary itself.)

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

List realistic requirements. Don’t set unrealistically-high requirements for an entry-level position. Also, look beyond the requirements and actually READ and LISTEN to the applicants. The best candidate has probably already applied, but it may not be obvious on paper at first glance.

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

Contact candidates. Let them know when you’ve decided they aren’t who you want soon after you decide. Also, interviews are stressful, especially when you’ve been rejected many times or have had a hard time getting an interview. You want to see how good a candidate is, not how nervous they can get. Be mindful of how stressful interviews are and be compassionate. Try to put the interviewee at ease. Give them the chance to shine. And DON’T dismiss a candidate outwardly even if you’ve done so mentally at any point in an interview. It’s extremely rude and you could very well be making a mistake.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

If you’ve figured it out, let me know.

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

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Suburban 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