Tag Archives: Librarian

Are You Looking for Work? A Survey Just for You

Hello!

I hope you are well!

Are you currently looking for work in libraries or another LIS field? Do you have opinions and/or feelings about it? Do you have advice or solidarity to offer other job hunters? Are there things you wish you could tell employers anonymously (or even non-anonymously)?

Sounds like you should take this survey!

The Hiring Librarians’ Survey of Current LIS Job Hunters is designed to collect information for people who hire librarians about what attracts or repels job hunters, what is confusing, and what (if anything) is awesome about the hiring process. It should also let job hunters vent a little (or a lot) and share information and encouragement with other job hunters.

It’s a little longer than my normal surveys, but feel free to skip any questions that don’t sing to you, ok?

As always, I welcome your questions/comments/concerns. Email me or hit me up here or on the socials.

Thanks for reading and responding!

Your Pal,

Emily

Poster showing head and shoulders of woman operating machinery as part of World War II production effort, with text  I've found the job where I fit best! Find your war job in industry, agriculture, business
 I’ve found the job where I fit best! Find your war job in industry, agriculture, business. Boston Public Library, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

We are currently using Teams.

Whitman County rural library branch librarians, circa 1965. Note: names read left to right front to back as subjects appear. Branch librarian and location as follows: Mrs. McKenzie, Almota; Mrs. Shields, Pine City; Mrs. Van Tine, Penewawa; Mrs. Wilbourn, Riparia; Mrs. Holway, Palouse; Mrs. Armstrong, LaCrosse; Mrs. Redman, Library board member; Mrs. Bradley, Elberton; Mrs. Warwick, Tekoa; Miss Bowles, Colfax; and Mr. Hughes, Winona. Names: McKenzie, _, Mrs.; Shields, _, Mrs.; Van Tine, _, Mrs.; Wilbourn, _, Mrs.; Holway, _, Mrs.; Armstrong, _, Mrs.; Redman, _, Mrs.; Bradley, _, Mrs.; Warwick, _, Mrs.; Bowles, _, Miss; Hughes, _, Mr.
Whitman County Rural Library branch librarians, Colfax, Washington, circa 1965. Whitman County Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library  

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Other: Panel recommendations are reviewed by Director 

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Online application 

√ Proof of degree 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Other: Combination.. application is reviewed by County HR for minimum qualifications

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant  

Resume: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant  

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Not speaking to the terms of the question, not looking at our public face… website and social media before interviewing 

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

We are currently using Teams. 

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

Emphasize customer service experience and ability to learn and use software.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Other: Mid Atlantic US

What’s your region like?

√ Other: Large County system serving a diverse County with urban , suburban and rural settings

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 201+  

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not try commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 200+ staff members, Public, Rural area, Suburban area, Urban area

We wouldn’t be interviewing them if we didn’t think they could do the job.

Helsinki School of Economics, library. Photo by Flickr user Aalto University Commons

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Supervisor: Adult & Teen Services

Titles hired include: Librarian, Library Associate 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel 

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc) 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

HR sends me and the interviewing committee (IC) all application packets. IC makes suggestions, but the decisions on who to interview ultimately rest with the department supervisor. After interviews, the interviews are scored, references are called, IC again converses about who to hire, but the decision ultimately rests with Supervisor. 

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

Their genuine enthusiasm. They asked questions about what we do and how they would fit into that. Asked if we would be open to trying new programs we haven’t tried before, and just generally were really excited about what we have to offer and how it would fit with what they have to offer. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Answering phones, interrupting, Saying they wouldn’t help find information they might find objectionable 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ Only One!  

CV: √ We don’t ask for this 

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Dial back their enthusiasm

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

We aren’t currently, but we have. I think that just letting their enthusiasm shine through is so important. They have the interview because we already are convinced of their qualifications. We wouldn’t be interviewing them if we didn’t think they could do the job.  

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

Customer service, both internal and external, is the most important skill in this job. Be thoughtful about the answers to those questions. 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ We only discuss after we’ve made an offer 

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

I *think* the scoring of the interview might possibly do something for this, but I wonder if it really is biased toward folks with more privileged educational opportunities. 

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

What are we doing to help underserved populations in our communities? This is a thing I am always looking for. I wish they would ask what the job is like day-to-day. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 101-200 

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not try commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 100-200 staff members, Midwestern US, Public, Suburban area

Author’s Corner: Guidance for Librarians Transitioning to a New Environment

Welcome back to Author’s Corner! This series features excerpts or guest posts from authors of books about LIS careers. In this installment, we hear from Tina Herman Buck and Sara Duff, who have written a book aimed especially at librarians who are looking for a change (but don’t want to leave libraries all together). Very pertinent to our times!

In this post, Tina and Sara talk about their reasons for writing and then provide an overview of content. I think you will find it interesting! If it inspires you to read more, the citation for their book is:

Buck, T. & Duff, S. (2021). Guidance for librarians transitioning to a new environment. Routledge.


Intro

We set out to write this book because both of us had heard over the years that it was difficult for a librarian to switch library types in their career. We both knew this was a myth, that of course librarians can move between very different libraries, because we had both done it successfully. But we both had experiences that showed us that this belief was widespread. Once we had this idea for the book, we surveyed librarians across the world and discovered that most felt the same way we did, that this myth persisted. We then conducted in-depth interviews with almost two dozen librarians across library types, countries, and positions, and quoted them in our book so you can learn from their insights and experiences too. 

Our goal for this book is to encourage librarians who are thinking about making a change in their careers. It is possible, and your experience is an asset. While our focus is on the librarian thinking about changing library type or making a big change in library size, we think the career tips will help any librarian considering a change.

Chapter 1. A new size or type of library

What does it look like to change to a drastically different library? And why would someone want to? We tackle these questions in our first chapter, sketching out Tina’s career path as an example. She worked in many different library environments and found that each place gave her a different perspective that she took on to her next job.  In this chapter, we outline the differences someone might encounter in types and sizes of libraries, and things, like academic rank, that might be confusing for someone moving into that type of library.

This chapter also discusses our survey results, and how participating librarians felt about moving between types and sizes of libraries, how well skills transfer between positions, and whether librarians should be open to changing library types or sizes.

Chapter 2. Exploring new opportunities

Just the idea of reinventing your career can be a little frightening. But there are nonintimidating ways to get started and see if this is what you want.  You can begin by researching trends in the area you want to move into and reading job advertisements. That will give you a picture of the kind of experience you need, or the best fit for your current experience and background.

Once you have an idea of what you need to learn, or an idea of what area you want to move into, you can begin looking for opportunities in your current position that will steer you toward this new role. This includes things like cross-training in other departments, getting involved in new initiatives at your library, and focusing on various aspects of professional development. 

Chapter 3. Preparing for interviews and promotion

There’s so much going through your head when applying for a job, it can be hard to determine what to include in your application materials, and what to leave behind. When applying to a different type of job, it’s particularly difficult to know what they’re looking for and how they will interpret what you submit. In this chapter, we do a deep dive on the differences between a CV and a Resume (as related to libraries, specifically), and what to expect on your interview day. We include real-life examples from cover letters we’ve written, and a real CV example. 

Chapter 4. Mentorship

Having mentors can be beneficial, particularly when considering or going through a big career change.  We discuss why you might want a mentor and different types of mentoring relationships.  Our interviewees share how mentors impacted their lives and careers. The chapter offers lots of ideas for finding mentors and tips for approaching a potential mentor. 

How about becoming a mentor yourself?  You may be a mentor and a mentee at the same time, for various parts of your career and life. The chapter lists qualities of a good mentor. Finally, the mentorship bubble chart shows a visual representation of your support system. Each reader can evaluate their gaps and consider if mentors could help fill in. 

Chapter 5. Being the New Person

Once you’ve gotten the new job, you have the challenge of being the new person and figuring out your new environment.  We start by looking at your assumptions and expectations – the way things were at your previous institution may not hold true at the new one, even foundational information. Take advantage of being new to ask questions.  

We discuss finding resources to help get oriented. The different job processes and scopes can be especially jarring if you’ve moved to an institution of a significantly different size. We and our interviewees offer ideas for adapting.  We also talk about getting oriented to your new geographic environment if you’ve moved. 

Adapting to a new job can be very tiring, both mentally and physically. We discuss the unsettling phenomenon of “new job brain fog” and how to cope and care for yourself. 

Chapter 6. Looking Inward: Managing Your Emotions

Unexpected emotions can emerge when starting a new job.  Librarians can lose confidence, feel stressed, overwhelmed, or defensive in reaction to suddenly not knowing how to do parts of their job.

We offer tools to help cope, such as the Social Readjustment Rating Scale, emotional differentiation, and culture shock. We discuss the phases of that and what to expect.

You may find that colleagues don’t understand where you’re coming from, literally, if you have transitioned from a different type of library. We’ll talk about contextualizing your past and dealing with assumptions.  

Some librarians experience Impostor Syndrome, where an objectively qualified person has a belief that they aren’t qualified and can’t do the job.  We provide some resources to help.

The insights and shared experiences of our interviewees provide reassurance that many people experience these emotions and come out the other side successfully.

Chapter 7. Publishing, Presenting, and Conferencing

Part of figuring out a new job is learning the expectations and support (both financial and timewise) for activities related to professional research, publishing, and conference-attendance.  We suggest ways to find suitable conferences if you’ve moved to a new part of the profession and/or a new geographic area. 

Doing presentations, like any kind of public speaking, can be intimidating. We discuss ways to deal with stage fright as well as other options if you’re not quite ready to do a full presentation on your own.  

This chapter also covers options for writing and publishing and some ideas for finding a topic for your writing or presentations. 

Finally, why consider doing all this if you don’t have to? Future you may be very grateful. 

Conclusion

In closing, we hope that our book will help people see past their self-imposed limits. There is a wide world of librarianship, and with a little preparation you can make a huge jump. Good luck!


Tina Herman Buck 

is the Department Head for Acquisitions & Collection Services at the University of Central Florida, having formerly been the Electronic Resources Librarian at UCF. She has worked, mostly in technical services, in public libraries of widely varying sizes, a multi-type library cooperative, a very small university and a very large one, in multiple places across the United States.

Sara Duff 

is the Acquisitions & Collection Assessment Librarian at the University of Central Florida. Before coming to UCF, one of the largest universities in the country, she worked as a librarian in a small community college library.

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Your questions for the committee should show that you’ve done research into the institution and that you want more detail than you can glean from the website.

Returning Books to their Places. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Instruction Librarian

Titles hired include: Instruction Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel

√ Employees at the position’s same level (on a panel or otherwise) 

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ CV

√ References 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A whole day of interviews

√ A meal with hiring personnel 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

For our instruction librarian positions, we have a hiring committee with usually 5-6 people, including the head of the dept, 1-2 other dept members, 1-2 faculty members from the position’s liaison depts across the college, and 1-2 library staff from other depts. We conduct as many first-round Zoom interviews as we have well-qualified applicants (anywhere from 3-10 or so), before inviting 2-3 finalists for day-long campus interviews.

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

They could speak about IDE work they had done/wanted to do AND tied this back to the ACRL Framework. It showed a clear understanding of critical pedagogy within a library setting, which we’re always looking for.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Candidates who make comments disparaging students (implying that they’re all lazy, want to get away with plagiarism, etc) are an instant no. 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more  

Resume: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant 

CV: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant 

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Not having substantial, institution-specific questions for the hiring committee. It seems like this should be “interviewing 101,” but I’ve interviewed many candidates who ask a generic question (such as “what do you like about working here?”), and then  don’t have any additional questions prepared. Your questions for the committee should show that you’ve done research into the institution and that you want more detail than you can glean from the website.

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

Our first-round interviews are on Zoom. As with any interview, my main advice would be to limit distractions as much as possible — no noisy kids/pets interrupting if you can help it, make sure your Zoom background (either a virtual background or whatever is actually behind you) is clean and not visually busy, etc. If you’re not familiar with Zoom (or whatever virtual interview tech your institution is using), see if you can get any software downloaded and practice with a friend ahead of time!

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

In the positions I’ve hired for, we look for teaching experience above all else. If you have experience with classroom teaching of ANY sort, emphasize it.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ Other: It’s a separate phone call with HR that occurs between the first and second round interviews — I hate this system, but we don’t have any say in it.

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

Required anti-bias training for search committee members.

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

Librarians at my institution are regular staff — no special “academic” or faculty status. You should ask questions to make sure you have a sense of what this means.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Rural 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50

√ Other: 11-50 *library* staff, but many more staff within the university as a whole.

Is there anything else you’d like to say, either to job hunters or to me, the survey author? 

For academic positions, I think it would be helpful to include a question about librarian status within the institution — TT faculty, NTT faculty, staff, something else? — as well as the implications of that status as it relates to research/service expectations, job security, etc.

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not try commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, Rural area

Library School Career Center: University of North Texas (UNT)

This series is a collaboration with Hack Library School (HLS). HLS is written by library school students. In this series, the students interview their schools to dig deeper into the resources provided for job hunting and career support. We are cross-posting here and on Hack Library School. This post is written by Lauren Bauer, who is the current managing editor for HLS.

By the way, if you are an employer looking to get your job ad out to library schools, Hilary Kraus (who you may also know from Further Questions) has created a very helpful spreadsheet with the best process to reach each of the 63 ALA continually accredited library schools.


This interview is with Anna Motes, who is a Career Coach and supports the students at the College of Information (COI) at UNT Discovery Park.

Anna has an M.S. and a B.S., both in Mathematics, from Texas A&M University in College Station. She comes to UNT with 8 years of experience in the K-12 Education sector, managing an after-school math program. Anna likes helping UNT students because she loves to build relationships with her students, and she is continuously impressed by their hard-work and passion for their education and their futures.

Career Center Information

What does the school do to support students and alumni as they look for jobs?

University of North Texas (UNT) supports students and alumni as they look for jobs through the Career Center and other programs like the Mean Green Mentors Program, the Dr. Yvonne J. Chandler Mentorship Program, and incorporating career readiness material into classes & degree plans. The Career Center provides a full range of services to support undergraduate students, graduate students, and alumni at all points along their career journey, including personalized career and internship advising, access to job and internship postings, career fairs and networking events with employers, workshops on timely career topics, presentations for student organizations, career-focused videos, on-demand resources, and much more.

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

Yes, our Career Coaches are here to help students with their careers! The Career Coach position at UNT requires a master’s degree and two years of experience in student services, counseling, or advising. Each Career Coach’s background is different – I came to UNT after working in industry as an educator, manager, and hiring manager. UNT’s Career Coaches have trained in career counseling theory, and I participate in several professional organizations & communities, learning as much as possible to keep up with today’s ever-changing job world & better help my students.

Does the school have a job board or an email list with job postings?

Yes, Handshake

If so, how can employers get their job listing included?

Register on Handshake & request/get approved to post to UNT students – once a job is posted on Handshake, you can email the posting to the relevant College’s Career Coach & ask that they share it with their students. Each Coach is different in how they get the word out, I will generally share relevant jobs to the Career Center’s website and the College of Information Community page on LinkedIn.

Do you require that a salary be included on job listings?

Handshake requires specifying if an internship/job is paid or unpaid but putting a salary amount is optional.

Are there any other requirements for job listings?

An employer needs to be approved to post to Handshake first, and the job posting will also need to be reviewed & approved by our Career Center team.

Does the school provide any of the following?

General career coaching 

Resume/CV review 

Help writing cover letters

Literature/articles

Interview practice 

Networking events (virtual or in-person)

Other: Career Fairs, Employer Tabling/Informational Events, Major Exploration & Assessments, LinkedIn Tips

Does the school provide any of the following in-person career services?

Appointments

√ Speakers, or programs that present experts

√ Mixers or other networking events

√ Job Fairs

√ Drop-in career center:

  • Mon/Wed 8 am – 12 pm
  • Tue/Thurs 3 pm – 5 pm
  • Fri 1 pm – 5 pm

Does the school provide any of the following online career services?

√ Website with resources

√ Blog: intermittent updates with Career Center news

√ Webinars

√ Podcasts: Get Hired, UNT (on Apple Podcasts) and Hidden Points (on YouTube)

√ Social Media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram

Newsletter: There is a student employment newsletter and some of the Career Coaches write newsletters for specific colleges within the University. So far, there are newsletters for the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, and the two Colleges housed at Discovery Park: the College of Information and the College of Engineering.

What do you think is the best way for students to use career help provided by the school?

Take advantage of Career Services early & often! Don’t wait until you’re about to graduate to get some insight into the process. Meeting with your Career Coach to prepare your application materials, attending Career Fairs, and following up with the companies that you met at the Career Fair are some of the easiest ways to make the job searching process smoother.

May alumni use the school’s career resources?

Yes

Are there any charges for services?

No

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using the school’s career resources?

I have lots of stories about the students that have found positions, but the ones that are nearest & dearest to my heart are the students that I meet with several times and go through the process with them from start to finish. One student that sticks out was an international student that graduated last year – over the course of about 6 months, I met with them to help develop their resume, practice interview skills and good answers, and several other times when the job search was not going well. International students have a deadline for their work authorization, and they might have to leave the country if they don’t find a job before their deadline. My last meeting with this student was 2 weeks before their deadline, and they messaged me the next week that they found a job in their desired field. It’s so meaningful for me when I get to go through the process with my students and share in their success when they find a job!

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

I know the job searching process can be frustrating, but don’t be disheartened or give up! Check out the Career Services at your school, they’re there to help you.

Students’ Career Paths

Can you share any statistics about employment rates after graduation?

We collect graduate’s employment information through our First Destination Survey – our latest published report is from our 2020 graduates (we are still gathering information from our 2021 & 2022 graduates) and can be found here. In the 2020 Report, about 68% of respondents were working (includes full-time jobs, part-time jobs, volunteering, military service, and enrolled in continuing education) and 32% of respondents were seeking employment. According to niche.com, 93% of UNT graduates were employed 2 years after graduation.

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

Many degree programs at UNT require either an internship (this includes student teaching), a practicum, a research project, or a volunteer project, and those Colleges have staff/faculty that approve & track past internship/practicum locations – usually, the Colleges that do not require any of these still recommend that students do an internship/practicum if they can. The Career Center has Internship Specialists & an Employer Services team that reach out to employers to create partnerships, along with the Career Coaches that assist students in their search.

Does the school have a stated approach or policy on helping students to find careers?

UNT’s President has a Career Readiness initiative, which so far has expanded the Career Center staff, created a First-Year Career Readiness course, created a Get Hired Grad resource page (which includes on-demand videos of industry panels), and encouraged faculty & staff to incorporate high-impact learning experiences into courses and extra-curricular opportunities.

Does the school have any relationships with organizations that offer fellowships or other post-graduate opportunities?

UNT partners with Forage and Parker Dewey for internship alternatives: Forage is a virtual work experience program and Parker Dewey is a micro-internship program. The Career Center also partners with several companies on our Employer Advisory Board, which keeps us informed of changing hiring trends and allows us to educate our partners on new recruiting initiatives we have put in place.

Are there any notable graduates?

“Mean” Joe Greene and Dr. Phil McGraw are some notable graduates, along with other alumni that attended but did not graduate like Norah Jones, Pat Boone, Roy Orbison, Thomas Haden Church, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and Anne Rice.

Demographics

How many students in the library school?

There are over 44,000 students enrolled at UNT, approximately 2,400 students in the College of Information, 550 in the Library Science Master’s program, 210 in the Information Science Bachelor’s program, 520 in the Information Science Master’s program, and 100 in the Information Science PhD program.

What degree(s) do you offer?

The College of Information offers several degrees that are related to Library Science, most of these degrees also have different concentration areas like Information Organization, Archival Studies, Law Librarianship, etc. The degree options at the College of Information related to Library Science are a Bachelor of Science in Information Science, Master of Science in Information Science, Master of Science in Library Science, and PhD in Information Science. Students can also earn Graduate Academic Certificates by taking certain classes, like Storytelling or Digital Curation and Data Management. The College of Information has more degree choices in fields like Data Science, Learning Technologies, and Linguistics, and there are over 200 degrees at UNT as a whole.

Is it ALA accredited?

Yes

What are the entrance requirements?

Applicants must apply to both the Toulouse Graduate School (TGS) & the College of Information. Apply to TGS through the statewide ApplyTexas application ($75 application fee), along with official transcripts from every college or university attended. Then applicants need to apply to the Department of Information Science – which requires the department’s application form, a statement of purpose & goals, resume, and 2 letters of recommendation.

The Information Science department has minimum GPA requirements of 3.0 on the last 60 hours of a bachelor’s degree, a 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA, or a 3.5 GPA on a completed master’s degree. Applications that do not meet these requirements will be reviewed on an individual basis. Students who have a lower GPA (2.6 or above) can be considered and may be conditionally admitted to the program or considered through course leveling – take 4 information sciences undergraduate courses at UNT, if As and Bs are earned in those 12 hours, students can then request admission to the MS program.

When was the library school founded?

1939

Where are you?

Southern US

Where is the school located?

Suburban area


This interview was conducted by Ashley Young.

Ashley is a current online MLS student at University of North Texas and works as a Library Supervisor in Special Collections at the University of Houston. Her academic focus is information literacy, digital platforms, management, and academic research initiatives. Ashley hopes to stay in academic librarianship after graduation. Outside of the LIS world she loves being outdoors, fostering kittens, and collecting records. 

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Further Questions: Why is it Taking So Long?

Each week (or thereabouts) I ask a question to a group of people who hire library and LIS workers. If you have a question to ask or if you’d like to be part of the group that answers, shoot me an email at hiringlibrariansATgmail.

What are the different hiring stages at your organization and how long does each typically take? What are the factors that can lengthen the process? At what point in time (if any) should a candidate contact your organization to check the status of an application?


Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean of Libraries, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans: We generally allow a month from the time that we advertise until we sit down as a committee to review applications. There is usually a date by which your application will receive full consideration, so don’t expect to hear before then. We do a full review of applications as a committee, and that usually will take place the week after the closing date. Once we agree on candidates for first round interviews, we put our calendars together to determine when we can interview people in a given week. Depending on schedules, holidays, etc., that could be a week or two in advance. We then contact candidates for that first round and make sure we have questions written for that round of interviews. We conduct those interviews, then meet shortly after that to decide on candidates for the next round. In the case of our most recent search, we had to re-advertise nationally and it got held up, so that meant that we could only notify candidates before the holidays that we would be inviting them for a second round. At that point, we and the dean have to agree on our availability for the second round because those interviews are essentially all day. That may be a week or two in advance, especially since the person will be asked to do a presentation and we want to give them time. In our current process, we are then inviting our top choice to campus so we can meet each other face to face before anyone has to make a final decision. That will depend on availability for travel. So, all told, it could take 3 months or so from start to finish. We’ve done it more quickly over the summer, on a very tight timeline, but the longer timeline is more likely during the school year. With faculty hires, the new hire then has to provide transcripts, written references, and the contract has to be prepared. Academia moves slowly…


Anonymous Federal Librarian: The federal hiring process can be incredibly frustrating and confusing. Most government agencies post their open positions on USA Jobs. Most postings are open for two weeks. It’s after that, where everything gets chaotic with no set timelines. In a perfect process, the job gets posted for two weeks and then closes. A week after that, the hiring manager will get a list of candidates and resumes that have been certified. If a candidate has been certified, they will get a notice from USA Jobs that says they have been referred to the hiring manager.  In my agency, I have about three weeks review resumes with the hiring panel, decide who to interview, complete the interviews, conduct reference checks, and submit my ranked list of candidates.  HR within a week will usually certify my ranked list. Then within a week after that, they will notify the top choice candidate. The top choice will usually have 48 hours to decide. If they decline HR will reach out to the second-choice candidate until there are no candidates left on the hiring list. So, if I submit a list with two names and both turn it down, I either must wait to repost the position, or I can go back and select a candidate that I didn’t rank. Candidates not selected in theory should be notified within a month of the interview that they were not selected, as their status will change in USA Jobs.  That is what is supposed to happen, however that is almost never the reality. I have applied for positions and been notified that I made the certification list and not received an interview, and my status doesn’t change. I have applied for positions where I either turned down the position, withdrew from consideration, or was not selected where my status never changed. I have applied for positions, known who got the job and my status on USA Jobs still says reviewing applications. When I go into my profile in USA Jobs the job I’m currently in and have been for almost two years still lists as “reviewing applications.” A little digging shows I got the job. Yay! In my last hiring action, I was given the cert lists (depending on how the position was posted we may get more than one) and all the candidates turned down the interview on one of the lists. I went back to HR to get more candidates, only to find out the candidates that ended up on that second cert list had their status change in USA Jobs from “not qualified” to “sent to hiring manager” . I blame that on a totally incompetent HR person. I have also applied for multiple government jobs where I didn’t hear anything for months and then after I had accepted another position, the hiring manager reached out to me for an interview. One thing of note is that if you do get an interview and then don’t hear anything, as a hiring manager we aren’t allowed to talk to the candidates about anything regarding the hiring process. The hiring manager isn’t being mean, we are just not allowed to discuss it.  There is an HR contact on each posting and all communication goes to them. If the hiring manager replies at all, they will most likely direct you to the HR person.  It’s painful to me not to respond to candidates and I do want to talk to them, I am just not allowed. The bottom line is the federal hiring process is difficult, and painful, but people can make it through it.

Federal Hiring timeline in a perfect world:

Weeks 1-2 job open for applications

Week 3 candidates are certified and sent to the hiring manager

Weeks 4-6 Hiring manager and hiring panel review resumes, conduct interviews, conduct reference checks, and make a selection.

Week 7 HR reviews and certifies selection

Week 8 top choice candidate is notified.

Week 9 If ranked candidate accepts, they will go through the security clearance process or firm up a start date

Week 10 Candidates not selected will be notified in USA Jobs

Final note, the above timeline almost never happens.


Alan Smith, Director, Florence County, SC Library System: Our hiring process takes longer, and has more steps, than applicants may realize. I expect this is the case for a lot of public sector employers. All things considered, it can be almost a month from the time a position closes to the time a final job offer is made. This is our timeline:

  • Job posting closes: applications are routed to us by the county Human Resources department, which can take a couple of business days.
  • Applications reviewed and candidates contacted for interviews: this can take a week and sometimes more. We use a three-person interview panel, and try to do all the interviews in one block to simplify scheduling. We give the interview candidates a couple of business days to return calls or messages. 
  • Background and reference checks: leading candidates have a background check performed by HR. Sometimes this comes back within a day, but other times the agency has to review paper files and it can take a week or more. 
  • Drug test: the county-required drug test is scheduled only after the background check is returned. Similar to the background check, this can sometimes come back the next day, but can take up to a week depending on how busy the lab is. 
  • Start date: once all of those screenings are clear, we can officially offer the position and set a start date. New employees start every two weeks, and we have to send new hire paperwork to HR before the start date, so if it cuts too close (like getting the drug test results back on a Thursday or Friday before a Monday start date) we may have to push it back two weeks. 

Every once in a while everything aligns perfectly and a new employee starts as soon as I’d like them to. Most of the time, though, it takes longer than we’d like, and certainly longer than the applicants would like! We do tell interviewees that the process can take a while, and we only notify the other interviewees that they weren’t chosen once we have a final offer for someone. This is relevant when the first-choice applicant doesn’t work out and we move on to another candidate. For example, with our timeline above, you might interview on day 5 after the position closes. Another candidate may go through the background check and drug test, but then get a job offer somewhere else and decline our offer on day 20 after closing. We then start over with the next choice. By the time we get to a job offer with them, the other interviewees may have been waiting over a month to hear that they weren’t chosen. 

To be clear, I am not a huge fan of this process. Very often that second-choice interviewee is a great applicant who we want to encourage to re-apply for another position, and it can be demoralizing to wait that long only to be told you didn’t get the job. I know from my own job-hunting experience that the stress and anxiety of waiting for the phone to ring begins the moment the interview is over, even if you know the hiring agency has a long process to go through. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot we can do to speed it up since we are relying on multiple other departments and agencies. 

With all that in mind, it is totally fine for an interviewee to call or email a week (or whenever) after the interview and ask for an update. When that happens I try to be upfront about where we are in the process. On the other hand, if you applied but did not get an interview, there’s not much to gain by contacting us; all we can really say is “we are moving forward with other candidates.” 


Celia Rabinowitz, Dean of Mason Library, Keene State College: Hiring stages on my campus include review of applications, phone interviews, campus interviews, reference calls, recommendation, offer. I have not done a faculty search since 2017 so I don’t know whether we are doing in person interviews or not. My most recent staff search included on-campus interviews but those are also local searches with little to no cost associated with them. Missing from this list is the prework of getting approval to fill the position, writing the ad, and putting a search committee together. Also missing is the time search committee members need to complete assessments in the search portal after each stage before moving to the next. How much time each phase takes really depends, these days, on how large the applicant pool is. A search with 50 candidates will take longer than one with 10. Ads that indicate a date when review of applications will begin are very helpful.

For a library faculty member I always hope the process won’t take more than about 8-10 weeks. Much of this depends on keeping the search committee on track and on the sheer challenge of scheduling people’s time for interviews (search committee members and candidates). Weather (I am looking out my office window at a foot of snow that fell yesterday) can definitely be factor up here in the northeast. Toward the end of the process making an offer, waiting to hear a response, and some negotiations may create delays if you are not the top candidate.

If I am chairing the search (which I do for staff but not faculty) then I always try to tell candidates about how long it should be before they hear something either from me or HR. I also encourage them to get in touch if they have questions. I think candidates should wait until the amount of time has elapsed that I indicated before getting back in touch, at least to ask about the status of the search. If you are not given some sense of when to expect to hear something, ask! I’d give it about two weeks at least after each stage before following up if you can. I also hope that most search committee chairs would be patient with candidates calling after two weeks to ask about status.

As an interesting twist, our university system HR is now offering to read and create a smaller first round pool of candidates, and to create questions and do the phone interviews. I declined the offer last fall when we searched for an ILL coordinator (hourly, benefitted, non-exempt staff position). I think part of the motivation for this is to keep searches on track, perhaps manage searches with large numbers of candidates, and ensure uniformity. I don’t know of anyone who has done this yet on my campus. HR is very helpful in handling communication with candidates who don’t progress at all in a search and for lots of other pieces of the process including onboarding. For now, I still like to read all the applications and manage as much of the process as possible.


Donna Pierce, Library Director, Krum Public Library:

This is so out of my hands that I really don’t think I can answer!  I tell HR that I need a job posted, they post it and send me applications.  Then I interview and tell HR who I want.  Then HR does their background checks.  I follow up to make sure results have been received in a timely manner.  Usually, I make a decision very quickly after interviewing people.  So if they have been interviewed they should know within days that the job has been offered to them.  I don’t think we ever contact people who weren’t offered the job.  But I would say that if you haven’t heard in a couple of weeks to contact the HR department.


We’d love to hear your thoughts here in the comments, over at Mastodon @hiringlibrarians@glammr.uson Twitter @HiringLib, on Post at post.news/hiringlibor discarded on the median of the freeway. If you have a question to ask people who hire library workers, or if you’d like to be part of the group that answers them, shoot me an email at hiringlibrariansATgmail.

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This makes me wonder what you’d say about me/my library in the future.

John J. Daley. Photo by Flickr user Archives of the Law Society of Ontario

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Adult Services Librarian

Titles hired include: Adult Services Librarian, PT Library Technician, PT Library Technician II

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel

√ Employees at the position’s same level (on a panel or otherwise) 

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Online application 

√ References 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes  

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

All of our applications are coordinated through governmentjobs.com. 

1) Initial screening: HR does the initial screening based on the requirements of the position and the application filled out via governmentjobs.com. 

2) Reviewing applications: All librarians have a log in to governmentjobs.com and we evaluate all applicants that passed HR’s initial screening. We then send our top 5 (give or take) applicants to our department head.

3) Department head selects the final list of applicants and schedules a phone interview.

If the job posting is for a PT person in the department, the Dept Head usually has one librarian with her doing the phone interviews and in-person interviews. If the posting is for a librarian-level position, she tries to have all librarians in the department available for phone and in-person interview.

4) After phone interview, hiring committee selects who they want for in-person/Zoom (if they don’t live within a reasonable distance)

5) After in-person interviews, the person is selected.

Our city HR department then takes over again to notify the selected candidate.

Whenever applicants call/visit the library to check in on their application status, we refer them to our City HR. The Library does not respond to these requests.

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

They took the time to look specifically at our library. They made mention of upcoming or recent programs, they read Library Board Minutes, when asked questions about ‘Why do you want to work here’ they had specific reasons for wanting to work at our library. It’s amazing the number of people we interview who I don’t think have even visited our library’s website to learn more about us.

Well thought out and detailed responses. We ask very basic questions relating to customer service and past experiences. Having specific examples is the best. Generic answers are not helpful.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Applicants who speak very negatively about their current or past employer. I understand there’s a reason you want to leave, but you can answer questions without basically trash talking about current/previous jobs. Also, this makes me wonder what you’d say about me/my library in the future.

Being overly negative in general. 

Not having any questions at the end.

What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?

Willingness to learn. Our staff is learning all the time…new resources that come out, staying updated with technology changes, it can be hard to tell if they will actually be comfortable with constantly learning.

If they will be responsive to our community. We don’t have any questions related to this, so this is our fault. But I want to know if a librarian coming in will be looking at our demographics, looking at our community needs assessment and really create programming and services for our specific communities, not just what they are interested in.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more 

CV: √ We don’t ask for this  

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Not having any questions at the end of the interview for the hiring committee. Not researching our library ahead of time if they have never visited.

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

Yes. A microphone that works well and a stable connection to the internet. It is difficult to shine with garbled sound.

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

I already value other types of experience. I think that library staff and librarians should reflect the community and bring a variety of experiences to our library. I would highlight any experience you have working with difficult customers. How you are able to problem-solve. I can teach you how to use our library catalog and how to use our library equipment, it’s harder to teach people how to engage well with residents.

Also, are there any experiences in your personal life you can pull from, if you don’t think you have relevant professional experience? Do you manage budgets for your house? Do you coordinate family/friend outings and experiences? That shows me you can research different offerings, make decisions, and coordinate logistics. 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad 

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

The city recently deleted applicants’ names and names of their colleges from applications so the hiring committee cannot be biased by names or reputation of the college.

My department prefers to hire staff that have previous library experience or students currently in library school and in my opinion, that greatly reduces the number of well-qualified applicants. I have tried to talk with coworkers and managers about that, but there’s only so much I can do when I am not the manager.

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

Ask me if there are any upcoming projects/programs/initiatives that were not in the job description but that this person would be responsible for or expected to be a part of.

Ask me what are the challenges working in this department and this library.

Ask me what advice I would give to the person coming in to this position.

Ask why this current position is vacant.

Ask about management styles.

Ask about the culture of our department. Is it more team-based or individual-based?

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Other: Texas 😛

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 51-100 

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not try commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 50-100 staff members, Public, Suburban area, Urban area

Author’s Corner: How to Thrive as a Library Professional

Welcome back to Author’s Corner! This series features excerpts or guest posts from authors of books about LIS careers. In this installment, we hear from Susanne Markgren and Linda Miles, who have provided a post with detailed information about the content of their book on thriving as a library professional.

Susanne and Linda represent some pretty serious chops in LIS career development. You can see from this post that they’ve got a concrete understanding of both the issues at hand and are able to translate that into practical steps and exercises. They have also generously provided a coupon for a 20% discount, if you are interested in purchasing the book. 

The citation for their book is: 

Markgren, S. & Miles, L. (2019). How to thrive as a library professional: Achieving success and satisfaction. Libraries Unlimited. 

And for more of their insight, they have co-authored two recent chapters in edited books: 

Miles, L. & Markgren, S. (2022). Combating burnout: Positive/transformational leadership and organizational culture. In C. Holm, A. Guimaraes & N. Marcano (Eds.),  Academic librarian burnout: Causes and responses. ACRL Publications.

Miles, L. & Markgren, S. (2023, forthcoming). Taking advantage of opportunities for informal leadership. In B. West & E. Galoozis (Eds.), Thriving as a mid-career librarian: Identity, advocacy, and pathways. ACRL Publications. 


In our book, How to Thrive as a Library Professional: Achieving Success and Satisfaction, we focus on what professional practice means for working librarians—the tasks we do routinely to support our patrons, the realm of influence in which we operate, and “where the rubber hits the road” as theory and action come together in the workplace. Topics include: figuring out where you want to go in your career and how to get there; cultivating multilateral relationships; understanding and successfully navigating organizational culture; developing proactive habits; using narrative and storytelling to define yourself as a professional, to advance your priorities, and to get the work done; employing mindfulness and self-compassion to support well-being and satisfaction; and practicing reflectively with an eye toward continual growth. Each chapter offers discussion, concrete examples, practical advice, exercises, and research, and reflects influence from a variety of fields of study.

Chapter 1: Forging a Path: Career Vision

Excerpt: Developing a vision and taking meaningful steps on the path toward that vision are exercises rooted in commitment and action. Whether you’re a student just beginning to think about your future as a working professional or you’re looking for a new path and wondering if there’s a different position in your future, developing a sense of where you want to go and visualizing a path forward may help you do the best, most energized, and rewarding work of your professional life. This chapter will help you build self-awareness: What do you know about yourself as a professional or professional-to-be? What work is most meaningful for you? As you contemplate these questions, it is important to visualize a destination: Whom will you work with? As a librarian, what constituency will you serve or support? What will you help them accomplish? How will you use your time and energy to reach that destination? What are the first steps on the path that will allow you to cultivate the future you envision?

Topic Discussed: vision, action, and momentum; getting started; “boots on the ground,” or what the work in various library settings looks like; and moving forward with a plan

Selected Exercises:

  • Current Contexts
  • Informational Interviews
  • Future Contexts
  • Future Task/Responsibility Journaling
  • First Steps

Chapter 2: Gathering and Lending Support: Relationships

Excerpt: Relationships can play important and varied roles in librarians’ professional lives. They exist in many forms and at many levels. There are people we work closely with and those we may never meet in person. There are relationships we seek out and those that find us. They all have purpose and meaning. What roles can professional relationships play across a career? How do overlapping and networked relationships help an individual develop professionally, succeed, get ahead, and provide satisfaction and meaning? And what can a librarian do to foster these connections in their own practice?

Topics Discussed: how strong relationships contribute to “flourishing”; the structural view–social networks and social capital; types of supportive working relationships; and positive networking behavior.

Selected Exercises:

  • Relationship Journaling
  • Network Mapping
  • Roles and Types of Support
  • Networking Behaviors Worksheet 

Chapter 3: Getting Your Bearings: Understanding Organizational Culture

Excerpt: When a librarian is newly hired and is entering the workplace for the first time, it is important that they spend some amount of time observing and listening, in order to “decode” the workplace culture. This is an equally valuable exercise for longtime members of the workplace community wishing to “take stock” of an environment to which they may have grown accustomed. What are the collective values in play? How do people behave and talk in the workplace? Where are the tensions and points of convergence? How do individuals, collaborative partners, and teams get work done? How are decisions really made? How is change introduced and implemented? How do you know when to go with the flow and when and how to resist or stand your ground? Every workplace is different, but awareness of some common challenges, a set of questions to help librarians interpret what they observe around them, and profiles of organizational dynamics in action will support those working to cultivate a professional practice in often complex library environments.

Topics Discussed: organizational cultures as complex systems; resistance to change; decoding organizational cultures; the roles of empowerment and engagement

Selected Exercises:

  • Basic Organizational Culture
  • Focusing on What Matters
  • Organizational Empowerment Assessment
  • How Engaged Are You?

Chapter 4: The Choices We Make: Creating Habits for Professional Growth

Excerpt: Habits have the potential to help us focus and stay productive even as the pressures of our jobs seem to increase continually and our responsibilities shift and diversify. In part because automatism can dull awareness, it’s a good idea to periodically review and revise habitual practices and perhaps identify opportunities for developing new positive routines. Remember that habits can help determine the course of our work and careers, so making sure that those we choose to develop are right for us, in our work context and with our priorities and goals, is very important. Consider which habits will support improved focus, productivity, and thinking based on the specifics of your own personality and situation.

Topics Discussed: clearing the decks; habits for focus, time management, and productivity; mindsets and habits of mind; making it stick

Selected Exercises:

  • Habits Checklist
  • Five Steps to Getting Things Done
  • The Eisenhower Matrix
  • Mind Mapping
  • What’s Your Mindset?
  • Six Step Habituation

Chapter 5: Telling our Stories: Using Narrative for Self-Promotion, Professional Development, and Influence

Excerpt: Working in libraries, we are surrounded by stories on the shelves, stories of our patrons and clients, stories of our colleagues, stories of our stakeholders and our leaders, and our own stories—narratives that can help us understand who we are, what we want, and where we are going. Through narrative we create stronger networks while bridging divides and flattening silos. We enhance reality and help contextualize and humanize information and data. We are able to better understand and share our organization’s structure and vision. By taking control of our own storyline, and strategically sharing bits and pieces of it in a variety of situations and for a variety of audiences, we can better control our present, and steer our work and careers toward the future we envision.

Topics Discussed: Structure and elements; storytelling for self-knowledge and self-promotion; storytelling to get the work done

Selected Exercises:

  • Five-Part Narrative
  •  One-Sentence ABT (And-But-Therefore)
  • Let me tell you a story….
  • Professional Biography Outline
  • “You Story” Elevator Speech
  •  STAR Worksheet
  • Write an Opinion Piece

Chapter 6: Finding Your Place: Mindfulness & Self-Compassion

Excerpt: No work environment is perfect, and that dream job may never come to fruition—at least not in the way you imagine it. So what do you do when the frustration creeps in and the position that was supposed to bring energy and fulfillment brings misgivings instead? How do we slow down, assess our state of well-being, and become more aware of what’s going on around us? More aware of how we are responding? How can we cultivate more positivity and better self-esteem? And how can we find energy and satisfaction in our current roles, while minimizing stress. In this chapter, we will explore these questions, and offer ways to enhance confidence, mindfulness, and self-compassion in our professional lives.

Topics Discussed: confidence, mindfulness, self-compassion

Selected exercises:

  • Peaks and Valleys
  • Mindful Meditation – Breathing
  • Self-appreciation
  • Objective and Compassionate Advice to Yourself
  • Gratitude Journal

Chapter 7: Discovering Your True Purpose: Reflective Practice

Excerpt: Reflection involves close scrutiny of one’s own work. Not surprisingly, questioning your own words and actions can be uncomfortable at times. However, through the development of a disciplined, thoughtful, and habitual practice, reflection helps you become more accountable and proactive in decision-making, and can provide agency for shaping your own future. In this final chapter, we will explore the meaning of, and purposes for, reflection in a professional context and offer concrete strategies for using this approach to address day-to-day practices and long-term development. We’ll also consider the role reflection may play in helping you direct and navigate the future course of your career.

Topics Discussed: why take up reflection?, getting started, building reflective habits, reflecting in groups

Selected Exercises:

  • Three-Phase Reflective Process
  • Exploring Reflective Approaches
  • Capture the Context
  • Exploring Practices to Build a Reflective Habit
  • Career Reflection
  • Approaches to Group Reflection

Susanne Markgren

is the director of technical services at Manhattan College in the Bronx, where she oversees acquisitions, electronic resources, cataloging, interlibrary loan, and systems, and serves as the subject librarian for the English department. Prior to this position, she spent eleven years as the digital services librarian at Purchase College, SUNY. She has served on national committees of ACRL, on the executive board of an ACRL chapter, and as the board president of a library consortium. She holds an MLIS from the University of Texas at Austin and an MFA in creative writing from Manhattanville College.

Linda Miles (she/her)

is Assistant Professor, Head of Library Reference, and a liaison librarian for the faculty of early childhood education and the visual and performing arts at Hostos Community College – City University of New York. Before coming to Hostos, Linda served for four years as Public Services and User Experience Librarian at Yeshiva University and she began her career in the library of the Lincoln Center Institute, an arts education organization. Linda is currently Co-Chair of the Community & Junior College Section of ACRL, Immediate Past President of ACRL/NY, and co-convener of a public services special interest group of a regional consortium. She holds an MLS from St. John’s University and a PhD in theatre history and criticism from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Positive energy, evidence of commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, competent about programs and services.

Reader, Reading Room, Mitchell Building. By Flickr user State Library of New South Wales

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Library Services Supervisor

Titles hired include: Librarian I-III, Library Assistant

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

√ A Committee or panel 

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Online application 

√ Resume 

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc) 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

Review applications, select candidates for interviews, conduct interviews, rate candidates, make hiring decision, notify candidates.  

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

Positive energy, evidence of commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, competent about programs and services. Smile, eye contact. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Negativity or hostility. Disparaging colleagues, patrons, or negative comments about people with mental illness or experiencing homelessness. Blaming others in teamwork scenarios.  

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One! 

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more 

CV: √ We don’t ask for this  

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Not making any effort to research the organization or read and understand the job description.

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

No

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

Evidence of professional development and training. Be able to communicate relevant experience in an interview setting, for instance, customer service in other settings is relevant in the library. Improving processes is, too. Developing programs in one setting may have similar components in planning, marketing, and implementation.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad  

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

What is a typical day like, what sorts of tasks would be involved, what is the schedule like, what is workplace culture. How does the position fit in the company organization chart. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Public, Suburban area, Western US