Tag Archives: library jobs

Job Hunter’s Web Guide: We Here

This is part of our series, Job Hunter’s Web Guide, which profiles online resources for LIS job hunters.

I’m happy to be able to profile the job resources provided by We Here, and not just because I think this will be useful to job hunters. I often hear about employers who have begun EDI work and are trying to reduce the whiteness of their organization. If you are such an organization, here is a place you can post your job that directly supports BIPOC library workers.

What is it?  Please give us your elevator speech!

The We Here Job Member Area is a space exclusively for We Here Members to view jobs sent to us by employers. We require salary and send out new jobs in a newsletter called The Get Money List bi-weekly to members where we also include resources and articles on building wealth. 

When was it started?  Why was it started?

The Get Money List (2020) was launched before the Job Member Area (2022). A lot of discussion in We Here’s private spaces revolves around jobs – job openings, interviewing, resumes, issues with employers, etc. – so we felt the Job Member Area and The Get Money List would be a good resource for We Here members. 

Who runs it?

One We Here Admin posts jobs to the Job Member Area (fulfilling orders) and another Admin compiles the jobs and sends them out to The Get Money List newsletter  bi-weekly. 

Are you “career experts”? What are your qualifications?

We’re definitely not career experts, but the Admins have a wide variety of experience in library and information science. 

Who is your target audience?

We Here private community members. Our private community members identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color who work in libraries or archives in some capacity or are currently enrolled in an educational program for library and information science. We have over 3,500 members across all three of our private platforms who all have access to our Job Member Area. Close to 400 members have signed up to receive The Get Money List. Members are referred by other members, but folks can also email us at us@wehere.space.  

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

For the We Here member casually looking at jobs, The Get Money List is a great way to keep up with jobs sent to us. That way they receive new jobs sent to us straight to their inbox on a bi-weekly basis. We Here members that want to see what’s out there and what’s been sent to us in the past 60 days can go directly to our Job Member Area. 

Does your site provide:

√ Job Listings

√ Articles/literature

√ Links

Do you charge for anything on your site?

We charge employers for jobs they want to appear on the Job Member Area and The Get Money List. 

What are your standards for job listings (e.g., must include salary)?

We absolutely require a minimum starting salary or hourly rate, but also organization name, location, position type, and a link to the full job ad. Optional fields include further explanation of pay (e.g. salary range), apply by date, who to contact with questions, and any additional information that might not be included on the job ad. 

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

We’ll actually ask our members about this in our annual survey going out in January! We’re coming up on our one year anniversary of the Job Member Area, so it’s a great time to see how we’re doing and if folks have found jobs through it. 

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Filed under Job Hunters Web Guide

We provide questions in advance, and sometimes people overthink them

Charlestown, Indiana. Education, Library Services. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Liaison Librarian

Titles hired include: Collections Librarian, Access Services Librarian, Liaison Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Cover letter 

√ CV

√ References 

√ 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:

Have served as a member of hiring committee 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Does not meet basic requirements (eg no library degree or equivalent for positions where this is required) 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

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

We provide questions in advance, and sometimes people overthink them 

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?

Require diversity (gender and position) in hiring committee; accept equivalent foreign degrees 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

 √ Canada 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

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, Academic, Canada, Urban area

We’re a public library. A library card is free. Please have a library card.

A woman in a tan suit holds a book. She wears a surgical mask and gloves.
Librarian Regina reviews books to add to the library collections – the work goes on. By Flickr user Michael Neubert

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Youth Services Librarian

Titles hired include: Library Assistant I for YA

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

√ Other: If a position is of a supervisor/”librarian” level, there may be a committee of admin and/or the position’s supervisor

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

√ Online application 

√ Other: Resume is preferred for PT. Resume and Cover Letter are required for FT.

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

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

County HR posts the position 

Applications are checked by an automated system

Approved applications are made available to Library Admin

Admin then send the applications to the manger for the open position 

Mangers review applications and then call people in for interviews 

Managers then offer the job and establish the start date

New Hires must visit county HR prior to start date to complete onboarding paperwork

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

I place more emphasis on in person interviews as so much of the jobs I’m hiring for is based on personality and how well this person will mesh with our kiddos. When it comes to in person interviews, I look for passion. If an applicant can sit there and tell me about why they love libraries, or RPGs, or books, etc. and they have a desire to share that passion and turn it into something we can use… I’m sold. 

Also, We’re a public library. A library card is free. Please have a library card. It’s not required, but if you have a card, I know you use the library, and that’s a great starting point. For people who are moving to town or new to town, this doesn’t bother me as much, but if you’ve lived here your whole life and you don’t have a card… It feels weird that you then want to work here. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Mentioning religion or politics in an interview. Sometimes these things pop up in a relevant fashion, such as work experience. But I’ve had applicants ask if we could pray together as part of our interview, flat out ask about my politics/religion, or mention that they see this job as a good chance to talk to kids about religion/politics.

We also see a number of applicants that think a teen center at a public library will function akin to a school setting; as this shows a serious lack of understanding about who and what we are, this is another deal breaker. 

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

It’s hypocritical of me given my response to number 9… but an applicant’s political and religious preferences or rather how vocal they will be about those beliefs. Clashing beliefs can really stress coworkers out and alienate patrons. People can hold different beliefs and still work together/with the public, but not if one party is going to be overtly religious or political. 

I’d also like a better idea of how independent and self motivated an applicant is. The positions I hire for really do need to be independent and self motivated, and if an applicant needs their hand held, or needs constant reminding/encouragement it will mess with the workflow and morale of the department. 

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?

Finding that balance between being professional and showing me who you are and why you’re going to be the best fit for the YA team. I’ve had some excellent, very professional interviews that have left me unsure of if the applicant would get along with my other staff, or if the applicant would be able to build a report with the kiddos; ultimately, I haven’t hired those super professional applicants. 

Ideally, the interview will start professionally, but things may become more lax, or I’ll see that spark of passion and we’ll be able to have a more natural and authentic conversation. 

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

Generally, we do not do phone or virtual interviews. I personally will not do them; I will hold off on an interview for up to a week if it means we can meet in person.

Many years ago when we were seeking a new director, the first round of interviews did include some virtual interviews, but that was an exception given the type of position that was open.

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?

This is an excellent question! And I wish I had a better answer for it…

Applicants should know the type of library they’re transitioning towards, and what those types of institutes are like. For example, if you apply to work at a teen center in a public library, you should expect to have to run/assist with after school/school break programming, and not be as focused on homework help or research papers. This advice is best for the interview stage when an applicant can really show off their relevant knowledge and skills. 

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?

Hiring Managers receive no training in avoiding hiring bias. Our online applications do not ask for age/DOB, sex, gender, or ethnicity so there’s that at least… However, there is other information which must be provided and from which assumptions can easily be made, such as name, address, and hs/college graduation dates. 

I personally do seek out training on bias reduction. Although these trainings are not focused on hiring (often customer service) I feel that some of the information can be translated into hiring bias. I also talk to minority staff about issues with our application process (which is beyond my control, but I do pass along feedback) and how the interview process went and what I as a manager can do to help them feel more comfortable. 

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

I’m not sure what questions I feel like applicants SHOULD ask. If it’s information they NEED to know, I feel like I should provide that in job description or in the interview; I’m not here to trick applicants into asking relevant questions.

But some of the BEST questions I’ve been asked: 

What does the training process look like?

Are there any opportunities for any additional (like CE) training?

What are there chances for upward movement within the department? 

What are your COVID safety policies? 

What are your safety protocols and precautions? (in relation to upset patrons)

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Other: We’re the only sizable city for 90miles, but everything around us is rural; it’s created a very unique environment where despite being located in a proper city, our patrons are mostly rural 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Other: I do some virtual programming; while I could run this from home I normally run it from work as I’d rather not use up my home internet data.

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, Public, Southwestern US

Further Questions: When Should Library Students Start Applying?

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.

When Should Library Students Start Applying? Have you interviewed or hired a candidate who is still in school for a librarian position? How early is too early for a student to start applying? Do you take into consideration the particular school a candidate has attended? Has a candidate’s GPA ever affected your decision to hire or interview a candidate?


Jimmie Epling, Director, Darlington County Library System: The answer to this question is relative to your particular library and the local labor market!

Speaking from a public library perspective, especially a small or medium size library in a rural area, it was once rare to have a library school student apply for a job.  If your library is near a library school, you will have students applying for the position to get experience.  An applicant at a small or medium size library with any library training and/or experience was welcomed, with little attention paid to GPA or school. 

The brutal truth is a candidate’s GPA or the “status” of school’s program mean little beyond your first few months in a job.  What matters is the student’s creativity, flexibility, and resourcefulness once hired.  There are graduates from prestigious library schools who are at best an average employee.         

A boon to small and medium size libraries far from a library school has been distance education programs.  There are those who want to attend a library school, but cannot due to their personal and economic situations.  Distance education has made these programs affordable.  A small and medium size library will always be happy to hire a student in what might be thought of as a kind of “work study” arrangement.


Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean of Libraries, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans: Normally, I would say that someone shouldn’t apply until they are in their last semester. However, we have had someone apply and interview in the fall when they are graduating in May. If they are excellent candidates, we may be willing to wait. However, there is something in the back of our minds that this person may keep looking and we might lose them. That would be awful because it’s time-consuming and expensive to do a faculty search. I would say it can’t hurt to start applying. Academic searches take a long time, so you may as well start early. In general, we haven’t taken into consideration a particular school, although there are some schools where there are specialties that we’re interested in for particular positions. We never look at GPA. 


Ellen Mehling, Job Search Advisor/Instructor: Usually, I advise students to start applying the semester before they graduate. The hiring process for academic library positions can often take longer than for other library jobs, so in that case, as long as they’d have the degree by the start date, I’d advise them to apply when they see the job posting. Students should make it very clear in their application documents when they expect to graduate.

I would interview students who did not yet have their degree, as long as they were well-qualified, had compelling, well-written application documents, and would have the MLS by the start date. “Too early” would be if the applicant would not yet have graduated by the start date.

As long as the school they are getting their MLS from is ALA-accredited, I don’t care which one they attend.

The GPA predicts academic success, not success in the workplace, so it shouldn’t factor into a hiring decision.


Celia Rabinowitz, Dean of Mason Library, Keene State College: I think part of the answer about when someone still working on their degree should start applying for jobs depends on a few factors. Does the job ad indicate when the position begins? Is it after you expect to complete your degree? If so, then apply! If not, does it entail changing locations and can you do that if you are still taking classes? And, if you can, do you think you can manage the stress of a new job along with the stress of keeping up with course work? Are there other factors, say for example, having a regular salary and benefits will allow you to manage stress levels so you can finish? So many questions!

I have interviewed candidates who were still in school, usually in the last semester (or the end of the penultimate semester). That’s primarily because we are used to having new library faculty join us in the summer, not mid-year. It might be worth contacting a hiring institution to ask about start date if you think that they will want someone to start before you are able or feel ready. We all know the hiring process can take a while so I’d advise against assuming you know when the start date is if it is not included in the ad.

All of that said, I think applying during the first year of graduate study is probably too early. But looking at ads starting the summer between or early fall of your final year is a good idea, especially for those academic positions that might not even start until the following summer. I usually see the GPA but don’t give it a lot of thought, and I don’t think it is necessary to mention it in a cover letter. Anyone completing the graduate program has met a set of assessment standards which meets my expectations. My interest in the library school is primarily these days about diversity. If you are located near a library school, or two, it is hard to get a pool of applicants with some diversity in the the type of library school education they received which I think is helpful.


Kellee Forkenbrock, Public Services Librarian, North Liberty Community Library: As a current MLIS student (University of Iowa ’23), I love to see students apply for our assistant positions. We hired several students and are able to manage their school schedules with our staffing needs. To that end, we don’t consider GPA or any academic factors in our hiring decisions. During the interview, we ask more pointed questions about their scholastic work and their post-graduate plans. This information gives us an idea as to how they can support library functions, providing g additional expertise that they can add to future resumes.  For us, hiring library students is a win-win.


Alan Smith, Director, Florence County, SC Library System: In general, it depends on the position, the estimated time until graduation, and on the other information in the candidate’s application. Ideally we would see some library work experience in addition to the partial degree. If a candidate had part of an MLS (or even a completed degree) but no library work experience, I would be very careful to make sure they understood what the position entailed, and the realities of working in a public library. 

On the other hand, having an employee currently in school can be very beneficial to the library! In school they are constantly collaborating with others and encountering new ideas about libraries. That can lead to improvements in services, creative ideas for programs, and other positive changes if the library gives the employee some flexibility and freedom.

As for the school attended and GPA, these are not hugely important factors as long as the program is accredited and the GPA is not alarmingly low. It would give me pause if transcripts showed low grades in some technical areas (for example, a Cataloger with low grades specifically in cataloging courses), but I have not been in that situation.

One caveat: students should also know that some employers have specific requirements about hiring professionals with incomplete degrees. For example, our county has a “trainee appointment” status for anyone hired who has not yet met the position’s education requirement. They have a set amount of time to finish the required degree (usually six months to a year) in order to stay in the position. If they do not complete the degree in that time, they could be demoted or out of the job altogether. Just something to keep in mind.


Julie Todaro, Dean, Library Services, Austin Community College:

When Should Library Students Start Applying?

I have a few categories for this answer.

For those working in an organization where they hope to continue to work but as a librarian – you should work with your institution to determine what ARE the next steps or what is the career mobility and how can you plan your graduate degree accordingly. That is, a library may allow you to plan for an internship in their space but at another location OR they may have projects they would LOVE to see – tackled in your class time – that would benefit them…this has you communicating to those in charge that you are making great strides to your ultimate career goal which – you hope – will lead to continuing to work but at a different level. These early discussions allow you to ask when CAN you apply? if that is the process so that you can declare as early as possible.

For those with a goal of working where you are not currently working...asking formally when they take applications….do they offer internships or capstone or service learning opportunities …(giving only educational inroads) so that you can apply for those areas.

For those seeking employment in a completely different setting…you might ask anytime during your master’s program if someone can be your mentor or touchstone during the program. Be specific and outline what this might entail and could include projects to complete, using that person as the working librarian you might need to interview, using them as a reference for a paper you are doing when you need real world application, etc. These activities can be anytime within the master’s but introduce you to either a specific organization as well as a specific type of organization.

Speaking generally, for any applications, I would say when you are immediately ending your second-to-the-last semester or beginning your last…essentially it is when you see “light at the end of the tunnel!” and to do so here are the steps you need to take:

  • What does your target organization need for an active application? a diploma in hand? a transcript in hand? a graduation date? (These could be three different things!)
  • Can you submit an application even though there are no positions open at a given time? How does that process work? 
  • Create a plan for updating your applications as you move along so always ask how CAN you keep your application active. 
  • Identify organizations where there might be hourly or part time or short term positions while you are waiting for a full time position to be advertised.

Oddly – I always tell people to begin their master’s program by looking at the want ads and NOT the recruitment information…and we have a great many to not only visit but subscribe to these days so yes – you need the shiny “you could be here” motivation found in recruitment videos and podcasts, but beginning with the want ads and perusing the master’s programs advertising newsletters (if they are available to you) tells you what those in the field are really looking for so you can begin to design a program that carefully leads you into the profession.

Have you interviewed or hired a candidate who is still in school for a librarian position?  Yes! We have done this, but the interview team does not differentiate this in their questions for applicants for equity in the questions and answers sought. We would; however, – prior to choosing the current student for an interview – answer their questions or broach the issue of when we want this position to start – so that an applicant could see whether or not it is within their timeline to continue in this stage. Many institutions – mine for sure – frequently review open positions to see if something has been open for an inordinate amount of time and I never want to run the risk of having a delay placed on hiring because “I am not moving to fill it so I must not need it!”

How early is too early for a student to start applying? I think if they are in the first half of their program, applying is premature, but interest can be communicated as I explained in earlier answers.

Do you take into consideration the particular school a candidate has attended? Yes, I do as I have worked in library education and understand the concept of specificalizations vs. general offerings..what the different core elements of programs offer, etc. And now – given electronic opportunities – the environment of the internship, mentor opportunities, the capstone, etc. has expanded beyond a specific size city or educational community so students have a great expanded educational setting to choose from. 

Has a candidate’s GPA ever affected your decision to hire or interview a candidate? Frankly, no.but the real question here is do you look at the transcript and if so, what for? I look at starting classes, incompletes, false starts on programs of study but not necessarily negatively …you just have to ask someone how they arrived at a specialization area and then possibly a follow up on a primary field of interest or specialization with a secondary question on what is their “next choice.” A cautionary tale here is the resume that matches the transcript where a career focus is prominently displayed but it doesn’t match the position they are applying for…so an entry level general reference – as a manager/to me – doesn’t seem to be the best match to someone who has in their transcript a preservation focus – for example – with a resume that speaks to their love of conservator work and their ultimate goal of working in a museum as a map librarian. And for more of my opinion for this look at past blog postings on resumes, job applications, etc. for great advice on how to move from a narrowly defined specialization to a more general position to begin or enhance a career.

I do want to add in this posting – although I know it IS getting away from a certain theme of “when” someone should apply – an approach that shows my many years in the profession and is related to “Do I take into account the school someone has attended or more specifically for this column “is attending?” And that approach is – professions have leaders within library education and leaders within the profession-at-large who many students “want to study with” so this is a question in and of itself….Do you give preference or look for a student/applicant who has been mentored by or been a student of a specific library and information leader? My answer to this is absolutely…if I see that an applicant has worked with x or studied under Y or been mentored by x group, and especially if they have a reference from those people I am interested in them. I am also very interested in them because they are likely to have a specific ideology or work ethic or commitment to an EDI infrastructure infused into their learning. In addition, for many years pedagogy was the hallmark of many LS or I programs such as case method study (like business schools) and I knew students had, again – very likely – a more critical thinking approach to problem solving. 


We’d love to hear your thoughts here in the comments, over at Mastodon @hiringlibrarians@glammr.uson Twitter @HiringLib, or written as a New Year’s resolution you immediately break. 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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It might take a librarian with years of experience who comes to my area years to find a position, or they may get stuck in a paraprofessional position

Charles Elliott, Chief Librarian of the Law Society of Upper Canada, 1914-1922. By Flickr user Archives of the Law Society of Ontario

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Supervisor

Titles hired include: Librarian, reference assistant

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application 

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ Supplemental Questions

√ Written Exam

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

I see it through from start to finish for all positions I hire for, including creating job postings, screening applications, and interviewing. I also participate on panels for other positions. Hiring decisions are ultimately mine although HR does a final review that might trump that (to veto our candidate if there is a relevant veterans preference for another candidate, if someone doesn’t pass the background check, etc.)

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

They seem excited about the position and display some understanding of what the position work entails. They’re able to clearly show a link between past experience and the position they are interviewing for. The experience doesn’t have to be the same type but they should be able to draw connections.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Candidates who don’t understand what library work actually is (ex. they say they want to help people find books and don’t demonstrate any other knowledge of library services) 

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?

Not knowing anything about our library or community.

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

Yes. Make sure you check your audio and video before (you’d be surprised how many people have issues). If you join early and are waiting to be admitted, make sure you are ready to go. Don’t walk away, get distracted, etc. 

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?

We all have required anti bias training. We also look at requirements and questions with an equity lens and include BIPOC staff in every interview.

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

Ask us several questions, it almost doesn’t matter what they are! Lots of candidates have no questions—it makes you seem like you aren’t curious, and don’t care about whether the job is a good fit. 

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?

√ 101-200 

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

Could add a question about how the hiring market is in your area. Some candidates are shocked how hard it is where I am. It might take a librarian with years of experience who comes to my area years to find a position, or they may get stuck in a paraprofessional position. Being able to move for a job helps if you are set on a specific type of position.

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, Public, Suburban area, Western US

We are so small and get so few applications that we pretty much interview anyone that looks close

A group of about 50 librarians, in suits
Australian Institute of Librarians’ inaugural meeting at Canberra, August 20, 1937. Photographer A. Collingridge, Canberra. By Flickr user State Library of New South Wales

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Director

Titles hired include: Library assistant, library aide, Assistant Director 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

I post the job, receive the applications, choose who to interview, my assistant director and I interview them, and I decide who to hire with her input 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Not following directions in posting, resumes or cover letters clearly written for a different job posting.

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

How they work with others

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more  

Resume: √ Only One!   

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

Not asking questions of us

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?

Explaining 

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?

Nothing specific. We are so small and get so few applications that we pretty much interview anyone that looks close

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

Show interest in the library and what it does. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Rural 

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, Midwestern US, Public, Rural area

If your cover letter sucks, I’m not putting more energy into your application.

Montford Point Marines Training. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Cataloging and metadata librarian

Titles hired include: Acquisitions associate, Collections Maintenance Supervisor

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR 

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ CV

√ References 

√ Supplemental Questions 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round 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:

I have served on three search/hiring committees since coming to my university. Committees are members of the department in which the hire will work, plus a library HR rep, and usually one (but sometimes more) person outside of the department that the hire will be a part of. The committee does the bulk of the work. Supervisors get a chance to meet candidates, typically in a second interview, but cannot give input on the process. The committee makes their recommendations to the provost, and ultimately the provost decides from the candidates put forth by the hiring committee. 

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

They tailored their cover letter to the position. Cover letter, CV, written follow up question responses were all clear and highly organized. They used these opportunities to showcase their written communication skills. They were professional and open in interviews. They tailored their responses to the position, even if their background didn’t align with the duties of the role they’re applying for. They showed enthusiasm about taking on a new role. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Lack of clear written communication. If your cover letter sucks, I’m not putting more energy into your application. If your written question responses haven’t been edited. Not following basic instructions in the preliminary parts of the application process, even before the interview.  

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more  

Resume: √ Only One!  

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

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

I’ve found people who are too casual are usually not taken seriously. I think this is a more common mistake in the era of zoom interviews (during the pandemic).

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

Yes. Treat it the same as you would an in-person interview. It’s not an excuse to be casual. 

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?

This has happened a lot and I like hiring candidates with different backgrounds! Make sure you find a way to connect your past experience to the job you’re applying for, even if they aren’t similar. There must be some similar aspects or strengths you can carry from your previous work. 

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?

Hiring at my organization is completely blind until the interview stage. We also take a diversity, equity and inclusion course, as well as a course on examining our personal biases before we can join a hiring committee. 

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

I like when candidates ask about the organization as a whole, and also when they ask about how we see the position evolving over time. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ Suburban 

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? 

Apply to things even if you don’t meet all the requirements! As long as you can draw meaningful connections between your past experiences and the job you’re applying for! 

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

Engaging effectively via online video conference is a good way to demonstrate online teaching approaches.

Kathleen Campbell. [University librarian, Montana State University Library]. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Manager

Titles hired include: Liaison Librarian

Learning Advisor

Coordinator, Evidence Based Practice

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ 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 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Written applications from applicants with a statement of claim in response to selection criteria.

Panel of 3-4 including supervisor of role, mix of gender, academic, other library staff reviews written applications and shortlists for interviews. 

The panel interviews candidates and then sorts in order of who closest meets the selection criteria in response to interview questions. 

Referee checks conducted for the preferred candidate. 

If the panel is happy with the reference checks, an offer is made. 

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

Genuine and authentic, confident and well presented through the online interview. Showed high levels of competence in using digital technologies to communicate. Use of varied and detailed examples to supplement responses to interview questions. Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain partnerships, collaborative approaches to work, ability to lead from any position, work independently, manage conflict. Commitment to professional development. Use of a range of strategies for engaging in and contributing to the wider profession. Interest in research and scholarship. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Preference to work solely on campus or face-to-face. 

Lack of demonstrated digital literacy skills

Lack of ability to use professional judgment or work independently 

Lack of interest in working collaboratively 

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

Reports of candidates’ performance apart from nominated referees

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ We don’t ask for this Only One! 

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

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

Engaging effectively via online video conference is a good way to demonstrate online teaching approaches. 

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?

Experience in other professions can be relevant in terms of transferable skills, such as developing relationships, critical thinking, teamwork skills, excellent interpersonal skills, high quality verbal and written communication skills, project management skills, stakeholder management skills, digital technologies skills for communication and content creation, leadership and mentoring qualities. 

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?

Mix of gender in recruitment panel

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

What does success look like in this role? What would success look like in the first 100 days? 

What professional development opportunities are available for staff?

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Australia/New Zealand 

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?

√ 51-100 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 50-100 staff members, Academic, Australia/New Zealand, Rural area

It’s students. If they have work study and can read, they’re eligible for hiring

Manzanar Relocation Center, Manzanar, California. A barrack building has been turned into a library… National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Circulation Supervisor 

Titles hired include: Circulation & Reference Desk Student Worker

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Other: Apply in person

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

If we have an opening, I choose students who are available to work the hours I need filled

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

I had a student who was the only one in her class who showed up for in library study. I liked her honesty and approached her and asked if she wanted a job 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Attitude and being underdressed 

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

If they can count money and knows how to think independently 

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?

Talking too much

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?

N/A

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?

It’s students. If they have work study and can read, they’re eligible for hiring 

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

What can get them fired 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 0-10  

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Academic, Southeastern US, Suburban area

I haven’t had to fill an opening in 5 years so it is hard to recall details

Marilla Waite Freeman. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Head of Borrower Services 

Titles hired include: Library Associate, library assistant, shelver

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ References

√ Written Exam

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Within my department: 

1 post opening

2 phone interview top applicants

3 schedule in person interview with myself and one of my FTE

4 written quiz to test knowledge of dewey decimal and other related skills

5 contact references 

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

I haven’t had to fill an opening in 5 years so it is hard to recall details.  She is still with us, and an excellent employee.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Short one word answers.

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

How well they can problem solve without being micromanaged.

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: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

Short answers. This should be a conversation, not a Q&A quiz.

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?

Customer service relevant.  I’m looking for candidates who can manage the stress of working with the public.  

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?

I’m not sure.

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

Something that shows an interest in the organization, staff they’d be working with,  details of the job, etc. Asking no questions is a red flag.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ 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, Northeastern US, Public, Suburban area