Tag Archives: Public library

Security, Wage, Satisfaction

Sylvia BlySylvia Bly graduated from Wayne State University in 2012 with a MLIS and a Certificate in Records Information Management. She is currently employed by Deloitte LP as an intern in their Records Information Management area.  She says:

The internship has been a wonderful experience. I have learned a great deal of information relating to the records environment, and am eager to continue in my career.

She has been job hunting for more than 18 months, at Library vendors/service providers, Public and Special libraries, and in Records, for positions at the level of requiring at least two years of experience. Ms. Bly is in a city/town in the Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere. She belongs to ALA and SLA as well as ARMA.  You can contact her via LinkedIn.

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

Security
Wage
Satisfaction

Where do you look for open positions?

Careerbuilder
Monster
ALA Joblist
various listservs
LinkedIn
Indeed.com

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?

Depends on what the job position is asking for.  Anywhere from 15 to 30 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?

√ Phone

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 with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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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Being a New Grad I Feel Better Applying to Jobs That Indicate They are a Place to Grow and Learn

This post originally appeared on March 10, 2013. Her year two follow up will post in just a few moments.
Neyda GilmanNeyda Gilman has a VERY recent MLIS, as her degree was conferred February 1st! Librarianship will be a second career, after working as a medical technologist for five years. She is a graduate reference assistant at the University at Buffalo’s Health Sciences Library  Ms. Gilman has been looking for less than six months, in academic libraries, archives, and special libraries, at the entry level. Here is how she describes her internship/volunteering experience:

I currently work part time at a library on campus. I have also done practicums at a public library, hospital library, and in a special collection. When my part time work ends soon I plan on continuing to volunteer there until I can find a job.

She is in a city/town, in the Northeastern US, and is willing to move anywhere, although

location is important so if I don’t think I could be happy living there I probably won’t take the job.

Ms. Gilman is a 2011 ALA Spectrum Scholar (MLA/NLM Scholar). You can learn more about her by visiting her e-portfolio or LinkedIn profile.

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

Type of library – I am interested in Academic (especially health sciences) or hospital

Location – I am looking nationwide (and Canada), but only apply to places in locations I think I would enjoy living

Mentorship/guidance – this is not necessary, but being a new grad I feel better applying to jobs that indicate they are a place to grow and learn

Where do you look for open positions?

Mostly indeed.com and ALA joblist. I also check MLA jobs and am on numerous listservs.

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?

One application will take at least a day, usually more, depending on what they want. I start with my resume or CV (whichever one they specify) since that is the easiest – I use a similar resume/CV for most applications and it doesn’t usually take long to customize it for the specific job. Next I work on my cover letter and this is that part that takes the longest. Last is compiling my list of references – I have a list of about ten people who have all agreed to be references and I choose from that list depending on the job. The exception to this is if the job wants an actual letter or form filled out; in these cases the first thing I do is contact my references.

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

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

Put the posting out in as many areas as possible. Don’t have too strict of requirements. Having a lot of preferred qualifications is good, but I get really discouraged when I don’t meet one qualification out of a long list of required qualifications. There have been jobs that I know I would be good at and would love doing, but didn’t apply because there was one or two qualifications that I didn’t fully meet.

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

Keep the lines of communication open. If I am not a top choice, fine but let me know. Even if I am still being considered but not in the first batch of interviewees I want to know where I stand.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I’ll let you know when I get a job. 🙂

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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Preparation, Research and Enthusiasm

This interview originally appeared on February 4th, 2013.  I am reposting in light of her follow-up interview, which will run in just a few moments.
Lauren Bourdages

This interview is with Lauren Bourdages, who will be graduating from the Library and Information Technician (LIT)**, and Records and Information Management programs at Conestoga College in Kitchener ON in the spring of 2013. Ms. Bourdages was hired into her first “real” job in the industry in June of this year, as the (part-time) Advancement Assistant, Gift Processing and Records Management for St. Jerome’s University.She has been job hunting for a year to 18 months, in Academic libraries, with library vendors/service providers, public libraries, school libraries, special libraries, companies with info management needs, and anywhere with a fundraising department, for entry-level and positions requiring two years of experience. On internships/volunteering, Ms. Bourdages has this to say:

I am a new grad from a Canadian Library Technician program; for this program I completed 2 internships. For the first I was the sole Library Technician under a Research Librarian in a small special library (we were the only two staff) for a world renowned global policy think tank. For my second internship I focussed on information architecture and management as a SharePoint Development Intern with the Office of Advancement at a local University. During the first year of my two year diploma program I also volunteered weekly as a Book Reserves Assistant at the local Public Library.

She lives in a city/town in Canada, and is not willing to move.  She has two upcoming projects, writing a book blog called Novel Concepts, and heading up the soon-to-launch INALJ Ontario.

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

Flexible hours

Variety in tasks

Mainly working on a computer

Where do you look for open positions?

Specific library and company websites, eluta.ca, The University of Western Ontario FIMS job board, The University of Toronto iSchool job board

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?

Customising resume and cover letter to reflect the job posting and organisation’s needs/how I fulfill them. Takes me about 2 hours.

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?

Create extremely thorough job description postings that always include the salary range. Ensure their postings appear on relevant industry job boards such as UWO FIMS and UofT iSchool. Advertise their organisations through industry professional association publications.

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

Open the lines of communication as much as possible to keep all applicants in the loop.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Preparation, research and enthusiasm.

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

I think a question about previous related work not involving internships would be a good question.

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

**Lauren also says:

LIT programs are governed and accredited by the Canadian Library Association in the same way that MLS/MLIS/MSLS programs are governed and accredited by the American Library Association. Here in Canada you can and will find Technicians and Librarians working side by side at every level in the Library and Information Industry, in both the traditional and non-traditional settings.

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Further Questions: How easy is it to switch between different types of librarianship?

This week we have a question from a reader.  She asks:

With the job market being the way it is, I have generally been looking for jobs in both public and academic libraries. How easy is it to switch between different types of librarianship? Do public libraries see an applicant with lots of academic experience and automatically dismiss them, or vice versa?

Laurie Phillips

I have been an academic librarian for 24 years but, before that, I worked in reference at a large public library. Reference was very different in an academic library than in the public library – not nearly as interesting when I first came here, but now I have a lot more opportunities to work with students. The skills are the same but the teaching and relationships that are part of academic librarianship generally aren’t there in public libraries. That said, I think you can apply successfully for both. Just know that you will have to highlight different skills and successfully respond to different environments. One of our most successful hires came from public school teaching and public librarianship. When he applied here, he tailored his letter of application to show how well he fit the qualifications for a job that was just being developed.

– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans 

 

Christine Hage - Dark backgroundIt depends on the job pool.  Generally we get enough applicants that is is highly unlikely that we would look an academic librarian for a public library position.  This is not to say that we haven’t had academic librarians with NO public library experience apply for a youth services position.  In fact I just interviewed one today who had lots of sports coaching experience with young kids, but no public library experience.  Even with coaching experience he wasn’t qualified to work with kids in a public library.
If the position were in a large public library and in a subject department there might be more relevance.  In that case a public library might really be looking for a subject specialist, but in the run of the mill public library not so much.
I realize that library education isn’t all that different for public and academic libraries (merely a couple of different courses), but the experience is very different.  If an academic librarian volunteered or worked as a substitute librarian in a public library I might be inclined to consider them.  Other than that I’d stick to people who studied and / or have worked in public libraries.
– Christine Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library
Petra Mauerhoff, CEO, Shortgrass Library SystemMy personal experience has been that after a certain amount of time spent in one type of library one does tend to get pigeon-holed as knowing only about that type of work.
I have made the switch from special library to public library and then into post-secondary library work for a short amount of time and back into public libraries. Speaking from my personal experience, on an administrative/management level, the duties are very similar and transfer easily.
Recently, our regional library system (serving public libraries and school libraries) was going through a hiring process for a technology related management position and we interviewed candidates from academic libraries. We found out during the conversations that to a large extent the duties appeared to be similar: vendor relations, budgeting, ensuring services are relevant to the audience served.
The most important aspect always seems to be how willing the incumbent is to learn about their new environment. This is of course the case even when switching jobs within the same type of library. Be a “sponge” during your first while on the new job: absorb as much about the new environment as you can, learn about how things are done and WHY. Immerse yourself in the culture of the new place of employment, to find out what the priorities of the organization as a whole as well as those of the individual departments are.
The basic principles of excellent customer service and the (relatively) seamless provision of access to relevant resources will likely be the same, no matter which type of library you find yourself in.
I also wanted to mention again that our library system is currently part of a Shared Intern Librarian initiative, in which we share a newly graduated Librarian for a period of 12 months with our local public library as well as our local College Library Services. The Librarian spends equal amounts of time at each institution and thus is provided with experience in three different types of library organizations. Given that new grads often have to choose between types of libraries without actual experience that might tell them which they would prefer (or have an aptitude for), we figured this initiative was a great way to allow new grads to gain experience in different library organizations and then lets them make an educated decision after the 12 months. Plus, it gives them great work experience and they come out of the 12 month period with three “bosses” who are able to provide (so far, glowing) references.
And yes, we do pay our Interns.
– Petra Mauerhoff, CEO, Shortgrass Library System
Sarah MorrisonI would consider any library experience as “library experience” when reviewing applicants.  Academic, public, special, corporate, every library requires the same basic skills—order to fit the collection, stay within a budget, work within the hierarchy, work in teams or on committees, work in a hectic environment, deal with technology issues, choose and explain databases, handle problem patrons, etc.  Not having switched between libraries after I began full-time work, I can’t absolutely say, but I know people who have made the switch.  It would be more about finding jobs that meet your skill set and marketing those skills.
– Sarah Morrison, Adult Services Librarian, Neill Public Library, Pullman, Washington
I feel that experience is experience-both work with patrons/students. I would be more hesitant to hire someone with only TS experience, for example, to work as a Reference/Public Services librarian.
– Kaye Grabbe, Director, Lake Forest (Public) Library, Lake Forest, IL.
Jason GrubbI don’t think the switch is as difficult as some in our profession would have you believe. I’ve successful transitioned back and forth between both type of libraries throughout my career. I’ve watched friends and colleagues do the same. I currently work in a public library where we have hired several librarians who only had academic library experience. The key is to show with your application and interview how your library experience in any type of library is relevant and transferable to the position you are applying to.
– Jason Grubb, Director, Sweetwater County Library System
Celia RabinowitzAs a profession we seem to have often told new librarians to pick a track and stick with it because switching between types of libraries is difficult, or at least it is hard to convince search committees that it can be done successfully.  The switch might be easier for some subfields than for others, and it is certainly the case there are many differences in the audiences served, resources, and services provided.  That said, I am always looking for someone who can demonstrate in a cover letter that they “get” the job that is open and that they can match their qualifications and approach to the work with the position we have available.  It isn’t always easy.  I think it’s fair to say my library faculty might have a bias toward candidates with academic library experience.  I think this is an example of a situation where the cover letter can be the most important part of an application.  Why do you want to make the switch (if you are already working in the other type of library)?  If you are applying for both simultaneously it is absolutely worth the time it takes to craft cover letters that clearly address the jobs.  The same letter won’t work for different libraries.  Is it a challenge?  I think it still is.  Should academic libraries simply overlook candidates who have most, or all, of their experience in public libraries?  I don’t think so.  I want to be talked into it, so go for it.
– Celia Rabinowitz, Director of the Library, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

I can only speak from an academic perspective to respond to this question. I would say that it very much depends on the hiring manager. I know many academic librarians will not hire librarians out of the public library, but I think it has to do with the differences in administrative structure (City Council verses Higher Education). Also, many academic libraries are tenure track which requires scholarly publishing, presenting, professional service which is not required of public librarians (however many of them do these things).

From my personal perspective as a hiring manager in a public services setting in an academic library, I frequently hire librarians (and support staff) from public libraries because they usually bring with them very strong customer service skills. While many public librarians aren’t publishing, they are frequently involved in community service, service in professional organizations, and are used to giving presentations so I feel they can make the transition easily enough and their stellar customer service skills are worth the extra mentoring I might have to do in the scholarly area.

– Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Eagle Commons Library, University of North Texas Libraries

For more on this topic, take a look at How Can Candidates Changing Library Types, or Fields, Best Present Their Skills? from September 2013.

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  She got sequins in her hair, Like she stepped out off of a Fellini film, She sat in a white straw comment.

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Further Questions: If you hire interns, do you pay them?

The responses to this week’s Further Questions were a little sparse.  I’m hoping that you will have some comments, dear readers, about your own experiences.   

This week I asked people who hire librarians:

If you hire interns, do you pay them?  Why or why not?

Laurie PhillipsNo, we don’t hire interns. We accept SLIS students on placement or for reference observation, but those are not paid because they are part of the requirements for a class or the degree. We also don’t get a lot out of those placements. The observations are just for a few hours. We are more likely to hire a SLIS student for a part time or temporary reference position. It can lead to job openings for a tenure-track position but it can also offer a great opportunity for getting academic library experience and seeing how our organization works. We have a part-time temporary reference position open right now to cover for librarians on leave: http://finance.loyno.edu/human-resources/staff-employment-opportunities.

– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans 

It’s my understanding that if interns are hired for no pay, the position is part of a course for school, college or graduate credit. Otherwise, there is a requirement that the position is paid.

We don’t hire or place interns in our public library.

– Kaye Grabbe, Director, Lake Forest (Public) Library, Lake Forest, IL.

Jacob BergEmployment.

Side note to fellow hiring managers: pay your interns. Not doing so is classist, because only the well-to-do can afford to work for free. And because race, ethnicity, gender identity, mental illness, physical ability, and sexual identity, among others, often correlates with class, internships are discriminatory along those lines as well. Also, not paying people to work devalues our professions by sending signals to other employers that our labor, time, and effort is not worth compensation.
-Jacob Berg, Director of Library Services,  Trinity Washington University
So, what about YOU?  Have you been an intern?  Paid or unpaid?  Have you hired an intern?  Why did or didn’t you pay her?

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.com. 

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Filed under Academic, Cataloging/Technical Services, Further Questions, MLIS Students, Public, Youth Services

Further Questions: Is it standard practice to ask for the current supervisor as a reference?

Here’s another question inspired by a reader. I asked people who hire librarians:

Is it standard practice for your institution to ask to contact the candidate’s current supervisor as a reference? At what point do you do this?  How do you handle it if the candidate has not told her current supervisor she is job hunting, or does not want to give you this information for some other reason?  Are they still considered for the position?

Marleah AugustineWe have a place on our applications for work history (including current) and supervisor name and contact information. That section includes a checkbox so that candidates can mark whether they want us to contact their supervisor (not just current) for a reference. We do still consider candidates for the position. They supply plenty of other information for potential references, so we have more than enough between the application and interview to make a decision.

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

 

We do not have a set protocol about speaking with the current supervisor; we ask candidates for three references, and leave it to them to decide what is in their own best interests.   We assume the typical applicant’s search is confidential, so we do not expect to see the current supervisor listed, and do not reject candidates where this is the case.  At the end of the face-to-face interview we confirm that we are free to contact the references listed and whether or not the search is confidential.

If there are particular circumstances – perhaps none of the applicant’s references are from library or related fields and we have questions about skills or content knowledge – then we might ask the candidate if it would be possible to speak with the current supervisor, or if not, if there is someone else we could contact who would be able to speak to those questions.  If, in addition to the current supervisor not being listed, there were no past supervisors listed and the references appeared to all be from colleagues, or from education or other non-work settings, we would need to understand that better.  We consider what the reference list tells us as a whole in addition to what we learn from individuals’ responses.

We also recognize that there may be sensitive interpersonal or organizational issues at the candidate’s current workplace that she is navigating.  In such a case, how the candidate represents the situation to us and handles herself in regard to it can give us quite a bit of good information about a candidate’s maturity, insight, tact, and professionalism under challenging circumstances.

– Ann Glannon, Associate Director, Wheelock College Library, Boston, MA

 

We do not routinely contact the current supervisor.  I totally understand that sometimes people don’t want their boss to know they are job hunting. I’ve been in that situation myself.  We notify the candidate before we contact references so that they know it will be happening and can inform the references.  Before making an offer, though, I will usually insist on contacting the current supervisor (if they weren’t listed as a reference), and give the candidate a chance to explain the circumstances if needed.  They may still be considered, depending on the situation.

– Anonymous

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  

Further Questions is taking at least two weeks off! We should return on January 10.

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Job Hunter Follow-Up: Sarah Deringer

Sarah Deringer took the Job Hunter’s survey on 12/29/2012. Her responses appeared as Make Sure That the Candidate Knows That You Really Want Them to Apply.

Background and Situation

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

I will receive my library degree on December 20, 2013. I have been looking at library jobs while also earning my degree.

How many years of library work experience do you have?

I have been working at a small public library since 2009. For the first two years (2009 and 2010), I just had summer internships during June and July. But after I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree and moved back home in summer 2011, I started working part-time. Right now I’m a substitute aide for the library, and I have been since December 2012.

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

None. I went straight for the library because I knew it’s what I wanted to do in life.

How old are you?

25 years old

What’s your current work situation?

Part-time work. Looking for a job. Almost graduated from library school. 🙂

Are you volunteering anywhere?

I volunteer at my church with a children’s bible school class.

Your Job Hunt

How long have you been job hunting at this point?

I have been actively searching since January 2013.

What kinds of jobs are you currently applying for?

Public, academic, and school libraries
Librarian, social media specialist, Teen and / or youth librarian, User Experience Librarian, Web Resources Coordinator, Marketing Assistant, Small public library director
Also, outside of libraries where the jobs are similar in nature and internships that would expand my skills.

Approximately how many positions have you applied to?

25 jobs. I knew that I didn’t have to apply to as many until I graduate.

Approximately how many interviews have you gone on?

2 interviews. I also had an interview scheduled for a paid internship, but they suspended the position.

How do you prepare for interviews?

I look at often asked questions during job interviews. I think of ways to describe myself and how I would best fit the job.

Have you traveled for interviews? If so, who paid?

I have traveled up to an hour and a half. I paid for the gas.

Have you declined any offers?

No.

What do you think is the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How are you working to overcome it?

So far, the biggest obstacle has been that I don’t have my library degree. To combat that, I am honing my skills and branding myself to fit the job I’m looking for.

Have there been any major changes in your job hunting strategy? Are you doing anything differently than from when we last heard from you?

There’s not much that has changed, but I’m getting more and more serious about my job hunt.

State of the Job Market

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

I saw listed under the benefits a part-time job: “great parking space.” It made me giggle. 🙂


What was your favorite interview question? What was the worst?

Fave interview question: We’re looking to remodel the children’s and teen’s areas. What would you like to see included in the plans?
Worst interview question: So if this full-time library director job were offered to you, what would you do for health insurance since that’s not part of the benefits?

Any good horror stories for us?

The “worst interview question” made it feel like they were taunting me with the fact that they weren’t offering health insurance. The position was for a library director at a small public library. I knew that the board of directors were probably trying to be funny, but with today’s economy, it’s not funny.

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

For the most part, it’s been a positive experience. I’ve learned a lot from just the two interviews I’ve had, and I know I’ll learn a lot more as I have more interviews.

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

I think it’s still having passion and enthusiasm for the career, but I also feel it’s about endurance. Don’t give up on your job hunt. There will be times when you feel like you’re not good enough, but the right job will come along if only you will keep looking, applying, and learning.

Anything else you want to tell us?

As always, feel free to connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, or even my blog. 🙂

If you took the Job Hunter’s Survey some time in the last year and are interested in doing a follow-up, even anonymously, please contact me at hiringlibrarians AT gmail.

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