Tag Archives: Public library

This Should Be a Profession That Cares and Has Empathy, Not a Profession That Reinforces a “Dog Eat Dog World.”

This post originally appeared on April 21, 2013. A year two follow up will post shortly.
raymond wangRaymond Wang volunteers at both the East Los Angeles College library and the Pacifica Radio Archive. He is proud of his work with students, both in his current position as a part-time tutor, where he has helped three students go from struggling to getting an A or B, and in his previous work at the Prince George County Public Schools (DC suburb), where 95% of students are on free or reduced lunch and his 7th grade Algebra class achieved an 80% student pass rate on their Maryland High School Assessment Test. Mr. Wang has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months, in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the entry level. Here is how he describes his experience with internships/volunteering:

Pacifica Radio Archives Feb 2013
East Los Angeles Community college Jan 2013- Present
Santa Barbara Public Library Aug 2012-Dec 2012
Duke Univ Perkins Library Jan 2010-May 2010

Mr. Wang was previously a college radio DJ at WXYC Chapel Hill and KVRX Austin, and he plays violin, keyboard and laptop. In his free time he collaborates with friends to make music. He has a featured article and a poem on the APALA segment “What’s Your Normal?” Mr Wang is in an urban area in the Western US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

TRAINING
TRAINING
TRAINING

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA, Libgig, email listserv (CALIX, INFOLIT)

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?

I review the job description very thoroughly
Contemplate for hours to see if I meet the job description
If I decide I do, then I tailor my resume to the posting
Write a cover letter that showcases my experiences and skills to explain why you should hire me.
Send it to friends for edits (usually several iterations)
Contact references via email to make sure they are OK with me using them
Provide my references.
Fill out the application attach resume, cover letter and references.

Usually a week or 20 hrs for a library fellows position, depends on the job.

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
√ Other: Let me know how I can improve my application

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
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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

Provide a clear and succinct job description.
Be honest and realistic with regards to qualifications, experiences and job duties
Librarians are not clowns, we shouldn’t have to wear 20 different hats and juggle 5 batons or more. We didn’t go to school to work for Ringling Bros.
Show some respect,support and encouragement towards potential job seekers, don’t treat them like just another number. Always follow up, communicate, explain why and take the time as we have taken the time to fill out your application.

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

They need to make the online application more user friendly with less hoops.
Make it more personal.
Answer questions about the position with detail and honesty
Be thorough and not ambiguous
Most of all be respectful and understanding that there are people who have been unemployed for 2 or more years without income, experience and accumulated a lot of debt.
This should be a profession that cares and has empathy not a profession that reinforces “a dog eat dog world.”

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Connections
Hard Skills
Soft Skills,
Experience
AND MOST OF ALL TIMING!

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

Thank you for taking the time to create this survey. Also, I hope this will let the politicians and higher ups know how difficult it is to get a job. Library Fellowships need to be more flexible on the terms of graduation dates! There are also needs to be more of them.

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, Urban area, Western US

Stop Wasting Applicants’ Time

This post originally appeared on March 24, 2013. A follow up with Ms. Parham will post in just a few moments.
Cathy ParhamCathy Parham earned her MLIS in 1998 from University of Alabama (ROLL TIDE)!! Most of her career has been spent in school libraries. She has experience in elementary, middle and high schools and three months experience in a public library as a Children’s Librarian.  She is currently the Senior Librarian at Sheik Zayed Private Academy in Abu Dhabi, UAE. She has been job hunting for more than 18 months, in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, Special libraries, radio, television, and theater, at the following levels: Supervisory, Department Head, and Senior Librarian. Ms. Parham is in a city/town in the UAE, and is willing to move anywhere. 

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

1. Salary

2. Benefits

3. Compatability

 Where do you look for open positions?

I Need a Library Job

USA Jobs

Gems Schools

Department of Education

ALA Joblist

Random online sites

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?

I usually look at the requirements and if I meet the requirements I try to align my resume to the requirements. I have already uploaded my documents on most sites I apply for jobs so I resubmit them (required documents) if it is required. It may take several days to submit the actual application/resume. I don’t spend more than an hour at a time on an application. It gets too intense if I spend more than an hour doing an application.

 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?

1. Don’t make the job description off putting. I am confident I can perform the tasks set forth for ANY librarian, however, when I read a job description I am often put off by the wording of the details and requirements. Why make it so wordy and complex? I am a school librarian and I perform EVERY duty required of any librarian from budgeting, management, teaching, cataloging, etc. However, when job searching, the descriptions don’t use simple terms, they use terms to put off job hunters. They describe the same jobs duties I perform but they put it in more technical terms.

2. Be honest about the availability of the job opening; if the job is already promised to your sister’s cousin’s husband’s friend just tell me. Stop wasting my time, especially if I never had a chance in the beginning.

3. Be fair in your salary offer. I DESERVE to be paid just like you.

4. Would it be too difficult to tell me why I didn’t get the job other than the standard “you were not qualified”, especially when I am qualified?

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

Stop hiring people they know and actually hire someone who is qualified for the job. Stop wasting applicant’s time. If you have someone in mind why lead us on? Why even post the announcement? If you have to post the announcement by law, shouldn’t you have to hire the right applicant by law? Instead of someone you know or someone who knows someone?

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Knowing someone who can put in a good word for you. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Unfortunately.

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

I would like to know how to write my resume to reflect my experience. I desperately want to move into another area of this field, but can’t seem to get out of the ‘black hole’ of education. Could someone provide some type of example of a resume when moving from one area to another? Has anyone else moved from schools to special/public libraries?

I think the questions on the survey are very well thought out and to the point.

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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Appeal to Library Schools

This post originally appeared on February 10, 2013. I will post a year two follow-up with Ryan in just a few moments.
Ryan DreierRyan Dreier is currently the Volunteer Director at The Salvation Army of Brown County, where over 3,000 volunteers have logged at least one hour of service in 2012! He also works at FedEx Office as a “Generalist.” A librarian in the making, Mr. Dreier will finish his MLIS at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee this year. He has been job hunting for a year to 18 months in academic and public libraries, at the entry level. Of his internship/volunteering experience, he says:

Graduating by the end of summer, have done some volunteer work, no formal internship as I work two jobs to put myself through school without debt

He is in a city/town, in the Midwestern US, and is willing to move within an eight hour drive from home. You can follow him on Twitter @ryonlibraryon. Ryan also says:

Green Bay, WI–GO PACKERS!!!!

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

An opportunity to learn and grow
A position to use my experiences to grow programs
The opportunity to serve the community and share and disseminate information

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist

Libgig

Wisconsin Valley Job Posting Boards

inalj.com

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?

I usually include my resume, transcript, references, cover letter, and that’s on top of the job application requested by the potential employer

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

√ Other: Sometimes I feel like its a matter of interpretation on skill assessment surveys

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage

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
√ Other: Commutation of expectations and vision of that specific library

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

Appeal to library schools, and post openings

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

Provide feedback on what you could do to improve when requested

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I think the secret is that you have to know someone or that full time positions are being filled by paraprofessionals or professionals that are on staff but only working part time, leaving little room to get in.

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 City/town, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US

Be Transparent as to Whether You Are Forward-Thinking & Innovative

This post originally appeared on February 18, 2013. A year two follow up will be posted in just a few moments.
When she was at Rutgers, Lauren Read (MLIS 2009) worked at Montclair (NJ) Public Library, getting a delicious taste of most every department. She then decided to relocate while looking for her first full-time professional job … during the recession.  Ms. Read has been looking for more than 18 months in public libraries at the entry level. This is how she describes her internship/volunteering experience:

I worked for four part-time years as a public library assistant leading up to the degree.

I had a one-semester internship in a public library reference department.

Ms. Read is in a city/town in the Southern US, and is willing to move anywhere. She keeps active through ALA and PLA conferences and magazines, NCLA networking events and workshops, and countless (free) webinars.  Keeping optimistic happens intrinsically.  Find her at about.me/laread.

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

Public Librarianship

Professional (as opposed to parapro)

An organization that communicates well and is either innovative or open to having me sweep creative changes

Where do you look for open positions?

Aside from INALJ, I subscribe to vast amounts of job interest cards directly through city/county government websites and have some other bookmarks to gov sites that do not have this service.

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?

It totally varies, because if it’s through a site (like neogov) where I already have a profile, I just write a cover letter.  Other times I need to hand fill-out an application in addition to everything else that gets mailed in.  And everything in between.  I probably average 45 minutes per application.

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?

√ 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?

Be transparent as to whether you are forward-thinking & innovative or a traditional conservative organization.

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

I would appreciate being informed of how many people applied and how many were selected for interview.  Sometimes I learn this and feel better about not making it (or indeed making it at least one step)!

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Standing out … in a good way.  Enthusiasm, confidence, and passion!  Carrying oneself well in an interview, speaking clearly and concisely but thoroughly, is also helpful.

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 City/town, Job hunter's survey, Public, Southern US

Be Very Clear on What the Minimum Requirements are for the Position.

This post originally appeared on 02/25/2013. We will be following up for the second year with Nicole in just a few moments.

This interview is with job hunter Nicole Usiondek, who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field) and has been looking for a new position for a year to 18 months. Ms. Usiondek  has her MLIS and M.A. in History from Wayne State University and a B.A. in History from Oakland University. Prior to working in the library field, she spent 5 years working in the Intellectual Property field as an analyst and paralegal. She has experience working in both academic and public libraries and found rewarding experiences in both settings. Consequently, she is looking in both Academic and Public libraries at the following levels: Entry level and Requiring at least two years of experience. When asked about her internship/volunteering experience, she said:

I have roughly 30 months of volunteer and part time work experience in public and academic libraries.

Ms. Usiondek lives in an urban area in the Southern US, and is willing to move anywhere. Nicole is starting a blog at www.nicoleusiondek.com.

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

Full time, growth opportunity, great culture.

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ, ALA JobLIST, individual sites, Indeed, listservs, and LinkedIn.

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?

60 to 90 minutes.

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?

Be very clear on what the minimum requirements are for the position.

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

Communication.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I think it’s who you know.

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, Job hunter's survey, Public, Southern US, Urban area

Creative Freedom/Independence

This post originally appeared on January 4, 2013. A follow up with Ms. Musser will post in just a few minutes.
Amy MusserAmy Seto Musser is preparing to graduate from Texas Woman’s University  in the spring of 2013. She’s excited to combine her professional theatre experience with her library science education to create dynamic interactive programming and services for children. She has been looking for a new position for less than six months, in public libraries, at the entry level and requiring at least two years of experience. Here is how Ms. Musser describes her internship/volunteering experience:

I have volunteered at various public libraries off and on since childhood. Recently, I’ve volunteered specifically for the children’s department of a public library, which allowed me to gain experience doing displays, collection maintenance, and other special projects (flannel boards, etc.).

Other volunteering – Reading to kids at preschools, Indexing a history book for a local author, Planning/Presenting storytimes for summer festivals

I will be starting my internship/practicum for grad school this month, which is 120 hours of work. I also had a work-study fellowship in undergrad as a music librarian cataloging, binding, and organizing sheet music.

Ms. Musser is in a suburban area of the Western US, and is willing to move anywhere. Check out her blogs: http://chapterbookexplorer.blogspot.com/ & http://picturebookaday.blogspot.com/

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

1-Creative freedom/independence
2-Job security
3-A library system that supports and promotes children’s services as much as adult services

Where do you look for open positions?

Professional listservs, ALA Joblist, Libraryjobline.org, pnla.org, websites for specific libraries I am interested in.

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?

I spend approximately 4-6 hours on each application. Most of that time is spent figuring out how to incorporate the required or preferred skills listed on the job description with my experience.

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?

√ Phone

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 am just starting my job hunt and haven’t had the opportunity to interview yet, so I can’t answer this question with much authority.

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

I am just starting my job hunt and haven’t had the opportunity to interview yet, so I can’t answer this question with much authority.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Networking and connections, as well as being as prepared as possible. Preparedness includes learning as much as possible about the library, the community (users and non-users), exploring the facility on your own (if possible), and having pertinent and insightful questions to ask during the interview.

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, Public, Suburban area, Western US

The Renaissance Person

This post originally appeared on February 17, 2013. We are posting a follow up with Ms. Schuldner in just a few minutes.
Dina Schuldner
Dina Schuldner is a recent graduate of Queens College, holding an MA and an MLS. She is an Adult Reference Librarian assisting in Young Adult and Children’s Services at  Mineola Memorial Library, in Nassau County, NY. Ms. Schuldner was hired within the last three months, but previously had been job hunting for less than six months, looking in public libraries for entry level positions. Here is what she has to say regarding her internship/volunteering experience:

As a paid library page at Mineola Memorial Library, also attending library school, I was permitted during my off hours to be trained by the librarians on the staff. During that time, I was taught computer systems, weeding, purchasing, reader’s advisory, programming, etc. I did that for about a year.

She is in a suburban area in the Northeastern US, and does not anticipate moving but will do if necessary. She is a member of ALA, RUSA, YALSA, ALSC, and NCLA (Nassau County Library Association).  She can be contacted on Twitter (@DinaSchuldner), or on LinkedIn.

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

Working in a public library, in the same county where I live, as a librarian.

Where do you look for open positions?

Professional Listserv, Nassau County Civil Service

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?

I have an online portfolio whose link I include on my resume, which I send via paper or email in response to job postings.

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

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Other: In person

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

√ Other: Determining what type of professional service I’m expected to provide.

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

“Best” means fitting the organization’s needs. Therefore, they should be specific in the job announcement about exactly what would be required of the librarian.

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

Allow the applicant to have some say in the time and day of the interview.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being flexible enough to work in any environment with all types of personalities. The Renaissance person.

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

A question you could ask is what interview styles candidates have experienced in their job search, and how they accommodated themselves to the interviewer in order to get the job they got.

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, Suburban area