Tag Archives: New York City

Go to professional meetings and see who’s there

October 28, 1902 via National Library of Ireland on the CommonsThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for More than 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, Special libraries, and

anyplace that will hire me

at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience. Here is how this person describes his or her experience with internships/volunteering:

I had a archives internship and two graduate assistantships, one in archives one as a reference librarian before I graduated. Since then I volunteered for my local archives for 4 years, held about 5 temp positions in archives and worked for my local library part-time for about 4 years. I have become a certified archivist though my volunteer work.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Northeastern US and is not willing to move.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Someplace in the New York Metro area
With Decent pay, if it’s in NYC I would have to take a train in and that would need to cover it.
A place with a possibility of growth

Where do you look for open positions?

Professional Listservs, LinkedIn, INAJ, Archives Gig, METRO job bank, NY ART job bank

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I usually spent about an hour on it. I read the job posting and try to use the words in the posting in my cover letter. Sometimes I might see if I can find where the job is located and maybe some background on who works there. I used to address my cover letter to the director but recently I favor using Hiring Manger instead. Seems less stalker like.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

No

When would you like employers to contact you?

To acknowledge my application
To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
To follow-up after an interview
Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

I think they should put the salary in the posting and decent one at that. They should talk about the probability of growth in the company. They might want to express their involvement in local professional organizations or conferences. Go to professional meetings and see who’s there. The people who go there already on their own dime are the people you want to work for you.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Keep in contact with the candidates. I wish they would be more upfront with your possibility of employment there. One place flat out told me they were legally obligated to interview anyone who showed interest in the position and that I probably wouldn’t be a good fit for what they were looking for. Yeah it was painful in the short term but I also wasn’t sitting by the phone waiting for them.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I have no idea, if I did I think I would be hired by now. That said I think research on the subject of the work you’re doing, and being personable helps.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

I would add a question of what a job seeker learned since she/he started his search. I’m not the same person I was when I first started my search and I’ve become much wiser.

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Urban area

I Agonize Over Every Sentence

Leslie Norman has a  MLIS (Rutgers, 2005) and a MA in Political Science (John Hopkins, 1997).  She has worked as a news librarian, and has research credits for eight published articles and two books. However, newspapers have shrunk and Ms. Norman is currently without a job. She is looking for a research position in the metro NYC area, while contemplating a change to cataloging or archive work.  She has been looking for more than 18 months, in Academic libraries, Archives, and Special libraries, for positions requiring at least two years of experience. Ms. Norman is in a city/town in the Northeastern US, and would be willing to move:

Only if my husband found work also

She is an information junkie, loves mystery books and long-form non-fiction essays, kills tomatoes in the summer, forgets to feed the backyard birds, and watches too much TV. You can find her on Twitter@no1newshound

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Challenging work where I learn new technologies, new ways of improving  work skills, and help the organization achieve its goals.

A manager that knows how to manage, provides essential training and wants me to succeed in my position while I give my best to move the company forward.

Decent salary for the area I live in.

Where do you look for open positions?

Many job boards

LinkedIn

Job alerts set up from job boards

LibGig

Emails from local library schools, local library associations, Chronicle of Higher Education, and local SLA chapters listservs

I Need a Library Job

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

Tweak resume to match job ad

Write cover letter to address the qualifications listed in the ad

It takes a long time for me to write cover letters because I agonize over every sentence. Unfortunately that effort is not resulting in interviews.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To follow-up after an interview

√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Write job announcements with detail.

Place the ad in as many local places as possible.

Specifically target local chapters of library associations, alumni associations of library schools and library groups like SLA and ALA.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Provide application deadlines if possible.

Notify applicant if she doesn’t get the job after the interview.

Provide some information as to why an applicant didn’t get the position within.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I think it’s having the right experience and good internships. Previously, I didn’t understand the importance of internships.   Now that I need to possibly change specializations, the market is saturated and only students can get internships. I have two MAs but I don’t have enough experience to get an academic position. It’s difficult to live in the metro NYC area which is a competitive market.

Networking is important also but it can be very difficult for an introverted person like myself.  The bottom line is applying for jobs where one’s experience matches the ad and believing in oneself despite the circumstances.

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

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Filed under Academic, Archives, City/town, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Special

Library School Career Center: LIU Palmer

Here is this week’s installment of the Library School Career Center feature, which is presented in partnership with the folks from the blog Hack Library School.  If you’re interested in library education, or in new ideas and the future of the profession, you should check it out.  


LIU Palmer 3

This interview is with Ellen Mehling, Director, Westchester Program and Internships, Palmer School of Library and Information Science, LIU Post.

Career Center Information

LIU Palmer 2

Who staffs the career center?

Career services (job hunting and career development) are provided by me [Ellen Mehling] for the Palmer School’s students and alumni. There is not an actual physical center; services are provided in various ways, online and face-to-face, one-on-one and in groups, for all Palmer School locations.

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

I’ve been an advisor on job hunting and career development for various groups including librarians/information professionals and library school students, for about eight years. I started in a former job, advising members of the general public and special populations who were seeking employment, and before long was being asked to teach workshops on the job search to other library professionals. In addition to my work at the Palmer School, I am Job Bank Manager and Career Development Consultant for the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO).

I’ve trained other librarians on assisting job hunting patrons, and have taught classes/workshops, moderated or spoken on panel discussions and conducted mock interviews and more, at various venues. I write regularly on job hunting/career topics for various sites, including METRO’s. I’ve served on hiring committees and have been a successful applicant myself in recent years too, so I’ve seen and experienced first-hand what works and what doesn’t.

Does the career center provide any of the following:

√ Resume/CV Review   √ Advice on writing cover letters
√  Interview Practice [mock interview]
√ General career advising
√  Other: Career Q&A on blog, webinars presentations/workshops (given by me), joint or guest presentations/workshops, recruiter visits, panel discussions, and full-day job hunting/career events. Some of these are open to students and graduates from other schools. I visit each of the Internship classes each semester to discuss resume writing. Palmer School students and alumni are also encouraged to make use of LIU’s Career Services in addition to the industry-specific career services provided by the School.

Do you provide in-person services?

√ Appointments
√ Speakers, or programs that present experts

Do you provide online services?

Website with resources    √  Blog   √ Webinars
√ Twitter: @LIUPalmerSchool
LinkedIn     √ Facebook
√ Other: Career / Job Hunting Q&A, “Kiosk” student listserv (anyone can subscribe to the listserv)

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

Palmer School students and alumni contact me directly. Anyone can access the information on the blog and/or join the listserv or follow on Twitter, etc.

May alumni use career center resources?

Yes.

Are there any charges for services?

There is no charge.

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using the career center?

We are always delighted to hear that our graduates have found positions. Three recent hires among our alumni: Library Media Specialist in the Elmont School District, Archives Technician at the National Archives at New York City, and Archives Coordinator for NY at Cartier.

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

The job market is improving, but competition is still very strong, with many well-qualified applicants for each open position. Relevant skills and experience are necessary in addition to the degree, as are a strong network, patience, and a positive attitude. Students should start networking while they are still in school, and begin their job search before graduation.

LIU Palmer 1 March 5

Students’ Career Paths

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

A 120-hour internship is required for the Master’s degree students. It is usually done in the final semester. This benefits the students in a number of ways, including giving them experience to put on their resumes, and providing networking opportunities, both of which are crucial to job-hunting success. Students are encouraged throughout the program to get as much experience as they can, however they can, including volunteering, part-time jobs, project work etc.

Are there any notable graduates?

Bonnie Sauer at the National Archives at New York City
Caitlin McGurk at the Center for Cartoon Studies

LIU Palmer 4 March 5

Demographics

How many students in the library school?

Approximately 325.

What degree(s) do you offer?

MS in Library and Information Science
MS in Library and Information Science – School Library Media
PhD in Information Studies

Is it ALA accredited?

Yes.

What are the entrance requirements?

http://www.liu.edu/CWPost/Academics/Schools/CEIS/PSLIS/Graduate-Programs/MS-LIS/AdmisReq

When was the library school founded?

The Palmer School of Library and Information Science was established in 1959 on the LIU Post Campus of Long Island University. The Master of Science in Library Science was first accredited by the American Library Association in 1971. In 1992, the M.S. in Library Science was merged with the M.S. in Information Science and subsequently the name of the degree was changed to the M.S. in
Library and Information Science.

In 1995, the School began to offer the full accredited M.S. in Library and Information Science in Manhattan, and in 1997, the first class of students was admitted for the Doctor of Philosophy in Information Studies program.

Where are you?

√ Northeastern US

Where are you?

√ Urban area (NYC)
√ Suburban area (Long Island)

Anything else you’d like to share that’s unique about the school?

The Palmer School of Library and Information Science is one of the most distinguished schools of library and information science in the country. With three program locations throughout the New York metropolitan area as well as online and blended courses, the Palmer School offers a broad portfolio of degree and advanced certificate programs taught by a faculty of distinguished scholars, researchers and hands-on practitioners. We prepare our students for careers for a digital world and help them skillfully harness the way information is preserved, valued and delivered to every facet of society.

Aside from the internship requirement, the Palmer School is known for personalized one-on-one advisement and support throughout the time students are in the program. This continues even beyond graduation with the services available to alumni. The three campuses are LIU Post and LIU Brentwood on Long Island and in Manhattan at NYU’s Bobst Library. There is also a Dual Degree (Master’s) program, offered at the Manhattan location.


Brianna Marshall

This interview was conducted by Brianna Marshall, who is a second year dual-degree Master of Library Science and Master of Information Science student at Indiana University’s School of Library and Information Science. She is Managing Editor for Hack Library School and a 2012-2013 HASTAC scholar. Learn more about Brianna through her blog and portfolio or by following her on Twitter @notsosternlib

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Filed under City/town, Library School Career Center, MLIS Students, Northeastern US, Urban area

I Literally Cut-and-Pasted QR Codes That Corresponded to the Appropriate Position in my Digital Resume

This interview is with Brittany Turner, who is the Records Manager/Special Projects Librarian with the Shreve Memorial Library and also works as a consultant focusing primarily in the area of cultural heritage protection. Previously, Brittany worked as Project Coordinator for “To Preserve and Protect: Security Solutions for New York’s Historical Records” at the New York State Archives and Village Clerk for the Village of New Paltz, NY. Brittany received her Master’s in Public Administration through the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany, and her MLIS in 2012 from the University of Alabama (Online Cohort).

Ms. Turner has been hired within the last two months, but prior to that was job hunting for a year to 18 months, looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Public libraries, School libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, Department Head, Senior Librarian, Branch Manager, and Director/Dean. She is in a city/town in the Southern US, and was willing to move:

within specific regions which may be expanded for the right position.

Ms. Turner is active in a number of professional organizations, including the SAA Security Roundtable and RBMS Security Committee. She is also the 2011 recipient of the Donald Peterson Student Scholarship award.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Professional, challenging work. Salary that corresponds to my qualifications. Generous benefits.

Where do you look for open positions?

EVERYWHERE. LinkedIn, Facebook, Professional Organizations and Associations, USA Jobs, Craigslist, [INSERTREGION]helpwanted.com, Monster, JobFox, Individual Organizations, ReWork, State Employment Websites, etc. The most helpful resource I’ve found is INALJ.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Other: Yes, I expect to, and no, it’s rarely there.

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

It depends on the position. When I’m applying through an automated site like USAJobs, it takes about 3-4 hours to set up the initial application. After that, depending on the length of the questionnaire, it’s about 15 to 20 minutes on average. That being said, the chance of getting a Federal job right now without Veteran’s preference is slim-to-none, so I know those are unlikely prospects and the quick prep time means everyone else can send many blanket applications, too.

For specific opportunities through other outlets, it varies. Although almost all Universities seem to be using the same database framework, the huge majority are not accessing a centralized applicant database. Filling out that tedious, time consuming form over and over usually has me reassessing how much I’m interested in the job halfway through, and I finish those applications about 50-75% of the time. Sure, the University is able to screen applicants automatically that way, but they may also be missing out on highly qualified candidates who don’t really want to deal with the BS for the millionth time.

In the case of an email application, I’ll spend a few minutes customizing one of my “stock” cover letters, attach one of my stock resumes/CVs, and add any additional resources that might be useful or required. I’ll rarely create something new to support an application, and I think my use of an eportfolio helps provide additional resources and samples if the employer is looking to see examples of deliverables.

I am shocked at the number of employers who still require paper applications and will only apply for these positions if it’s an excellent opportunity, despite my major concerns regarding the bigger implications of the use of paper applications. It’d definitely be a specific question I ask during any interview, since it really reflects on the health and philosophy of the organization as a whole.

I’ll also complete paper applications if I’m trying to make a point. The position I recently accepted had a paper application; it was worth the hassle, but one of the first things I hope to do is assist with the transition to a web-based application systems. The only other paper application I’ve completed in recent memory was done so in an attempt to highlight how ridiculous the practice was, as the position was with a large library system that frankly should’ve known better. I printed the application. Then, in the miniscule blank spaces where I was supposed to indicate my responsibilities, accomplishments, etc. (essentially, resume), I literally cut-and-pasted QR codes that corresponded to the appropriate position in my digital resume. I didn’t get the job, and I didn’t expect to, but hopefully the employer got the point. Any medium-to-large library or library system that truly believes paper applications are appropriate is majorly limiting their pool of potential candidates, and not in a good way. It’s a major red flag.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Web-based applications that do not require applicants to fill out the same generic database for the zillionth time. Please just allow upload of resume or CV in lieu of filling out the fields. Actively recruiting candidates who meet their needs rather than sending out an announcement and hoping for the best. Working directly with professional organizations and academic programs to identify strong matches. Sharing the announcement beyond their own website.

Inclusion of accurate, likely salary and benefit information in the announcement (not just “commensurate with experience” or “$10,000 to $100,000 per year, DOE” or “generous benefits package”) is a must. Candidates understand that there will always be some flexibility, but at least help them help you. While it’s true that seasoned professionals will be able to weed out some unlikely prospects by evaluating the position descriptions alone, in a difficult job market many will be looking to expand their search beyond positions that show upward momentum. When you’re transparent about your budget, it increases the likelihood that you’ll be able to attract candidates with an even richer skill set than that required in your job description. Although intentionally withholding salary information may be ethical, it isn’t really helping you or your candidates. We don’t want to waste your time by applying for a position that we could never possibly accept; please don’t waste our time by asking highly qualified candidates to apply for a position that’s advertised as professional yet pays minimum wage. Be upfront – if your position description and stated salary range aren’t generating the volume or quality of applications you hoped for, it’s likely a problem with you and not the applicants.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Open, honest communications. Each employer understandably expects a customized application package, regardless of the fact that many applicants are screening and/or applying for literally hundreds of positions every week, . Please take the time to offer the same level of customization in return; if another candidate “better met [your] needs,” explain why. This may not be feasible for every applicant, but it should be within reach for interviewed candidates at a minimum. I know, some HR attorney is balking, but not only is it a matter of courtesy, it may also help to provide guidance to job seekers looking to improve their skills, enhancing the overall quality of applicants within the profession and making it more likely that candidates will reapply to your organization with a stronger package in the future. The excuse that each employer receives billions of applications and they can’t possibly take the time to provide an individual response to each one is bogus. No one works harder than someone who is unemployed and struggling to find meaningful work. Applicants can do it, and so should you (within reason; obviously no one expects you to tell John Doe that he wasn’t hired because he clearly hadn’t bathed in three weeks).

Similarly, and this is a little one, please respond to the applicant via the medium they used to apply. If you require paper applications, you need to send a paper response. If you require email applications, send an email response. Either way, though, at least send a response in some form! It would also be helpful if your announcement and/or application confirmation included contact information for whatever staff member is responsible for monitoring the progress of your search. Sometimes, an applicant may be faced with an offer but hasn’t yet heard back from their dream job; since so many employers don’t acknowledge us at all, you may have lost your dream employer to another organization simply because they had no way to verify whether you’d selected another candidate or even started interviews yet. It also ensures that the clever few who figure out the who’s who of your organization are contacting the appropriate person in HR rather than supervisors or search committee members.

If you’re contacting an applicant for the first time, please do so via email and not phone. If an applicant has applied for hundreds of positions, no matter how special you are or how special you think you should be, they probably won’t be able to remember your organization let alone the details of the position off the top of their heads. Don’t set applicants up to make a sub-par first impression this way. Contact them via email, and reference not only your organization but also the specific position, linking to the announcement if possible. Not only have we applied for lots and lots of vacancies, but we probably also applied to multiple openings within your own organization. Be as specific as possible to make our work a little easier. The last thing a job seeker wants to do after being contacted for an interview is to root through hundreds of near-identical emails and announcements to figure out which one it’s for.

Recognize that this is a relationship. Sure, you have a lot at stake in selecting a new employee, but so does the employee. That relationship needs to be mutually beneficial, adaptable to change, and able to embrace compromise. If one party is giving significantly more, while the other is taking significantly more, guess what? That’s an unhealthy, potentially abusive relationship. Don’t set the stage for major problems later on. Treat your prospective employees with the respect, understanding, and flexibility they deserve, and you’ll benefit from the same in the future.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Be thorough and be fast. Churn applications out as quickly as you can. Develop tough skin. Be willing and immediately prepared to relocate. Make friends with your browser’s auto-fill. Use INALJ. Avoid all the boring “attention to detail” buzzwords and catchphrases, especially if your resume is loaded with typos and inconsistencies (which it shouldn’t be). Don’t lie or embellish; do highlight concrete, specific examples and accomplishments. Take the time needed to come up with one or two stellar stock cover letters, then make minor modifications to sell yourself for the specific position or organization.

Perhaps most importantly, be willing to work for (slightly) less than you’re worth, but recognize that you are exploring a new relationship. Look for extra benefits in the type of work you’ll be doing rather than compensation, but maintain some healthy skepticism. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. When your sacrifices start to significantly outweigh your benefits, it’s time to walk away. Don’t allow yourself to be blinded by your need for a job right now – you can take a miserable, low-pay, no-benefit, dead-end job anywhere, so avoid doing so in your chosen profession, especially if that decision is being made out of desperation. If the employer is asking too much of you without giving enough back, not only will you find yourself miserable and unemployed again in the future, but you may also have inadvertently marred your professional reputation moving forward. Work the register at a store to pay bills (customer service skills!), volunteer or intern to keep your skills fresh and networks growing (variety and versatility!), and keep applying for those professional positions until you’ve found the right one.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Thank you for doing this survey. I’ll be sharing it with others. Let me know if there’s any way I can help!

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

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Filed under Academic, Archives, City/town, Job hunter's survey, Public, School, Southern US, Special

Further Answers: Any other advice for someone preparing to be off work for a while?

This is the final post in a series of three about extended leaves of absence.

Here is what happened: a reader who is about to leave work due to the incipient arrival of twin babies wrote in to ask if people who hire librarians could give some advice to people in her situation.  I thought that this was the sort of thing where the experiences of people who had been in similar situations might be even more helpful, so I collected some respondents from various listservs and the ALA Think Tank Facebook group, and am now presenting them for your edification.

This week I asked people who had returned to work after a multi-year absence:

Any other advice for someone preparing to be off work for a while?

Kathy JarombekThe one thing that I wish I had done, which I didn’t do for financial reasons, was keep up my professional memberships when I was on leave. I would definitely do that if I had a “do-over” because I think it speaks to your professionalism to do so.

– Kathy Jarombek, Leave of six years.
Prior title: Department Head for Children’s Services, New Canaan;
Current title: Director of Youth Services and Member of the 2014 Newbery Committee, Perrot Memorial Library

Veronica Arellano DouglasI would advise anyone planning on taking some time off of librarianship to read! Our profession changes so quickly and the best thing you can do to prepare yourself for future employment is to stay up-to-date on library trends, practices and research.
– Veronica Arellano Douglas, Leave of two years.
Prior title: Psychology & Social Work Librarian at the University of Houston;
Current title: Reference & Instruction Librarian at St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Don’t discount the skills learned from being a stay at home parent. I feel that it has made me better at time management and juggling multiple responsibilities at work. Although I didn’t have prior work experience in doing storytime, having children was good preparation for my new role!
– Aimee Haley, Leave of three and a half years.
Prior title: Librarian (Public Library);
Current title: Librarian (Public Library)

Miriam Lang Budin I think it helps to remain active in the profession in some way while you are home raising children…even if you’re just going into libraries and schmoozing with librarians. And there are so many ways to stay involved through list-serves, chats, online courses, etc. Many more opportunities than were available back in the dark ages when I was staying home.

One of our children’s librarians is about to go on maternity leave and I tried to convince her to work for us just one night a week and/or one weekend a month, but she wasn’t interested. We would have held her job for her if she’d been able to do that, but now we’ll just have to say goodbye and good luck. I can certainly understand her not wanting to make the commitment to our library when she’s embarking on a demanding and unpredictable new chapter of her life, but I think it is a mistake if she wants to go back to work when her children are older. (Maybe she doesn’t want to…) I know I would be more interested in a prospective employee who found ways to keep her hand in. The job market is quite different than it was twenty-some years ago.
– Miriam Lang Budin, Leave of eleven years.
Prior title: Children’s Librarian, Larchmont Public Library;
Current title: Head of Children’s Services, Chappaqua Library

Cen Campbell

  • Maintain and expand your network. Visit a local library and make friends with people who are already working there. Tell them you’re a librarian and ask what’s going on in the library. Also maintain your old network, even if you think you won’t go back to your old library system. For me this meant keeping up with emails from the Eureka! Leadership Institute and keeping track of former colleagues on Linked In and Facebook.
  • Keep an eye on what professional organizations are doing. Follow listservs, attend networking events if you have flexibility with childcare, keep your membership up to date and flip through American Libraries orChildren and Libraries when they arrive.
  • Volunteer doing something you enjoy, even if it’s not directly related to your previous career (extra points for volunteering doing something that IS related, but it’s not necessary). You’ll do a better job, develop skills and probably get a good reference if you’re jazzed about what you’re doing.
  • Start an online presence. A good old-fashioned blog did it for me, but consider starting a group on Facebook in your area of interest, a Pinterest board, or Twitter account that you update regularly.
  • Serve on a committee or a board in a professional, service or non-profit organization. This can be library related or not. There are so many benefits to this; learn about board governance, network, develop programs or policy, work with other motivated individuals for a good cause etc. Meetings are often in the evening or virtual, and most boards or committees welcome new members.
  • Most importantly: DON’T ASSUME THAT A LIBRARIAN CAN ONLY WORK IN A LIBRARY. You may have to shift your expectations for what your ideal job is, but librarians skills are in high demand in many different places, especially in start-up land. Reach out to organizations who are working on products, services or tools in areas that you are interested in and ask to speak with them about what they’re doing. (I got a consulting gig that way! It works!)

– Cen Campbell, Leave of two years, and gradually adding more part-time projects bit by bit.
Prior title: Teen Services Coordinator/Youth Services Librarian, Stanislaus County Library;
Current title: Children’s Librarian/Digital Services Consultant, LittleeLit.com, Mountain View Library, Santa Clara County Library District

I think the main take away that I would pass along is to stay connected, stay in touch, maintain professional memberships, and do something while you are away.  In addition to the project and the leave replacement, I also wrote book reviews and volunteered in the library and classroom at my kids’ school, which were especially relevant given the position I left and returned to.  I would imagine staying connected is even easier today than it was then (pre ubiquitous Internet and email!).  And be open to opportunities or contacts that might seem tangential or not obviously super-relevant; you never know what can come of them.  Part time work evenings and weekends can help you keep your awareness and skills from getting too rusty, as does taking courses, or going to conferences.

– Ann Glannon, Leave of eight years.
Prior title: Curriculum Resources Librarian (college library);
Returned to work as: Curriculum Resources Librarian (college library) – same position

I would take complete advantage of all of the social networking media available to keep on top of trends and literature. But just by raising little kids yourself, you learn a LOT about kids—child development, different styles, different kinds of parenting, too. You will bring something new to the job by having that experience and paying attention.

– Susan Dove Lempke, Leave of ten years.
Prior title: Children’s Librarian I, Chicago Public Library
Current title: Assistant Library Director for Youth, Programming and Technology, Niles, IL

Jeanette LundgrenAny experience that can be used for a resume is valuable.  I volunteered in my children’s school library, helped run the book fair and became the webmaster for the PTO website.  I also kept my association membership active, that way I could kept abreast of what was happening in the field and stay connected.  There are some great professional blogs out there as well.

– Jeanette Lundgren, Leave of nine years from LIS (five spent working in the tech industry)
Prior to leaving LIS: Information Center Specialist, American Society of Training & Development (ASTD)
Re-Entry position: Reference Librarian, Hudson public library
Current title: Systems Librarian, Becker College

cara barlow

Volunteer in your community. Serving on town boards is a *wonderful* learning experience. If you’re taking time off to be with your children enjoy them! They are young for a very short time, but you can work your whole life.  At the end of the day no one ever says they wished they had worked more and spent less time with their children. Write if you can – it clarifies your thinking. Pursue what interests you and what you love.

– Cara Barlow, Leave of sixteen years
Prior title: State Aid Specialist, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners
Current title: Supervisor, Music, Art & Media Department, Nashua Public Library

Keep up with the library world as you can, think about how activities you do while staying home can translate to the work place (organizational skills needed with kids, participating in public library events as a parent and selecting books as a parent–these are good if you want to go into/back into children’s services).
-Anonymous, leave of eighteen months and counting
Prior title: Evening Services Coordinator at a University Library

And as a bonus, here is some final advice from a person who hires librarians, Mac Elrod:
J. McRee Elrod

Subscribe to and read the e0lists in your field, e.g., for cataloguers Autocat, RDA-L, and Bibframe.

– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

I’d like to say thank you again to everyone above for sharing their stories, time, and insight.  If you’d like to share your own experience in the comments below, or your questions, they are open and waiting for you.

Thank YOU for reading!  

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Filed under Academic, Extended Leaves of Absence, Further Answers, Public Services/Reference, Topical Series, Youth Services

Stats and Graphs: More Secrets of Getting Hired (Coding in Process)

It’s Staturday!

Building on what went up last week, I looked a little more at the answers to the question:

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

So far I’ve looked through the first 100 responses (we’re up to 389 total responses now, by the way).  I’m continuing to refine answer categories. Here’s what I have so far:

(what will eventually be) Results!

Networking/Who you Know: 37
Reputation, online or otherwise: 2
Presenting yourself well: 28
Positivity, enthusiasm, and/or passion: 7
Knowledge: 9
Experience: 6
Fit: 11
Luck: 18
Being flexible, thinking outside the box: 5
Persistence, never giving up: 10
I don’t know, you tell me: 21
Research: 7 (such a librarian answer)
The secret is that there is no secret: 3
Youth/Other demographic factor: 4
Not being me: 3

Other: 21

Here is one of the answers I’ve got coded as “other”

Humility. I think employers are scared by people who think they know it all. And no matter how much previous experience or training a candidate has, there will still be a period of adjustment after the hire. The key is admitting that you’re not perfect and projecting enthusiasm, determination, and positivity toward any potential obstacles.

I marked this one for Presenting yourself well and Positivity, enthusiasm, and/or passion, but “humility” is a separate secret I think, so I’ve marked it for other as well.  What do you think?

If you’d like to take a look at the raw data – all the answers to this question – it’s attached here:

Secret to Getting Hired_385

If you decide to do anything with it (and you are welcome to), I ask for three things: make your work freely and publicly available, email me at hiringlibrariansATgmail to let me know what you’ve done, and then link back to this site.


If you’re job hunting, and haven’t taken the survey yet, please do!  If you’ve got friends, please share the link:

http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-written by Naomi House, of I Need A Library Job.  If you’re job hunting, INALJ is a wealth of information and it has job ads up the wazoo.  

You can either comment below, or email hiringlibrariansATgmail.

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Stats and Graphs

Further Answers: What happened when you decided to return to the workforce?

This is a companion post to this week’s Further Questions, and the second post in a series of three about extended leaves of absence. Here is what happened: a reader who is about to leave work due to the incipient arrival of twin babies wrote in to ask if people who hire librarians could give some advice to people in her situation.  I thought that this was the sort of thing where the experiences of people who had been in similar situations might be even more helpful, so I collected some respondents from various listservs and the ALA Think Tank Facebook group, and am now presenting them for your edification.

This week I asked people who had returned to work after a multi-year absence:

What happened when you decided to return to the workforce? How did you frame your absence? How long did it take to get rehired? Was the position you found similar to the one you had before you left?

Kathy JarombekI had always planned to go back to work full time when my youngest entered Kindergarten but, when the time came, neither my husband nor I were quite willing to give up the family time that we enjoyed. But we couldn’t afford the status quo either, so in 2000 I approached the head of Youth Services at the Ferguson and asked if I could work there part-time on a more regular basis. Since by this time she knew my work from the subbing and the storytimes – and since I had left the library on good terms in 1986 – she was able to hire me for 19 hrs/week. I worked at Ferguson 3 days a week from 9 to 2:30 and one evening a week – the other two days I kept my storytelling job at the Perrot. This way, I was able to work and still meet my children’s bus in the afternoon. The Ferguson also agreed to give me the summers off (except for the evenings when my husband could be with the kids), since there are school librarians who are willing to work extra hours in the summer. As far as “framing my absence” – well, they all knew me so they knew why I had been out of the workforce. But they also knew that I was still interested in my library career because I made a real effort to keep up with library friends and with the latest developments and, most importantly, with the books – because knowledge of books is so crucial for a Children’s Librarian. And I could be wrong, but I don’t think librarianship is the kind of career where taking time off to have kids is viewed as a sign of lack of commitment.

In 2004, my husband and I could see that my working part-time wasn’t going to put two kids through college and that we really needed to get some medical benefits – since my husband was self-employed, we had been buying our own and the rates kept going up. But my kids were still in elementary school so I didn’t think I wanted to work year round in a public library. I made the decision to go back to school part-time and get an education degree – keeping my job at the Ferguson, but giving up my job at the Perrot. In 2006, I got my degree and immediately found work with the Greenwich Public Schools as a School Library Media Specialist, which is a shortage area here in Connecticut. Both the head of Youth Services at Perrot and at the Ferguson gave me recommendations. My kids were both now in middle school and we were all on the same schedule. Then in 2009, the Director of Youth Services job at Perrot became vacant and the director here asked me if I would come back and head the department. By now, my kids were in high school and so I said yes. So I am basically back doing the same job I did in New Canaan – heading up a small but vibrant Youth Services Department in Connecticut.

So how long did it take me to get rehired initially? Not long at all – I think because I really made an effort to keep my hand in and to keep up with all my contacts in the library world. I think that the people who hired me felt as if I never really left the field and that I still saw myself as a children’s librarian – just one who was on an extended leave. As for the rest, I kind of made it up as I went along, taking on new opportunities when I felt the time was right for me and for my family. When I applied for the school job, although I was an unknown quantity as a school media specialist, my supervisor at Perrot gave me a reference and she knew the woman who hired me well since the school job was in the same town as the Perrot.

– Kathy Jarombek, Leave of six years.
Prior title: Department Head for Children’s Services, New Canaan;
Current title: Director of Youth Services and Member of the 2014 Newbery Committee, Perrot Memorial Library

Veronica Arellano DouglasI left a continuing appointment-track academic librarian job in 2009 and ended up getting a tenure-track academic librarian job again in 2011. The job I ended up getting after my absence was with the same library where I worked part-time in circulation and reference, which I know helped move my application up the pipeline. The people who hired me knew that my work gap was related to my husband’s relocation, my pregnancy, and a period of bereavement leave, so I didn’t have to frame my absence from the profession at all.

It felt good to have a CV that maintained my professional involvement in ALA and ACRL during a period of employment inactivity.

– Veronica Arellano Douglas, Leave of two years.
Prior title: Psychology & Social Work Librarian at the University of Houston;
Current title: Reference & Instruction Librarian at St. Mary’s College of Maryland

I had not planned to leave the workforce when I had the baby, so I knew that I wanted to go back eventually. I was happy to spend those years at home, but as my son approached preschool age I began the job search. I returned to work as a part time librarian six months after the search began. I work in a public library and had several years of experience in public libraries before my absence.
– Aimee Haley, Leave of three and a half years.
Prior title: Librarian (Public Library);
Current title: Librarian (Public Library)

Miriam Lang BudinI actually was contacted by libraries to come back to work before I’d intended to return. The first attempt (when my oldest was 15 months) was not a success. I was hired for a part-time position, was the only children’s librarian in the library, had no full-time staff devoted to the children’s room and felt that I was doing a half-assed job at work and at home. I resigned after six months (and promptly came down with mono!).

A few years later I worked about one weekend a month as a substitute reference librarian. I think that’s a good tactic for getting back into the workforce, as it updates your familiarity with new technologies and with the collection of wherever you’re working, but doesn’t demand much in the way of program planning and execution, collection maintenance and development and the other day-to-day or long-range duties of a full-time librarian.

When my youngest had just turned five another library asked me to fill in for one of their children’s librarians who had a serious illness. They were so anxious for help that they let me bring my five-year-old with me for two months on the couple of afternoons a week they needed me to work until he could go to a full-day day camp. That was a highly unusual arrangement! I increased my hours when the summer began, but was still part-time with no benefits.

When the youngest started full-day kindergarten I applied for the first full-time children’s librarian position that opened up in our county. I don’t know how many applicants I was up against or anything like that. I got the job. I would say that the position was comparable to the one I’d left when I went into labor with the first baby: the only children’s librarian in the children’s room of a public library.

– Miriam Lang Budin, Leave of eleven years.
Prior title: Children’s Librarian, Larchmont Public Library;
Current title: Head of Children’s Services, Chappaqua Library

Cen CampbellI wasn’t even looking for a position when I saw a recruitment for an on-call librarian position open up in my neighborhood library 2 years after I’d quit my full time job, but I thought I’d give it a shot. In the interview I addressed the fact that I hadn’t been working full time since my son was born, but the combination of my strong resume from before I quit, and the initiative I’d shown developing and implementing Book Babies was enough to convince the library to hire me. I was also told later that one of the reasons they hired me was because I’d had experience working with adults and teens as well as kids, and was therefore more flexible when it came to working in different departments within the library.

Just after I started working in my new part time position I began a blog (LittleeLit.com) where I began to document my interest in incorporating digital media into children’s services and programming. Another very part-time position opened up at another local library system, and I was hired to begin piloting some technology-based children’s programs, which I also developed and documented. That work caught the attention of other library systems, library advocacy groups and children’s content developers, and I have been implementing programs, training staff and developing reading platforms ever since. I have since begun serving on the ALSC Children & Technology committee, I’ve presented at a number of different conferences and I’ve been hired by a number of different organizations to develop professional development materials for training children’s libraries in the use of emergent technology.

NEVER in a million years could I have foreseen though that I’d someday be an “expert” in the use of technology with children in public libraries, but the time that I took off gave me some perspective on the nature of my job. When I returned to the workforce, I had a more objective view of the services that libraries offer, and that they need to begin offering. There was no one developing the kind of guidelines and content that I was looking for, so I began to do it myself. Now I enjoy the flexibility of choosing the projects I work on, having a flexible schedule to hang out with my son when he needs it, and knowing that I’m helping to build a community of knowledge that can guide the development of best practices for the future when most of the content we deal with in libraries is digital (yes, even with children). I don’t think I would have started walking this career path had I NOT taken the time off and then had to be creative about getting back in.

– Cen Campbell, Leave of two years, and gradually adding more part-time projects bit by bit.
Prior title: Teen Services Coordinator/Youth Services Librarian, Stanislaus County Library;
Current title: Children’s Librarian/Digital Services Consultant, LittleeLit.com, Mountain View Library, Santa Clara County Library District

I went back to work initially working a couple of evenings a week and every other weekend for a suburban library, and by the time they needed a new head of youth services, I was ready to come back to work part time. It all worked out extremely nicely for me!

– Susan Dove Lempke, Leave of ten years.
Prior title: Children’s Librarian I, Chicago Public Library
Current title: Assistant Library Director for Youth, Programming and Technology, Niles, IL

Jeanette LundgrenI started to worry about the length of time I had been away from the workforce and knew that the longer I was out, the more difficult it would be to find a full-time job when I wanted one.  After being out for about five years I decided to apply for a part-time Reference Librarian position at a public library.  I sent out a few applications and did get an interview at about the third job I applied for.  I was honest about why I hasn’t been working.  I had been working as a software developer and been laid off about the same time we started a family.  While I hold my MLS, I hadn’t worked in the library field since graduate school, about 10 years prior.  It took a few months to get an interview and I was offered the position.  The position was entry-level and very different from where I had been working when I left.  I went from there to a part-time Reference Librarian job at Becker College in 2006, a job that could grow with me and offer more hours.  This year I accepted a full-time 10 month position as the Systems Librarian.

– Jeanette Lundgren, Leave of nine years from LIS (five spent working in the tech industry)
Prior to leaving LIS: Information Center Specialist, American Society of Training & Development (ASTD) 
Re-Entry position: Reference Librarian, Hudson public library
Current title: Systems Librarian, Becker College

Theresa AgostinelliI have been working as a librarian for almost seventeen years. Back in 2004, while working full-time as Electronic Resources Librarian at the Monroe Township Public Library and serving as vice president/president elect of the NJLA Reference section, I became pregnant with my first child. After the birth of my daughter, Natalie, I stepped down to part-time employment so I could spend time with my daughter, while keeping my hands in the profession. A few months after my daughter, Natalie was born, I assumed my role as president of Reference Section, emailing my members and potential speakers with a lively baby in the room. I was fortunate to have an incredibly helpful and supportive vice president who I could rely on to pick up the slack when I could not find childcare. I also attended a few meetings and planning sessions with Natalie when she was a few months old. My employer was supportive of my choice to stay home for a few months before returning to work part-time. They allowed me to complete some tasks from home to keep thing running. Since they were so flexible with me, I made sure that I returned every email and completed each assignment as quickly as I could.

– Theresa Agostinelli, Leave from full time work of seven and a half years and counting
Prior title: Electronic Resources Librarian, Monroe Township Public Library 
Current title: Instructional/Educational Services Librarian, Monroe Township Public Library

cara barlowI decided to return full-time to the workforce when my oldest daughter (who was 16 years old at the time) told me that she wanted to graduate high school and get her cosmetology license. I needed to find a full-time job in order to pay for her drivers ed, to help her with a car and to pay the school tuition. I graduated Anna in Spring of 2012 and she’ll start her licensing program in Fall of 2013.

I was truthful with everyone who I interviewed with for the part-time and full-time jobs, though I downplayed or didn’t mention that I homeschooled my daughters – even just a few years ago (it’s better now) there was a stigma surrounding homeschooling your children.

I told interviewers that I made the decision to stay home with my children when they were young, but that (when applying for part-time work) I felt ready to begin re-entering the library profession. When I was searching for my full-time job I told them that I my oldest daughter had graduated from high school early and I was looking for full-time work to help her pay for what she wanted to do next – cosmetology school. I also emphasized that I was looking for new challenges and would love to work for them.

I found a full-time job within weeks. The position I have now was posted a few days after I started searching. I interviewed and was offered it within two weeks. It was at a library where I had filled in for a reference librarian’s maternity leave and medical leave, so they knew me.

My current position isn’t like any other library position I’ve had before, but my time working on boards, in small-town politics, on the newspaper and homeschooling my children along with my BFA in fine art, my MLS and library experience gave me skills that made me a good fit for the position – they needed someone with an arts background, with connections in the local arts community, who had communication skills, people skills, could build community and was comfortable thinking outside of the box.
Cara Barlow, Leave of sixteen years
Prior title: State Aid Specialist, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners
Current title: Supervisor, Music, Art & Media Department, Nashua Public Library

I have applied for jobs periodically in the last year and a half–we toy with me going back to work now and then. In my most recent job applications, I both emphasized the professional experiences I had before my gap, and talked about what I’ve done to stay relevant.

-Anonymous, leave of eighteen months and counting
Prior title: Evening Services Coordinator at a University Library

I’d like to say thank you again to everyone above for sharing their stories, time, and insight.  If you’d like to share your own experience in the comments below, or your questions, they are open and waiting for you.

Thank YOU for reading!  

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Filed under Academic, Extended Leaves of Absence, Further Answers, Public Services/Reference, Topical Series, Youth Services