Tag Archives: lis career

I don’t really think of librarianship as a profession.

View of street vendors at 7th and B Streets, NW (Ca. 1880) MarketThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

People who kick ass.

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban area in the Western US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ Other: Maybe one or two

And how would you define “hirable”?

We want to be so excited about the candidate that we want to make an offer before someone else does. Very few candidates fit that criteria.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We see all of the applications
We use a search committee
We evaluate each candidate based on the qualifications in the job ad. For example, for “Ability to build rapport with campus stakeholders” we would like to see evidence in the resume/letter that the person can influence and build relationships with non-library people.

Our on campus interview is almost completely about “fit”. Do we want to work with them. Would they like working here? Do they want to work with us?

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Generic cover letter/resume which translates into too much emphasis on them and too little emphasis on how they fit what we need. Very few people put in the time and effort to make a tight connection between what we need and what they can offer.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

I want to hire someone who is

hungry

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 3-4

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are more positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

Depends on what you mean by “experience”. We will take non-professional academic library experience (e.g. internship).

(Is librarianship a dying profession?) Why or why not?

I don’t really think of librarianship as a profession.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area, Western US

Our MLS schools need to be careful they do not take away the beauty of librarianship.

Vegetable and flower seller and stall, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WashingtonThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

MLIS

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Southern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

MLIS librarian only, the rest is fit to the team and skills that align with the job needed

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

by a Director of Library Services that is a PHD and MLIS only

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

w/o MLS

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Other: feedback for interviewees only

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Gear the resume towards the job description without any compromise as to skills or professional integrity. (Don’t send out a one resume fits all applications.)

I want to hire someone who is

qualified

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 3-4

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: none

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are more positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

My university is in close proximity to a MLS ALA approved graduate school. I have had wonderful entry level professionals and some previously hired MLS librarians.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

There is more information now than ever before in the history of humankind. Librarians understand and can teach others how to access information, determine its quality, and develop a broader grasp of POVs on any subject in differing formats. Our problem is two-fold: 1)To the extent that the public perceives the library as a borrow bookstore, we stand in grave danger as a profession, and 2)Library Directors that put para-professionals as the first line of patron contact do harm to the MLS profession. These individuals are not skilled in information science. (They do not know ‘what’ they do not know.) Helping a patron goes much farther than putting a mere requested book in their hand. It understands the patron’s need that prompted the request for the title and is called a reference interview. If the most impressive thing that happens from a patron contact is delight over a resource, “the librarian” has failed as a professional. Librarians are experts in the field of information science, and their knowledge concerning information science should be experientially evident by the patron. I have some librarians that need retraining due to their lack of proactive response to the patrons. I cringe at librarians that hide behind circulation desks or directors that are three glass doors sheltered away from the public. Sadly, as a student with three Masters Degrees and a PhD, I never received the first assistance ANYTIME I was in a college library. I decided to be the difference I noted in work in the library. My love of libraries came from my elementary school librarian that understood my childhood desire to read science books and was a continual support to me in my formative years of primary education. I remember she taught me the Dewey Decimal System and where I could find books on science which was next to philosophy which both became my passion. I spent many hours in her library, and I cannot remember a single title that I found… but I will always remember her. This quality of relationship and expertise is what librarianship is all about and the need for it will never go away as long as humankind can critically reason. Humanity has a quest for knowledge and librarians are its entrusted gatekeepers and guides. Those that believe we can just digitize resources and put everyone in front of a monitor are sadly misguided. I challenge every reader to take a print journal (any title) and compare it to one of the published studies from a database. The experience is entirely different because of the context. The reader of the print journal will flip through the journal, find other articles, see color illustrations, and perhaps see some the the discipline’s industry through ads, etc. The digital reader will most likely want to print it out to use with other studies. However, while still in the database, it is searchable so if I am looking for “diabetes type II” it will take me to each entry, something print cannot do. It also has citation tools, a nice plus for busy researchers. Also, I can quickly do a bibliographic search on a author for other research studies. My point, the experience is entirely different. If I want to write a research paper, give me the database; however if I want to create a professional, give me the print journal to the group to which I shall belong so I can see where I shall fit in. Those that want to provide patrons with ‘only’ digital formats lack knowledge of the library as “place,” and the librarian as an “educator”. Our MLS schools need to be careful they do not take away the beauty of librarianship. A library without a skilled librarian is just a room with filled bookshelves collecting dust in the midst of outdated machines. It is not quiet, it is silent. It is not dead, it is mechanical. Add a librarian, and the room is filled with a quiet wonder, teaming with life, passionately driven by a quest to learn. And she is its conductor, the conduit that makes it all come alive.

Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?

If the job is worth having, take time to complete your resume not based not what others tell you should be on your resume, but rather “Match your skills, experience and education” to the job description. Always be truthful. Don’t exaggerate as it causes your credibility and teachability to come into question. Its okay to be an entry level applicant that is motivated and has had interships or volunteered. Get recommendations letters from faculty and previous employers. Be a part of an honor society if you qualify. Learn about the library you want to work before your interview. Dress like professional (dark suit, closed leather shoes, avoid too much make-up, high heels, and minimal jewelry, also iron your shirt). Show up on time or early. Don’t be a pest in follow-ups. Send a simple but genuine thank you note. Don’t let your anxiety keep you from smiling and being friendly. Others are deciding what it is like to work with you, if you were hired. Don’t let (idiotic) interview questions unsettle you. If you get a question you do not know how to answer, restate it in a manner that helps you divide the question into two parts. THE CORRECT ANSWER IS YOUR GOOD CHARACTER. Don’t try to sound like the Wizard of Oz that knows all… answer questions based on your education. When asked if you have any questions, respond with interest in career potential with the organization and/or statements of your flexibility in scheduling and filing in for others (not your income, days off, and 401k.) Those questions are for when they offer you the job and then go lightly. Your flexibility in scheduling will put you at ease with others that WILL give input to your hire. If offered a job, take it. Say yes immediately, and express your pleasure in being offered the job. Ask your start date. If you have details that need clarification, work them out AFTER you are hired. If you are asked for documentation, get it quickly, as this is YOUR employment file being completed. Lastly, read a scholarly study before your appointment that is meaningful to you and be prepared to discuss its relevance to the job. As you start your interview, start with the words, I was reading a study about (circulation, reference, database instruction, etc,) by (ex. Smith and Jones, 2014) and I thought how exciting it would be use some of the things they noted if I were chosen for this position. Smith and Jones said good circulation is based on x,y, and z skills. Think for a moment… what is the focus? Not you, but rather your professionalism, your willingness to learn and keep current, and your willingness to meaningfully contribute to the team sitting in front of you. Best wishes for your professional success.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

I think “tenure track” librarian positions are on the way out.

Queipo Market in Little Havana - MiamiThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Electronic Resources, Cataloging

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Midwestern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met stated minimum qualifications

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Search Committee evaluates each applicant based upon stated qualifications. Those who meet stated qualifications receive further discussion. Committee then decides upon finalists for phone interviews.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Don’t meet stated qualifications, or don’t appear to meet them well. Also, compare to other candidates (especially as it relates to relevant experience).

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Other: Not unless requested

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Don’t apply for jobs for which you do not meet the stated minimum qualifications. In your cover letter, clearly address how your education and experience relates to the job you are applying for & why you would see yourself as a good fit for the job.

I want to hire someone who is

qualified

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 2

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: 0

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are fewer positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

Generally, yes, but it depends on the position. It is harder to do for “specialist” positions (e.g., those that require particular subject expertise) as opposed to more general positions such as instruction librarians.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It is evolving, but I wouldn’t say dying. I think “tenure track” librarian positions are on the way out. At our institution we have several MLS employees that are in full-time staff positions (not tenure-track librarian positions). It is difficult to receive approval for tenure-track positions, so we’ve recreated some positions to be staff level. This has been done with some reluctance, but it has been necessary. There are a large number of MLS candidates willing to fill these positions.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

Digital librarians and those in charge of electronic resources are growing.

Push cart market -- New York (LOC)This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Catalogers/Metadata librarians, subject liaisons, special collections librarians, electronic resources librarians, technical services librarians.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Western US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Many librarians apply with no experience and they never mention in their letter of application anything about the job for which they are applying.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Yes, minimum requirements are specified that will weed out potential applicants. However, we are still able to view these applications.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

An applicant applies for a job, but does not tailor their letter, resume, or application to the job. They never connect their experience or education to the job. They never express desire to work in this capacity.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Other: Only if I am personally contacted by the applicant.

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

They must write well, and express their desire and qualifications for the job at hand in a letter of application. If I get a generic letter, it goes in the “No” pile right away.

I want to hire someone who is

Motivated

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 1

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 3-4

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are more positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

We want to see good internships, volunteer experience, or previous library work experience of any kind such as working in a college library as a student worker. We would not list it as an official requirement, but it would be a preferred requirement in the job ad.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Libraries are changing, and thus so are the nature of librarian positions, but I don’t see a reduction in need for librarians. We have hired an assessment librarian which is a new area. Digital librarians and those in charge of electronic resources are growing. While our automation system has allowed cataloging and acquisitions to merge somewhat, we still need original cataloging/metadata for electronic theses and dissertations, special collections materials, and other unique items.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area, Western US

There are always plenty of applicants with experience so those with none aren’t interviewed.

Young boy tending freshly stocked fruit and vegetable stand at Center Market, 02181915This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

children’s, teen, public services librarians

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban area in the Northeastern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met application requirements and some preferences, wrote cover letter showing interest in job, no red flags

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Applications go straight to director/hiring manager, nothing weeded out automatically. Rubric scored and discussed by committee of 3 or 4 staff members (including director and supervisor).

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Had applicants who better fit the requirements.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Apply for jobs that look like good fits. If experience doesn’t match up with job, talk about why you’re interested in THIS job specifically in cover letter (if you’re reusing from another cover letter, make sure it matches this one, e.g. we have a position that is both children’s + teens, so a cover letter that only talks about teens is rated lower.)

I want to hire someone who is

motivated

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: 0

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: 0

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are more positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

Not required by the job description, but in practice there are always plenty of applicants with experience so those with none aren’t interviewed.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Northeastern US, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

been losing positions

View of street vendors at 7th and B Streets, NW (Ca. 1880) MarketThis anonymous interview is with a special librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Just librarians

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban area in Canada.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 75-100

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

match many of the skills looked for as per job ad

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

evaluated by two librarians on staff – separate evaluations then discussion to see matches/mismatches before moving to interview stage

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

lack of qualifications as per job ad; overqualified for position – assumption was pay would be insufficient or job not interesting enough to keep person in position for several years

misspellings in resume/letter

addressing different job ad in cover letter

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

check, double check spelling and that you are sending correct letter to correct job application

good to reach for something that you are not completely qualified for in terms of not as many years of experience as desired if you meet many of the other requirements

I want to hire someone who is

qualified

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: 0 – been losing positions

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: 0 – losing positions

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are fewer positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Other: None

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ Other: None

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

Since we do systematic review searches, we require some search experience. Also some teaching experience in some position related to libraries or not.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

Why or why not?

Dying in some areas due to budget constraints

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Canada, Special, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

We’ll take a student straight out of grad school if they have the right personality.

Vegetable and flower seller and stall, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WashingtonThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference librarians, library assistants.

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Western US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Literally just filled all of the minimum requirements.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Search committee chair reviews them and weeds out the applicants who don’t fit the minimum requirements (ie: an applicant who doesn’t even have a bachelor degree when an MLIS is required). Then the search committee wades through them all and comes to a decision based on a variety of things, but mostly qualifications and personality shown in cover letter.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Doesn’t fulfill minimum qualifications, doesn’t submit a cover letter, doesn’t have a tailored cover letter (those form cover letters are REALLY obvious).

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Actually read the job posting and tailor your cover letter (and even your resume) to be relevant. If the job asks for instruction experience, tell us about your instruction experience. It’s also nice to see some evidence that the applicant is excited to work for us.

I want to hire someone who is

engaged.

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 1

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 1

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are more positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

Nope. We’ll take a student straight out of grad school if they have the right personality.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It’s a changing profession, I don’t think anyone would argue that. But to say it’s a dying profession is naive and misguided. Access to information is a cornerstone of a successful and vibrant community, and that really can’t be ignored.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area, Western US