Tag Archives: Library

Job Hunter Follow Up: Alexandra Patterson


Alexandra Patterson took the Job Hunter’s survey on May 6, 2014.  Her responses appeared  as HR can tell when you just want a job instead of wanting THAT job.  We followed up with her search on December 4, 2014.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I am still in the same position I was in last year, Research Librarian at Mercersburg Academy.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

I am a little more optimistic about the library job market than I was last year. I think that the market is really picking up!

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

Try to find a reason why you want THAT particular job. It’s not enough to love libraries and want a job. You have to prove that you want to work in that library for a particular reason.

Alexandra is willing to answer questions that you post in the comments.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Anonymous Z

We last heard from this job hunter on February 21, 2015.  His answers appeared as Where you start is not always where you end up.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I just received a promotion to a management position at the library system. I will start soon after the holidays. I wanted a position in an academic or a law library. Since those positions are scarce and highly competitive, to applied to any opening that looked interesting. I interviewed for a few positions, even one or two that I was not sure I wanted. A few weeks after graduating, I accepted a half time position at a local public library. I thought it would be good experience and some paycheck while I prepare for the summer hiring season. I enjoyed the position so I applied for an open full time position when it became available a month later. The full time position included some supervisory responsibility over the pages. That meant that I found myself on the other end of the interview process when I started interviewing people for support staff positions.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

Being flexible and positive worked for me. I was able to find a job very quickly and I have been successful thus far. I fully understand that this does not apply to everyone. Many job seekers cannot be as flexible as I was. It is important to set realistic goals for the job market you are trying to break into and take a long term view of how you want your career to progress.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

The best thing that you can do, regardless of where you are in your job search, is to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. This might seem obvious but I have lost track of how many people either forgo things like volunteering, working on job related special projects or networking at conferences or fail to communicate to potential employers how this things make you more hirable.

Anything else you want to share with us?

One thing I did underestimate last year is the importance of a good reputation in the library community. Even if you are still in library school. Your classmate today could easily be that coworker that helps you or even a part of the hiring committee. I have seen this work for and against job seekers.

This job hunter will answer questions you post in the comments section.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Anonymous 4


This person took the Job Hunter’s survey on December 28, 2012. Her responses appeared as I make sure that I qualify first and foremost.  We then followed up with her on November 26, 2014. 

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I’m currently working full time in an archive (YEA!!), however I am currently job hunting again because the position is not really what I expected, or what I really interviewed for in fact. Not to mention it’s further away from home than I really wanted. So I’m back at it, looking for postings a little closer to the West Coast.

My work situation, while it would be great for a new grad entering the profession, is not for me because I am more experienced than this job needs, so I’m really bored. Not to mention there is a lot of issues from previous issues within the system and its really frustrating.

This past year was a huge change for me as I moved 1200 miles for a job to a new place, so a lot of growth on my part. However, it made me realize even more that I’d rather be on the West coast, so I’m looking to head back that way.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

I realize even more what I want in a job is about the only real change. I guess I’m more optimistic now that I’ve had the full time experience.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

Just keep swimming! Also have your cover letters edited by someone other than yourself. I know it seems like you should be able to do it yourself but as I was reminded of at an interview this past weekend, it’s okay not to be great at everything and getting (and asking) for help is okay!

Anything else you want to share with us?

If you can, job seekers, be willing to relocate! Other than that, no.

This respondent is willing to answer any questions you might care to post in the comments section.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Cher Armstrong


We last heard from Cher Armstrong on January 5, 2015.  Her post appeared as Positive environment for patrons and library employees.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I am the a full-time librarian in the Reference department at a library serving a diverse population of approximately 30,000 people. My official job title is the New Adult/Digital Services Librarian. My town has a very large senior population due to the many 55+ communities. We also have many special-needs patrons such as those who were recently incarcerated and the homeless population. I was part-time at the beginning of the year but got promoted to full-time in July.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

My attitude has translated from idealistic to far more realistic in relation to working at a library. I have discovered that while I have a plethora of ideas, librarians have to cope with and adapt to factors such as budget, understaffing and the culture of the individual library. What works for one library might not work or might even be infeasible in another library.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

I would look for ways to get experience related to the library job you want in any way you can. Aspiring public librarians, for example, need to be able to show they will be able to interact with a wide population and help them procure what they need. Customer service skills are very useful; skills from fields such as retail can easily translate over to library service. If you have no library experience, be ready to showcase how the skillsets you’ve acquired in other places can be beneficial to a library.

Questions for Cher?  She is willing to answer them, just post in the comments.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Elise Lafosse


elise lafosseWe last heard from Elise Lafosse on September 10, 2014 in the post: I have the skills to learn a new ILS very quickly.  

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I am at Otis Library in Norwich, CT which is about an hour commute each way from my home. I only work 12 hours a week. Sometimes I step in to help a few extra hours if needed. I still keep looking for other positions as a librarian in a public library or a cataloger. So far I have not had any luck. So my current situation is not ideal. I am still looking for a position closer to home.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

I still love working in public libraries and still am committed to finding a position in a public library with more hours and closer to home. However it has been very discouraging recently. I applied to about three positions in the past month, none of which called me for an interview. I wonder if it is because of my age which is 54 years old.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

Be persistent. Volunteer your skills as well as this can help you get in the door. I think I may have gotten a cataloging contract over the summer partly because I volunteer as a cataloger at the library for the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art where I also give tours.

Anything else you want to share with us?

Well currently I feel quite discouraged based on the results of my job search last month. So right now I am taking a break. Perhaps things will begin to look up in the new year.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Amber Hawkins

Amber Hawkins took the original survey in January 2013. Her responses appeared as Be more forthcoming about requirements. We followed up with her on December 17, 2013 and again on December 11, 2014.

Your Job

What’s your current work situation? 

Full-time as a library assistant in a large law firm.

Is this job the same as you had when we followed up with you last year? If not, please describe briefly how you got this new job.

It is not. I got laid off from my previous job and one of my coworkers at that place happened to mention me to the director of research services. I went through a recruiter, but eventually got hired.

Is your job commensurate with your skills and experience?

I don’t have any legal experience, but it’s definitely allowing me to use my foundationary library skills. Though, I am learning quite a lot.

Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?


How your job different from what you thought you might do, when you first embarked on your job hunt?

For starters, I’m working in the legal field. I had really only been applying with public and state libraries. Also, the turnaround time is a lot quicker than I was used to.

Have you had a chance to participate in hiring any LIS workers? Any lessons or observations from the experience?

I recently sat in on some informal interviews to see how well candidates would fit in with the team we have in place. That was a really interesting experience. I think it helped when the interviewee had questions for us about our job. It made me think they were interested in the position they were applying for.

Have you had a chance to negotiate a raise and/or title change? What was that like?

No, I have not.

What’s the next step for your career?

I’m hoping that I will become a research librarian here at the law firm.

Your Perspectives

Was job hunting a positive or negative experience, for the most part?

Mostly negative as I received a lot of rejections until this position came along.

Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?

A little. Being in the area for which you are applying really helps, but I’d also add knowing someone who works there and can put in a good word for you.

Do you have any advice for job hunters and/or library school students?

We actually have a few library school students on our team. I would say to apply for positions even if you don’t have your degree. You never know what might happen.

Do you have any advice for hiring managers?

If you tell the interviewee that you’ll let them know within a week whether or not they have the job, stick to that time frame. Waiting a month before sending a rejection letter is unprofessional.

What’s your ideal work situation? (hours, location, library type, etc.)

A normal day shift (8-5 or 9-6), environment with a good team atmosphere, public or (now) legal library, some autonomy to do projects and be innovative.

Anything else you want to tell us?

I really enjoy my job now even though it’s not at all what I was looking for.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Marcus Walker

Marcus WalkerMarcus Walker took the Job Hunter’s survey on May 28 2014. His responses appeared as Many of them also have library staff experience, and if there is anyone who should know how valuable that can be, it’s librarians.

Your Background

How long has it been since you got your library degree?

It’s been a little more than a year since I completed the actual work that went into the degree.

How many years of library work experience do you have?

Including my time as an undergraduate library assistant, I have over nine years of experience. Without it, seven.

How many years of work experience outside of libraries do you have?

About three and a half.

How old are you? 

I’m in my mid-30s.

Your Job Hunt

How long did it take you before you found your job?

It took about six months.

How many positions did you apply to?


How many interviews did you go on?


What was your work situation while you were job hunting?

I was still employed full-time where I was before.

Were you volunteering anywhere?

No, I wasn’t.

Did you travel for interviews? If so, who paid?

I didn’t have to travel for any interviews.

Did you decline any offers?


Your Job

What’s your new job?

I’m the Digital Collections Librarian at the University of Louisville Law Library.

Is your job full or part time? Permanent or temporary?


Did you relocate? If so, who paid?

Sure. My desk moved from the middle of the floor to the back.

How did you find the listing for your job?

I was told about the position being created, and I was encouraged to apply for it once it was.

Did you meet all of the required qualifications? How many of the desired qualifications?

It did meet the qualifications.

What was the application process like? How many interviews did you do?

It was rather humorous, frankly. Since I was applying for a position at the same place I worked, I couldn’t use the references at the library, nor could I be there when the other applicants were.

How did you prepare for the interview(s)?

I looked at the digital collections at the main campus library and at other libraries, and I went over the accomplishments I made, just as I would if it were a job somewhere else. (Want to know something odd? I felt more stressed during that interview than the one I had to get the library assistant position, despite knowing exactly what they were expecting, as it was a position they had wanted to create before I started the first time.)

Did you know anyone in the organization that hired you? If so, how?

Yes. It’s the same library. 🙂

Is your job commensurate with your skills, experience and expectations?

The job is appropriate for my skill set and experience. (It would have been without the degree, too.) And so far, it exceeds my expectations.

Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?

You know how you were told as a child that patience is a virtue? Well, so is prudence. 😉

What do you think was the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How did you overcome it?

I cringe at this, because I know what so many of my fellow new grads and colleagues are going through, but the biggest obstacle was waiting for the position I have to be approved. I applied to other jobs in the meantime, and while I thought my colleagues did like me enough to keep me around, not knowing when the position was coming made me feel just as stressed as if there was no position crawling through university bureaucracy.

What set you apart from the other applicants? Why did they hire you?

Frankly, they knew me and my work. I was somewhat familiar with one of the applicants from school (as familiar as you can be with someone you take online courses with), and she was brilliant enough to make me worry.

State of the Job Market

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen on a job announcement?

Can I change that a bit? I have seen two part-time job announcements that clearly are the same position advertised as different positions in order to keep from paying full-time benefits. Close are the part-time positions that are scheduled an hour (or even a half-hour) short of paying partial benefits. I get it, but, wow.

Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?

I’m sure you figured this out already, but this job hunt was about as positive of an experience as it could have been. And I still wouldn’t want to go through it again.

Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?

I wouldn’t change it, necessarily, but I would add a suggestion. While I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had a position created in the same library I worked, if I were someone that did not do good work and they did not want around, they could have just as easily given the position to someone else or not have bothered with the position at all. So my suggestion to anyone going to library school or going through library school is, if at all possible, find yourself a job in a library and let your work make a positive impression.

Anything else you want to tell us?

I was on the committee to hire my replacement for the library assistant position. There are a few things I can say, but one stands out, since it was one of my peeves as an applicant: The cover letter does make a difference. Let the committee know why your work experience fits the position, and you will likely outshine three-quarters of the applicants by doing that alone.

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