Tag Archives: libraries

Working with Children & Police Clearances or willingness to get them

A female librarian seated at a computer working with PDQ, while a male physician examines a print-out.
Doctor and Librarian Working with PDQ. Bill Branson (Photographer), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Senior Library Assistant

Titles hired include: Library Assistant

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ References 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview 

√ Other: Covid Vaccinations, Working with Children & Police Clearances or willingness to get them

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

HR will screen the applicants that meet qualifications.  2 people from the library will review the remaining applications and select 3/4 to interview.  Panel of 3 will interview the candidates and select 1 for a background check which is done by HR.

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

Positive Attitude

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Negative Attitude 

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?

Don’t answer the question 

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?

find a volunteer role at a library

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?

Decisions are not left to 1 person, both for selecting interview candidates and for hiring decisions. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Australia/New Zealand 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50

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, 10-50 staff members, Australia/New Zealand, Public, Suburban area, Urban area

It’s ok not to ask questions if the candidate feels they have all the info they need.

Story time at Kenilworth Branch. By Flickr user Local History & Archives Hamilton Public Library

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Customer Experience Librarian 

Titles hired include: Home Library Librarian, Marketing Officer, Library Technician, IT Support Officer, Library Assistant, Librarian, Children’s Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

1. Online application with responses along with cover letter and resume. 

2. Interview Round – 2-3 person panel & behavioural questions, + practical exercise if it’s a children’s programs or cataloguing role.

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

Client-focused answers in interview that are recent and off the cuff rather than rehearsed examples. Written applications with persuasive writing that expresses why they want the role. Great interpersonal skills that translate to customer service during interview that are natural and not rehearsed or formal.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Poor/average interpersonal skills in interview. Candidates who aren’t current and not aware of library best practice/other libraries. Candidates that don’t express that they want the job.

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

Why exactly they want the job and how do they think it will be a good fit for them. Short term career goals – Where do they see themselves in 5yrs

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One! 

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 expressing how/if they want the job.  Waffling too much – not keeping focussed on the question. Not working on/ developing their interpersonal and empathy skills.

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

None so far

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?

Seek to gain a work placement, casual work or volunteer in the new library sector. 

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?

For customer service work, sometimes a written application may not be a strength for someone with English as a second language, so they may not make it to the interview round. Our panels are not required to have a mix of genders or an independent panel member from another department.

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

It’s ok not to ask questions if the candidate feels they have all the info they need. It depends on the role and what has been disclosed in the ad and interview. If there are obvious gaps in info and the candidate hasn’t probed the panel – I may think they are either nervous or not that serious about the role.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Australia/New Zealand 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 51-100 

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

Candidates need to be “people people” to work in libraries. Every role is client-focussed whether it’s cataloguing, IT or management. Put people at the centre of all your responses and application.  

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, Australia/New Zealand, Public, Urban area

About a Decade Later: Former Job Hunter Kevin Maloney

Back in 2012/2013 I ran a survey of job hunters (co-authored by Naomi House of INALJ). It had over 500 responses, including 117 people who were at least initially willing to be non-anonymous. In this series, we check in with these respondents to see where they are about a decade later. 

Headshot of Kevin, who is wearing a button down shirt and backpack

Kevin Maloney filled out the original survey in 2013 and his answers appeared as A Failed Application or Interview is Much Less Painful When You Take a Learning Experience Out of It. At the time, he was volunteering at a college library and had been job hunting for somewhere between a year and 18 months.

When I checked in with him recently I learned that he’d had an unexpected career path and is now working outside libraries. He seems to still take a learning perspective, and has continued to grow in his new field. He was kind enough to answer my questions below:

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take to get where you are?

My career path veered far more than I expected. Two years after graduating, I was briefly a weekend manager at a public library, though regrettably that position did not last long. After some five years of searching fruitlessly for a further library position, I briefly took a human resources course at a community college; afterwards I joined a legal transcription firm as an editor and reporter, and now am working with one of the four major banks in Canada as a payment analyst.

Were any parts of your journey completely unexpected?

Practically all of it. It has been an unexpected, uncertain and often difficult professional journey. Quite often I simply ended up giving up on finding anything relevant to my degree, though I would still often go back and try to continue the search.

Looking over your past answers, what pops out at you? Has anything changed? 

The last time, I had mentioned that I felt the secret to being hired is “staying positive and never giving up.” Aside from the fact that I’ve discovered just how hard it can be, I can also say never be afraid to find a position through word of mouth, through the aid of an agency. I have also discovered that informational interviews can be hugely beneficial for narrowing your career path.

Have you had a chance to hire anyone? If so, what was that like?

I have never had the chance to hire anyone, even though, with my brief turn to HR, I would have been more than qualified to do so.

Do you have any advice for job hunters?

Be prepared to endure frustration and disappointment, and do not be afraid to go out of your comfort zone if need be.

Do you have any advice for people who hire LIS folks?

None, other than that us LIS folks are out there and eager for interviews

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

These past ten years were a significant learning experience for me. In part, it forced me to learn to deal with disappointment and adapt to adversity. They also taught me to look for LIS aspects beyond the traditional library setting, and to go out of my comfort zone when searching for a position. Above all else I’d like to say that even now, with my career path having been what it was, I still think my LIS and the learning experience involved were more than worthwhile.

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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

Feel free to take notes in the interview and ask to repeat or go back to other questions if you need more time.

Luther Harris Evans presiding over the Librarian’s Conference. Library of Congress, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library

Title: Public Library Reference manager

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

HR screens candidates and does a first round interview. Next a panel including the potential supervisor interviews the candidate. Sometimes the candidate is recommended for another position, then they’ll have another panel interview.

Titles hired: Reference Associate

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

√ 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

√ More than one round of interviews

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Other: Unsure

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

They had a good attitude about library service.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

No customer service experience. Talking badly about underprivileged people.

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: √ We don’t ask for this

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

Acting disinterested, not asking good questions

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

I have not

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 experience like bartending or barista will always impress me.

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 are the patrons like.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 51-100

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

Feel free to take notes in the interview and ask to repeat or go back to other questions if you need more time.

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 50-100 staff members, Midwestern US, Public, Urban 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.

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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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Filed under Library School Career Center