Tag Archives: library school

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. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Library School Career Center

Anything that isn’t generic, something they want to know about this particular job.

Interior of the Aguilar Library, Ave C, ca. 1901. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Curator

Titles hired include: University Archivist, Head of Processing, 1st Year Success Librarian

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

√ CV

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews 

√ A meal with hiring personnel 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No  

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Cover letters that aren’t targeted to the job qualifications. How many pages should each of these documents be?

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

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more 

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

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?

Talk about what they did that was exceptional and related to job description. Don’t make the committee guess whether a certain job experience was relevant. 

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?

EEOO training. Avoid asking questions where candidates might reveal protected categories. 

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

Anything that isn’t generic, something they want to know about this particular job. 

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?

√ 201+ 

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

Please write a targeted cover letter. If I’m hiring for skill/experience A, it doesn’t matter how good you are at skill/experience B. It’s okay to tell me how your expertise in B will enhance your ability to do A but don’t ignore the fact that we want to know if they can do A. 

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

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 200+ staff members, Academic, Southeastern US, Suburban area

Library School Career Center: San José State University

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 best process to reach each of the 63 ALA continually accredited library schools.


This interview is with Kim Dority, iSchool Career Consultant for Students and Alumni. Kim Dority is the founder and president of Dority & Associates, an information strategy and content development company focusing on researching and writing print and online content to help advance client goals. During her career, she has worked in academia, publishing, telecommunications, and the library fields, in for-profit and nonprofit settings, for both established companies and start-ups.

Additional information was also provided by Nicole Purviance, iSchool Director of Marketing and Communications.

Career Center Information

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

From iSchool career advisor Kim Dority to the faculty, administration, student support service advisors, and the students and alumni themselves, all iSchool stakeholders are focused on helping our “LIS professionals in training” graduate with knowledge, applicable skills, and job opportunities.

To that end, the program has developed a multi-pronged approach to sharing LIS career information and insights:

  • The iSchool has created and continues to expand a rich collection of career resources in a broad range of formats, including online career workshops, practitioner-interview podcasts, how-to guides, descriptions of various career pathways, articles, and career checklists, among others, available in the Career Development section on the school’s website. Career-coaching workshops and a career-insights newsletter for students and alumni alternate monthly, focusing on topics ranging from job-search strategies to information interviews to creating LinkedIn profiles and similar “how-to” subjects. In addition, a student career blogger posts weekly insights and information from the student’s point of view.
  • Even before students start the program, once registered for a course they immediately have access to career advisor Kim Dority, who is available to them on an individual basis throughout the program and after they graduate. As students progress through their courses, they may have questions about types of LIS work, potential career paths, emerging opportunities, how to gain professional visibility while in grad school, library culture, job hunting and landing, or even who pays what salaries. These and hundreds of other questions are all part of exploring students’ “best-fit” options, and they are encouraged to reach out at any point to brainstorm answers that work for them.
  • Career advisor Kim Dority also regularly presents LIS career-related insights as a guest speaker in various courses and alerts faculty to new career materials of potential value to their students, especially practitioner interviews. The goal is to integrate real-world insights from those in the field with scholarship and theory, so that students regularly have an opportunity to see how various types of knowledge translate into actual LIS jobs.
  • All students are encouraged to join at least one LIS professional organization and if possible, to take a leadership role in the association student group. The iSchool pays for each student’s membership in one LIS association, and students are encouraged to actively engage with fellow members locally and nationally to help broaden their professional networks (and the job opportunities that come with them). In addition, the iSchool is currently in the process of creating a career-mentoring program led by career advisor Kim Dority for all students in school chapter leadership roles.
  • Recognizing the importance of professional-level internships for student success, the iSchool has developed and maintains a robust and ever-expanding database of internship opportunities, both in-person and remote, that reflect the broad range of information work and employers open to LIS professionals. In addition to the internship database (and in recognition of students’ time constraints) several articles in the Career Development section deal with how to make the most of internships, the benefits of internships, and ways to find time for internships.
  • Students who are or will be job-hunting have access to Handshake, San Jose State University’s job-listing platform where employers post jobs of interest to both students and alumni. In addition, the program’s liaison with the campus Career Center works regularly with iSchool students on perfecting their resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and cover letters. Through the main Career Center, our students can also practice their interviewing skills, complete self-assessments, and learn additional job-search strategies.

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

Yes. Career Advisor Kim Dority is the author of Rethinking Information Work and creator of an MLIS course, “Alternative LIS Careers,” which she taught for 20 years. An independent information professional, Kim has been advising LIS students and career transitioners regarding how to find or create “best fit” work in all types of information environments for decades in addition to the client-based information work she does via her company, Dority & Associates, Inc. (See her interview with Hiring Librarians here.) Carrie McKnight, SJSU Career Center liaison for the iSchool, is an expert career development practitioner with over twenty years of experience in counseling, training, and teaching.

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

The school provides multiple channels for letting students/alumni know about job postings. The primary job-listing platform is Handshake. New job postings are also noted via the various student-outreach communications (e.g., career newsletter, student career blog, weekly student alerts, etc.) based on newly posted Handshake jobs of interest.

In addition, the Career Development site has an entire section devoted to Job Search and Agencies, including Job Listing Sites and Resources (which identifies dozens of general and specialized LIS job sites) and Placement Agencies.

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

Handshake has information for employers posting job openings here.

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

Although not required previously, California state law SB 1162 stipulates that any employer with at least 15 employees must include the salary or hourly wage range in all job postings. This requirement takes effect January 1, 2023.

Are there any other requirements for job listings?

No.

Does the school provide any of the following:

General career coaching – Yes. Kim Dority is available to all students and alumni for individual career advising on all aspects of LIS careers.

Resume/CV review – Yes. The iSchool Career Development website has information and examples for effective resumes, CVs and cover letters. Both Carrie McKnight and Kim Dority are available to critique final draft versions of each of these documents and provide detailed feedback to students.

Help writing cover letters – Yes. The iSchool Career Development website has information and examples for effective resumes, CVs and cover letters. Both Carrie McKnight and Kim Dority are available to critique final draft versions of each of these documents and provide detailed feedback to students.

Literature/articles – Yes. The iSchool Career Development website provides links to many relevant articles, job sites, blog posts, and journals. In addition, the career newsletter often includes reviews of relevant LIS career books.

Interview practice – Yes. Big Interview, which enables students to practice and perfect their interview skills, is available through the SJSU Career Center.

Networking events (virtual or in-person) – Yes. Because the iSchool understands the critical role networking plays in career development, it provides numerous opportunities for networking:

  • Student chapters: All new MLIS students receive a complimentary one-year membership in their preferred professional association, including the American Library Association, Special Libraries Association, American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T), and ARMA International. Students also benefit from the opportunity to participate in the iSchool’s active professional association student chapters. Students interact with their peers and professional leaders through virtual networking events, workshops, and conferences, as well as blogs and online discussion forums. Our student chapters have won numerous awards recognizing their excellence and their innovative approach to serving online students, including the 2009 and 2010 ALA, the 2012 ASIS&T, and the (multiple years) SLA Student Chapter of the Year. 
  • Professional conferences: The iSchool participates in professional conferences and meetings held all over the U.S., Canada, and internationally. We host networking receptions at many conferences, and our students and alumni are always welcomed. It’s a great way to reconnect with colleagues and make new contacts.
  • Internships: Student interns gain real-world experience for building their resumes and make new contacts with potential future employers. iSchool students have the option to complete an onsite internship located near their home or a virtual internship, where they interact with a host organization that may be located nearby or across the continent. Our expansive internship program gives students the opportunity to engage in exciting learning opportunities that fit their career aspirations, regardless of where they live. The iSchool offers more than 200 virtual and physical internship opportunities each semester.
  • Career podcasts: Our practitioner podcasts feature information professionals and hiring managers from a variety of professional settings. They discuss their work, the skills and experiences required to pursue a similar career pathway, and recruitment opportunities. If students have questions, they are often able to contact speakers directly by email and phone.
  • Student assistantships: Many iSchool students work as student assistants with the program, helping faculty and staff while gaining hands-on experience with research and professional projects. Student assistantship opportunities vary each semester. Student assistantships are paid part-time positions.

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

Appointments: Yes. Individual appointments with Career Advisor Kim Dority and/or Career Center liaison Carrie McKnight via phone, Zoom, or email are available upon request.

Speakers, or programs that present experts: Yes. Students hear from LIS professionals via iSchool podcast interviews and occasional career newsletter and student career blog interviews.

Mixers or other networking events: Yes. Many iSchool student chapters host virtual social gatherings/mixers. In addition, the program also hosts networking receptions at professional conferences where current students can mingle with alumni, faculty, and friends of the iSchool.

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

Website with resources: Yes. The Career Development section of the iSchool website comprises hundreds of resources within the broad categories of career direction, networking, job search and agencies, social media for the job search, resumes, CVs, and cover letters, career e-portfolios for landing a job, and interviewing, among others.

Blog (if so, how often is it updated): Yes. The iSchool hosts a weekly student career blog, written by a current program student.

Webinars: Yes. The iSchool offers archived presentations on career strategy and tactics as well as online workshops on career topics with Career Advisor Kim Dority.

Podcasts: Yes. The iSchool hosts an ongoing series of practitioner interviews.

Social Media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook

Newsletter: Kim Dority writes a career newsletter every other month that is distributed to all students.

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

The iSchool recommends that students use its career development resources and services “early and often.” By that it means that students should think about and focus on their professional career paths throughout their time in the graduate program. It’s important not to wait until they’re ready to graduate. Instead, the iSchool encourages students to get started in their first semester by exploring the career development site, and using the tools to help determine how their course choices can help them pursue their future career ambitions. Learn how to conduct informational interviews and to network while they are in school. Take advantage of opportunities to increase their understanding of traditional and non-traditional work settings where they can use skills learned in their courses. The iSchool encourages students to use the resources and to contact the Career Advisor Kim Dority if they need help, have questions, or just want to learn more about the possible career paths open to iSchool graduates. We want students to be successful!

May alumni use the school’s career resources?

Alumni may freely use all of the resources publicly available on the website and the career advising provided by Career Advisor Kim Dority.

Are there any charges for services?

The iSchool Career Development resources, all archived podcasts and recordings of career workshops are freely available on the website. The Handshake database and individual career consulting and materials review is free to iSchool students and alumni.

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

We receive emails from alumni who credit our career resources for helping them land professional jobs. Our students are also very enthusiastic about our career development web pages. Here are a few quotes from students:

“This site is so incredible!”

“This is by far one of the best, if not the best, resources for students that I have seen.”

“I would recommend to anyone in need of career advice, not just iSchool students.”

“The information is tailored to the iSchool making it a one stop guide.”

The iSchool publishes Community Profiles and Career Spotlights about working alumni.

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

In addition to our career development resources, the iSchool curriculum is constantly evaluated and updated to align with today’s job market and emerging trends in the library and information science field. As a graduate put it, “I entered the job market with usable skills.”

It’s also very important for students to think broadly and keep an open mind when job searching. The MLIS skillset is transferable to a wide range of organizations and industries. iSchool graduates work at medical facilities, law firms, public libraries, academic libraries, high-tech companies, schools, and more. Their business cards carry titles such as Information Architect, Usability Analyst, Librarian, and User Experience Designer – just to name a few exciting job titles.

Students’ Career Paths

Can you share any statistics about employment rates after graduation?

Yes! See here.

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

While internships are not required, the iSchool strongly encourages all students to take advantage of their time in the program by registering for one (or more) of the approximately 200 physical and virtual internships offered each semester. Even if students are currently working in an information center or library, doing an internship in a different work environment provides them with new experience and information – and allows them to “test” or “practice” working in a new environment without much risk. Many graduates have stated that internships were the most valuable part of their master’s education because internships lead to expanded professional networks and also often provide the critical lead to that first job.

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

Our approach is to provide excellent career resources and services to our students, and to encourage students to take advantage of those resources “early and often” during their graduate program.

Believing it is an integral part of the iSchool’s mission to provide relevant and comprehensive career resources, the program supports these resources by assigning faculty and staff to develop and maintain them. While the faculty and staff strongly encourage students to make use of the iSchool’s career resources and services, it is a student’s individual choice to do so.

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

Not at this time.

Demographics

How many students in the library school? 

We average about 2,000 active MLIS students per semester.

What degree(s) do you offer? 

See here

Is it ALA accredited? 

Yes

What are the entrance requirements? 

For the MLIS program, see here.

When was the library school founded? 

See here

Where are you?

As part of San Jose State University, the iSchool is physically located in California (Western US), but the online program is offered nationally and internationally.

Anything else you’d like to share?

All of the iSchool’s resources are focused on supporting online students, including its career counseling, academic advising, and technology support team.

iSchool instructors use emerging technology in their courses to enrich student learning in an engaging and interactive online environment. They exchange ideas and perspectives with students via live web conferences, recorded audio lectures, screencasts, emails, online discussion forums, blogs, Zoom meet-ups, instant messaging, and social networks. The multimedia format enlivens the learning experience while introducing students to the same types of tools they’ll use in their future careers.


This interview was conducted by Lauren Bauer, a current MLIS student at SJSU and the Managing Editor of Hack Library School. Lauren Bauer is a lifelong Los Angeleno and is in the all-online MLIS program at San José State University. She works with circulation, ILL, and course reserves at a community college library, and hopes to stay in the academic library world after graduation. Her academic focus is on instruction, information literacy, student worker management, resource sharing, and cataloging. Previously she worked as a page and public library assistant, wrote and edited for the LA Zoo magazine and website, and loaned people her corkscrew as an usher at the Hollywood Bowl. She likes Star Wars and indoor cycling, plays trombone in the Lancaster Community Orchestra, and posts rarely and mostly about movies on Twitter at @darthbookworm3.

Leave a comment

Filed under Library School Career Center

Hiring Better: Reaching Out to iSchools

Hello!

Do you have an open position? Would you like to be able to get the word out to new grads, current students, and iSchool alumni?

Do I have the resource for you!

Hilary Kraus (who you may know as an occasional respondent on the Further Questions series) has created a wonderful spreadsheet that lists the ALA accredited library schools, their career center or job posting site, and notes about requirements, alternatives, etc.

The Posting Jobs via iSchools spreadsheet is here.

I think Hilary did a great job putting it together and it seems like it could be very helpful.

Your Friend and Colleague,

Emily

Leave a comment

Filed under News and Administration

Library School Career Center: University of Iowa

I’m super excited to reintroduce this series, which 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 first post in the return to this series is written by Kellee Forkenbrock, who you may know from Further Questions.

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 best process to reach each of the 63 ALA continually accredited library schools.


This interview is with Duncan Stewart, Rare Materials & Monograph Cataloging Librarian at the University of Iowa School of Library & Information Science (SLIS). Duncan is also the University Libraries liaison librarian for SLIS, and a special collections cataloger in the Department of Cataloging and Metadata.  As SLIS liaison Stewart is responsible for Library and Information and Museum Studies collection management and coordinates the UI Libraries-SLIS student mentoring program matching library science students with working academic librarians. He also assists LISSO with resume coaching, mock interviews, and occasional presentations. He earned his MLS at Indiana University – Bloomington.

Career Center Information

Who staffs the career center?  Please talk a little about how it is managed and run.

While the University’s career resources aren’t specific to the SLIS program, my colleague Katie McCullough serves as the main contact for library students seeking support services. In addition to Katie’s expertise, students can connect with their SLIS liaison and the Library and Information Science Student Organization (LISSO) for additional assistance.

Does the career center provide any of the following:

√ Job Listings   √ Resume/CV Review   √ Help Writing Cover Letters   

√ Interview Practice  √ Mentorship Program

√  Other (Please Specify): Sponsorship opportunities are available to students who wish to attend professional library conferences, including the Iowa Library Association’s (ILA) annual meeting.

Do the career center provide online services?

√ Website with resources   √ Webinars  √ Twitter: @UIowaSLIS   √ LinkedIn  √ Facebook: @SLISUIowa

What do you think is the best way for students to use the career center?

Our mentorship program is the best way to get hands-on experience and on-the-job perspective about career solutions.

May alumni use career center resources?

We offer a variety of services for the SLIS alumni, including online spotlights, informational webinars, and networking events.

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

I’ve already mentioned that SLIS students should take full advantage of the mentorship program but connecting with LISSO is another recommendation. Professional library organizations like ALA also have student chapters that can help students find a career path in librarianship. Above all, always keep learning from others in your program. Seeking out advice is a better indicator that you are a self-starter than anything else.

Students’ Career Paths

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

Our practicum program is facilitated by Kara Logsdon, a lecturer with over three decades of library experience – including 21 years as a public librarian. In addition to the SLIS courses she teaches, Kara connects our students with partners and organizations seeking to bring any form of library practice into their workflow. It’s a worthwhile gift of experience that aligns with the SLIS model.

Are there any notable graduates?

I have a few students I’d like to highlight. Andrea Martin is my former student doing contract cataloging of rare materials at Loras, She starts a paraprofessional job as rare materials cataloger at Yale’s Beinicke Library in January 2023. Also, four of my former students work here at UI Libraries: Jennifer Bradshaw (Metadata Librarian), Bethany Kluender (Rare Materials Cataloger), Damien Ihrig (Curator of the John Martin Rare Books Room), and Lauren Claeys (Cataloging Assistant).

Demographics

How many students in the library school?

We have approximately 60 students in the SLIS program.

What degree(s) do you offer?

We offer a Master’s certificate in LIS, which can be used in a joint program with either a Master of Fine Arts in the Center for the Book or with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) with the College of Law. We also offer a Teacher Librarian MA program as well as several certification options, including Special Collections, Public Digital Humanities, Informatics, School Media, and Book Studies.

Is it ALA accredited?

Our LIS program is ALA accredited.

What are the entrance requirements?

Please see this site for our most current admission requirements for our Graduate College and this site for our most current requirements for our MLIS degree.

When was the library school founded?

The first SLIS class of students started in September 1967. Please see this site for the complete history of our SLIS program.

Where are you? Where is the school located?

√ Midwestern US

√ suburban area


This interview was conducted by Kellee Forkenbrock, who is a second year Master of Library Science/Public Digital Humanities Certification student at University of Iowa’s School of Library and Information Science. She is a Contributing Writer and Community Manager for Hack Library School as well as an author and wellness blogger under the pseudonym Eliza David. Learn more about Kellee through her blog, by connecting with her on LinkedIn, or by following her on Twitter @elizadwrites.

Leave a comment

Filed under Library School Career Center

Speaking about past experience is important, but it’s even more important to address the job you’re applying for.

Photograph of James B. Rhoads and Pavel Podlesnyy, USSR (The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) Embassy Librarian Presenting Vol. 15 USSR Foreign Policy to NARS, 7/31/1970. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: University Archivist

Titles hired include: Librarian, Library clerk, student employee

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

√ Resume

√ CV

√ References

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A meal with hiring personnel

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

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

For open librarian positions the position information is sent to Academic Affairs and then approved by the Board of Governors to be filled. Then a hiring committee of two librarians and an outside faculty member is formed. This hiring committee reviews applicants and selects at least two to interview. Initial interviews are completed online. Second/third interviews are usually conducted over a full day, with separate interviews with the hiring committee, HR, Academic Affairs and potential colleagues in the library. This process includes a meal with the hiring committee and a tour of the library and parts of campus. The hiring committee then reviews the applicants with recommendations from HR and Academic Affairs. An applicant is selected and 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?

They studied the library and our unique needs in advance! They also explained their job in their current library very well, so that the non-library faculty member understood by the end.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Not addressing the activities of the job they applied for with any competence. 

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

How knowledgeable they are about the job they applied for.

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?

They forget to ask questions about the job or about the people interviewing them.

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

Yes, I’ve done a few. Be sure you’re in a quiet location with a good background. Be passionate about the job you’re applying for.

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?

Research well in advance of your interview so that you are able to competently explain what you bring to the job you’re applying for. Speaking about past experience is important, but it’s even more important to address the job you’re applying for. With public academic libraries applicants can often get an idea of what salaries are like through the state. Researching the organization you’re applying for, is important, as is researching the library/library job you’re applying for.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the information provided at the interview 

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

Only the names of applicants are known until they are called for interviews. This doesn’t help with possible name discrimination, or work history discrimination.

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 you looking for most in an applicant for this job? How does the work in the library overlap? 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban

√ Rural 

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.

Leave a comment

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

Have a glass of temperate beverage nearby for when you inevitably have a coughing fit.

American Library Association – Library Personnel – Miss Anne Mulhern, Librarian, Base Hospital, Camp Cody, N.M., National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Associate Professor & Other Really Identifiable Stuff

Titles hired include: Liaison Librarian, Resident Librarian, Department Head, Associate Dean (Different academic levels from Instructor to Professor)

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Cover letter

√ CV

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A whole day of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Job ad is usually developed by hiring dept. Admin forms a committee, I’ve served on committees and chaired them. We do phone interviews and then a full day interview for faculty lines that usually includes a teaching presentation.  Everyone who participates in the interview gives de-identified feedback

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

They were *prepared* for the interview. Had looked at us and demonstrated interest in what our library was doing (went beyond giant campus initiatives). Had thoughtful questions for the people they met with. Actually responded to the questions we asked and the presentation prompt. Had actually considered what research would look like (part of our responsibilities) . 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Entitlement / I’m just using this job to something better / you “owe” me this job ; PhDs condescending to work in the library as a backup “because it’s easy”;   Complete disinterest in doing research on a tenure-track line; Shows complete lack of curiosity about the people they would be working with; Openly sexist or racist statements ; 

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

Who is going to turn out to be incredibly lazy or a raging asshole. For anyone in management: who is going to gaslight me 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more 

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?

They haven’t prepared questions they can ask all day.  General questions (what do you enjoy, what would you like to change, goals for next six months, how do you celebrate successes?) show interest in *us* and something more than the job responsibilities. If you’ve reached the in person interview I want to know that you’re at least interested in working *with me*

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

Yes — though I anticipate we’ll go back to in-person for full day interviews in the future.  *please* put your camera at a flattering angle so we aren’t looking at your forehead or up your nose.  Have a glass of temperate beverage nearby for when you inevitably have a coughing fit.  

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?

Give clear and specific correlative examples using library language.  You want to join this field, learn some of the jargon and translate it for us.  We’re tired and busy and don’t want to guess if you’ve had experience.  It’s the same for any profession — show us that you want to be engaged in our work — not some mythical idea of what a library is or what academic librarians do. 

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 have training for the search committee. We have rubrics to evaluate the candidates.  We try to broadly recruit. I don’t have a problem with us requiring the MLS but I know it’s seen as exclusionary (too often when it’s not the MLS it’s A PhD and that’s not inclusive). Adding minimum salary in job ads has helped a lot too.  What ranks people get hired at and a weird preference for extremely underwhelming white guys still tends to be common 

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

How would you like to see the organization grow in the next five years? How might you and I collaborate? What’s something you’re proud of?  — they need to be aware that we are an under-resourced minority serving institution and we’re extremely proud of our students.  We want you to truly want to work with them and also to care about us as colleagues. If the only thing you can come up with “oh you’re in geographic location” or “Oh you’re a Size of College” (both of which I’ve heard for leadership roles)…. nah 

Additional Demographics

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions  

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

I didn’t give you all of the demographic information because there’s really only a few institutions that meet all of those and you’ve not been clear how you’ll de-identify responses.  

Job hunting is awful right now but also exciting. I’ve just talked two different people through negotiating for higher pay as they accepted new offers and it’s exciting.  

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

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Academic

Further Questions: Should people who don’t meet all the job qualifications still apply?

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.

There is a statistic from a 2014 Hewlett Packard internal report, quoted in the book Lean In and many other places, that says women don’t apply to jobs unless they meet 100% of the criteria, whereas men will apply if they meet about 60%. This week’s question is:

Should people who don’t meet all the job qualifications still apply? What is your advice for a hypothetical job seeker, looking at one of your organization’s job listings, on parsing the listed requirements? Are any safe to ignore, or to think of in “creative” ways? Bonus question: any stories about people getting jobs when they did not meet all the qualifications?


Ellen Mehling, Job Search Advisor/Instructor and Brooklyn Public Library’s Job Information Resource Librarian: First I would pay attention to the job requirements vs. the preferences in the job posting. Don’t think that every job description is just the “wish list” you want it to be – the employer may be 100% serious that each of the requirements is, you know, required. If you meet most (like 80-90% or more) of the requirements, I would go for it. You might not get an interview if the missing requirement(s) are crucial to the position, and it may be a harder sell if you do get an interview. Emphasize what you do have to offer, based on the job posting, and include any additional skills you have that are relevant to the job; they may help you to get an interview. If you are a quick learner and enjoy acquiring new skills I would include that info too.

What you definitely should not do is lie and say, or imply, that you meet all the requirements if you don’t. Employers don’t want employees they can’t trust.


Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College: I wouldn’t recommend applying for any job for which you don’t have the required qualifications. It just wastes everyone’s time. 

Desired qualifications are a different matter. You can be hired without any of them, although you are less likely to make it to the interview stage in a strong pool of candidates. Be aware that if the employer puts them in the ad, they’re part of the job, and you should be prepared to address how you would gain those skills.  

It’s been my impression that men do tend to overmatch while woman undermatch, although it’s by no means universal. I don’t know if it’s socialization, economics, or something else. For my part, I value job security very highly and wouldn’t take the risk of moving my family for a job I wasn’t confident I could do well.  


Kathryn Levenson, Librarian, Piedmont High School: If you think there is a chance you might get the job, why not try?

I cannot even count how many resumes I have put out into the world over the years. I tailor each resume to the job. I look for keywords in the announcement and use those in the application or resume.

I have a document I can cut and paste my skills from into the application or resume.

List all your skills: sales, logistics, accounting with examples of what you did, what kinds of software you can use, language skills, etc. But, only pick the skills relevant to the job listing to add there. If you are applying to be a library assistant, any jobs where you worked with children would be relevant. If you speak Spanish or other languages, that would be helpful in school settings. 

Learn something about restorative justice and conflict resolution, even if it is reading some articles on these subjects.


Amy Tureen (she/her/hers), Head, Library Liaison Program, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas: Absolutely! In a perfect world, organizations would be intentional and honest about the true “requirements” for a position. These are things the selected candidate must have, day one, to be successful in the role and do not include skill sets that can be learned on the job without causing harm to the organization. For example, in my department (subject liaisons), we have reduced our required qualifications to two in almost every case: 1) an earned Master’s Degree in library or information science from an American Library Association accredited program by the date of appointment and 2) competence and sensitivity in working with individuals who are highly diverse regarding many facets of identity, including but not limited to gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, ability, income, level of educational attainment, and religion. Anything else we can teach you. Sadly, we have yet to achieve universal perfection, so ads are often rife with “requirements” that are really preferences. As such, candidates should never view requirement lists as truly black and white.


Hilary Kraus, Research Services Librarian, UConn Library: Speaking from my experience in academic libraries, rules about required qualifications can be strict. This is especially true at public institutions. Hiring committees frequently use a matrix of the required and preferred qualifications from the job ad, confirming which of these each candidate meets based on their application materials. In these circumstances, required qualifications are typically deal-breakers. Anyone who doesn’t meet those cannot be interviewed.

The matrix is a great tool for reducing bias and encouraging objectivity in the search process. That said, it lacks flexibility. As a candidate, it’s your responsibility to find a way to demonstrate that you meet, in some capacity, all the required qualifications. In your cover letter and resume/CV, make this as clear as possible so it’s easy for the hiring committee to check those boxes. If your experience is more adjacent than exact, explain why what you know or have done is a sufficient match to that item in the job ad. And of course, you should also try to include how you meet as many of the preferred qualifications as possible, to stand out amongst other candidates.


Gemma Doyle, Collection Development Manager, EBSCO: Whether or not an employer is going to demand all of the job ad qualifications be met is something no job candidate can tell from the outside, so they definitely shouldn’t limit themselves to job where they met 100% of the qualifications.  Aim high!  You never know who else is in the candidate pool, and your experience may be more relevant and helpful than you might think from the outside.  However, and there is a however – some people might tell you that if a job interests you, you should apply, no matter what qualifications you’re missing, because the most they can do is not interview you; there’s no harm done.  I caution against that a little.  There is a point at which the gulf between an applicant’s experience and the required qualifications is just too large, and applying is going to make an applicant look like they don’t understand what the job is. If they’re applying for a higher-level job and have no experience at all, it pulls their judgment into question in a way employers are going to remember. 

It’s hard to pin down a percentage of job posting qualifications you need to hit that makes sense.  It really depends on the job, your experience and the qualifications you don’t have.  I think about it in terms of skills vs. experience.  If most of what you lack are things that can be learned on the job – the specific ILS, software, etc., then that’s one thing, and you can talk about the software skills you do have as a way of showing that you are able to pick up new skills.  But if you’re missing key experience, if the job is asking for 5 or more years of supervisory experience, and you have one or two (or none!) that can be a hard thing to overcome. 

If you think that might be the case for you, one thing you can do is reach out to the hiring manager – after the job is closed, so there’s no question that you’re trying to get a backdoor interview – and ask for an informational interview about what the role and what kinds of things they’re really looking for (beyond what’s in the job posting) and what kinds of things you can do to get that experience.  A lot of hiring managers are more than happy to talk about these things, and are thrilled people are interested in their jobs, even if they aren’t ready to apply to them yet. After we did our last hire at the beginning of the summer, I did a series of informational interviews with people who were interested in joining our team or a similar role someplace else someday, and I think they were helpful for everyone, including me. 


Julie Todaro, Dean, Library Services, Austin Community College: The shorter answers are: It depends, be careful, and be very careful about “getting creative.” The longer answers begin with Barbra Streisand (Fanny) in Funny Girl or Matt LeBlanc (Joey) on Friends where Fanny responds to Follies open audition requests by assuring casting staff that she can “roller skate” and Joey shows up to a commercial audition with his “twin” and swears at a movie audition that he does NOT have a certain physical “situation.” And all of these lies or “getting creative” with their truth are designed to get the job. So while it ends up going relatively well for Barbra, it does not end well for Joey, so for us – the answers lie somewhere in between.

Should people who don’t meet all the job qualifications still apply?

If the qualifications are identified as “required” and specific, my answer is no, they shouldn’t spend valuable job search time on an application that may not even make it out of an HR or Library vetting practice. I have this opinion for a number of reasons but – frankly – in many areas of the profession there are standards above the institution governing levels of achievement in general or to gain a specific salary and those requirements may well be in place because of accreditation requirements; state, regional or national standards; and, possibly workforce or municipality or governing board standards.

A general statement is – if the job description has both a required and preferred section, then when should one – reading a required section – ask questions?

  • If the education is both specific and vague such as “A master’s degree is required.” might yield the questions -Which master’s degree? What type of accreditation must accompany that master’s degree?
  • If the educational statement says or implies that years of experience might substitute for education one can consider an application. I have seen this approach come and go over the years, but it has now landed back on the acceptable list and many organizations are being more specific and saying – for example – two years of experience can substitute or count for one year of college education.
  • If the required years are a range such as 5 to 7 years, this might beg the question “Is this time counted in months?” or “I have 4.5 years – will that suffice?”
  • If the application timing is an issue, one should ask “I am finishing my master’s in May ’22, but it is now March ’22. Can I still apply with the expectation I would not start until my master’s is completed?”

The preferred section of the job description lists just that – what is preferred and I wholeheartedly say people should apply if they have all (obviously), some, some similar, or none of those elements preferred. In addition if the job description lists education, experience, competencies, expectations, etc. but there are no labels of preferred or required – interested applicants can either apply anyway or check with institutions first to ask if any of the listed areas ARE required or preferred. (One can always also ask, are these description areas prioritized?)

As to “getting creative” I say no….if you don’t have anything like it then don’t – again – spend valuable job search time on the application. BUT if titles mentioned are similar – if educational requirements aren’t clear or if job description terms simply don’t match the institution you came from or the educational program you attended, you can either call to clarify or apply and provide an honest crosswalk between what you have and what they have identified on the job description.

I do not have any stories of people who got jobs where they didn’t meet the qualifications. I do have more stories of people who embellish their self-assessment and identify themselves as “tech savvy” when they simply aren’t. And – although most organizations don’t “test” or assess before hiring to see if – in fact – you ARE tech savvy, most organizations have reinstituted the probationary period and also build into training some pre-assessment to determine where the new employee (still in the probationary period) might “be” in the skills and abilities and knowledge spectrum.

What I also think is perfectly acceptable – if you find you don’t have the preferred qualifications or the competencies or attributes listed on the job application – is to identify – for example – a tech level where you currently are – then your willingness to learn, the identification of a (possibly) self-training plan you feel could bring you up to the level or credential needed and – for example – a statement on how you learn and the speed with which you learn. Applicants might also provide examples of what they have done and – to provide validity to that – match up who in your references might know that information about you first hand. Then invite the potential manager with an invitation to contact the reference and ask about something specific to the skills and abilities or knowledge area to assure a potential supervisor that you are part of but not all of the way there, but you can “get there from here.”


Celia Rabinowitz, Dean of Mason Library, Keene State College: The answer to this week’s question is “it depends”. I think, more and more, many of us work in organizations where the application process is more automated and often managed by a Human Resources department that belongs to the institution (in my case, a college) and not directly to the library. When we identify required qualifications for a position we are required to verify that all candidates meet them in order to move forward in the search process. At the same time, many job ads indicate that “an acceptable combination of education and experience” may meet the requirements. So this is the opportunity for a candidate who does not meet the specific requirements to make their case.
Online application forms make it very difficult to ignore required or preferred elements of an ad. But here is one reason I like to see a submitted CV or resume as well as the online form (question from a few weeks ago). Use the resume to provide enough detail on experience or education that you want to create a compelling argument for your candidacy. And make good use of your cover letter to tell the search committee why the job interests you and what you would bring to the position. Give clear evidence of how you meet the qualifications – projects you have worked on or managed, skills you have, etc. Remember, when we say 2-4 years prior experience or doing a specific job like supervising, we really to mean 2-4 years. If you are close to the two years you meet the requirement. Don’t assume the hiring committee will privilege the candidates with 4 years’ experience. We are looking for a collection of experiences, education, and ideas from candidates. If we are working together thoughtfully we should look carefully at how each candidate presents themself.
My advice is not to apply for a job that you are clearly not qualified for. Your application may not advance past an initial review by staff other than in the library. If it does, it probably won’t advance once the search committee sees it, which is not a good use of anyone’s time. If you are interested in a job and think you are qualified, take the time to make that argument. Read the job description and show the search committee how your education and experience make you a qualified candidate.


We’d love to hear your thoughts here in the comments, on Twitter @HiringLib, or in whale song. 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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Further Questions

We clearly invite all qualified candidates to bring their entire self to the process

Marilyn Carbonell is leading the project Nathan Lang, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library

Title: Head of children’s services.

Titles hired: Librarian, clerk, substitute, associate.

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

√ 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

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ 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:

Post job, accept applications, decide on candidates to interview, conduct interviews, rate candidates, hire.

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

They had written plans for what they would ideally do in the position.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

No

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

How they will connect with coworkers.

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?

Not taking a moment to collect thoughts and blurting out a negative answer.

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

No

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 clearly invite all qualified candidates to bring their entire self to the process.

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

We want to share our passion for literacy and serving our patrons.

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?

√ 11-50

Leave a comment

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

We’d rather wait a few seconds and get a well-thought out answer!

Headshot of Alan Smith. He wears glasses, a white shirt and tie.

Alan Smith is Director of the Florence County, SC Library System and holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of South Carolina. 

Over the past 20 years he has worked in rural, urban, and suburban public libraries, in a wide variety of roles.

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

I send all applications to the position’s direct supervisor and let them choose who to interview (I will sometimes add in a name too). We interview with a 3-person panel consisting of me, the position’s direct supervisor, and another manager. We rotate other managers in and out and always keep the panel as diverse as possible. After interviewing we score individually and discuss. I defer to the direct supervisor if our opinions differ.

After all this they go through our county’s background check and drug test.  

Titles hired include: Everything! From Branch Library Managers, Information Services Manager, Youth Services Coordinator, Training and Outreach Coordinator, to Pages, Library Assistants, Custodian, Maintenance, Courier…

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

She had a wide variety of experience, none of it in libraries, but really convincingly demonstrated how those skills and experiences would translate to our mission and values. 

Interviews are limited in what they can tell you — and I’ve hired folks with great interviews who turned out not to be great employees — but someone who gives a pleasant interview with thoughtful answers is at least demonstrating that they can do well in a stressful personal interaction, which is a pretty good indicator of customer service skills.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Sounds obvious, but people who don’t show up for an interview and don’t call. We’ve had people do a complete no-show and then continue applying for other positions?! 

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

What kind of coworker are they? Will they help resolve conflicts among other employees or will they just enjoy watching drama unfold? Will they add to or strain social cohesion on the team?

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?

Feeling like they have to answer immediately and not giving themselves a second to think about their answers. We’d rather wait a few seconds and get a well-thought out answer! And, people who are clearly reluctant to talk about their own accomplishments and virtues. This is where you toot your own horn! 

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

Occasionally. Number one is site preparation – interview from a quiet, distraction free environment (as much as is within your control). 

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

I’m more concerned whether candidates have done work aligned around a mission or set of values, and whether they have experience building good community relationships and/or working with customers, than whether they have done those things in a library setting. 

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 always use a 3-person panel with members of different races and genders. That doesn’t eliminate individual unconscious bias, of course, but we try to acknowledge it in our discussions about candidates. I do worry about discrimination baked into the process itself, i.e., which candidates’ applications do we never even receive because we didn’t advertise where they would see it, didn’t convince them we were the type of place they would be welcome, etc. 

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

Asking any kind of questions shows a level of interest and critical thinking that we’re really looking for. I like to hear questions about culture and environment (“What’s a typical day like here?” “What do you like most or least about the job?”), and questions about the overall organization’s direction (“What are the library’s top priorities?” “What would a successful person in this position be doing a year from now?”)

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ Suburban

√ Rural 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Other: Very limited remote options during early phases of COVID; our County required all-onsite after May 2020.

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? 

I’m always interested in hearing feedback on specific interview questions — questions that are especially illuminating, or well-known questions that are useless. Maybe beyond the scope of this survey though.

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

Leave a comment

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