Tag Archives: Special 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

A Positive Work Environment

This post originally appeared on May 1st, 2013. A year two follow up with Ms. Tribbett will post shortly.
This interview is with Ta-Shire Tribbett, a library associate at the Thurgood Marshall Law Library, where Edgar Allen Poe lies buried in the courtyard. Ms. Tribbett is pursuing her life-long dream of becoming a librarian as a result of winning an IMLS scholarship to North Carolina Central University. She has been looking for a new position for six months to a year in academic and special libraries, at the following levels: Department Head, Senior Librarian, and Branch Manager. Ms. Tribbett is in an urban area, in the Northeastern US, and is willing to move anywhere. You can find her on LinkedIn here, or on Twitter @l8teebug.

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

Room for advancement
Opportunities for professional development
A positive work environment

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, Indeed, LinkedIn, USA Jobs, Twitter

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 a standard resume and cover letter and I tweak it according to the job description. I spend at least an hour making sure my information matches up with the requirements listed. I usually ask a friend to look over my application once before I turn it in.

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
√ Being taken out to meal
√ 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 upfront about duties and expectations in the job listing.

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

Acknowledge receipt of materials, and I think they should let you know when you didn’t move to the next phase.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Flexibility and a great attitude.

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

I read the prior poster’s short blurb, and I’m sorry you had to deal with a snarky attitude! I love INALJ as it keeps me updated with library culture and the nuances of the employment process. Keep up the good work!

*Referring to this post:
https://hiringlibrarians.com/2013/01/31/since-i-have-an-advanced-degree-ph-d-in-addition-to-the-lis-degree-i-am-pickier-than-most/

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, Law Library, Special

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 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

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

Further Questions: How can new hires start off right?

It seems to be a new hire focused week here at Hiring Librarians.  This week I asked:

After hiring, are your new hires put through any sort of probation period?  Have any of them been unable to make it through this period? Do you have any general tips for new employees, to help them start off on the right foot? 

J. McRee Elrod

There is no formal probation period, but failure to deliver quality records in a timely matter can result in getting no more work.

Best to double check quality of records, and complete work in a timely manner.

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

The state of Virginia has very specific timelines for classified staff. There is a one year probation period with an evaluation at 6 weeks, 6 months and one year. This is in addition to the annual evaluation that is also done during this time. This is the opportunity for their supervisors to identify issues and find a way to work through them in a clear plan and a time for both parties to determine if this is a good fit. After the 1 year probation, staff are given a performance plan that may just be position expectations or may have special things for the staff person to work on/learn. They are later evaluated based on that PP&E (Performance Plan and Expectations.) The PP&E can be changed during the year to reflect a new need or a change in duties. Once a staff person finishes the probation period, termination is much more difficult, if that is necessary.

I think the probationary period is good for the staff person and the supervisor because it forces both sides to be very clear about expectations and, the staff person knows if they need to change how they do something. It puts the onus on the supervisor, which is where is should be and, if the supervisor finds that their staff person is not responding appropriately, they had time to address it and give the staff person an opportunity to address it.  That is assuming those issues surface in the first year. But, the annual PP&E and evaluation can be beneficial in terms of getting a staff person back on track.

– Anonymous

Marleah AugustineWe have a six-month probationary period for all new hires (from part-time support staff to full-time librarians and all in between). At the end of the six months, the employee has an evaluation to determine whether employment will continue.
 
I have had instances in which a new support staff hire was let go during the probationary period. They received the same verbal and written warnings as any employee would. 

For employees in positions that include benefits (the basic support staff position does not receive benefits), their benefits kick in after the six month probationary period (sick leave, vacation leave, holiday pay, etc.). They do not accrue sick leave or vacation time during the probationary period.

 
In the hopes that all hires start off on the right foot, supervisors go through a thorough orientation process with each hire. It covers basic tasks and how-to’s, as well as just getting the employee familiar with different areas of the library and different people on staff. 

My general tips – learn as much as you can, ask questions any time they come up, and never say “No one told me …” (my personal pet peeve). If you make a mistake, be honest about not knowing how that works and ask questions so that you get it right the next time. If you really weren’t told about something, it’s much better for a supervisor to hear “I wasn’t aware of that” and have you recognize your own responsibility in learning some of those tasks. Librarians are in the question-answering line of work, so take advantage of that when you are a new hire.

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Marge Loch WoutersOur library has a six-month probationary period. I would not hesitate to let someone go in that time if they failed to meet the requirements of the job.  While one always allows time for new employees to gain their sea legs and become familiar with routines, procedures and policies, it is usually clear when a new employee is not up to the job.   My best advice for new hires is learn as much as you can as soon as you can and show your skills and talents in a way that supports your colleagues.

– Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library

We do have a general probation period which is 9 months for librarians. At our institution the librarian and supervisor should be working together to create a job description and a performance agreement within the first month. The supervisor and librarian should be meeting regularly the first few months of employment to make sure they are on the same page and the librarian is meeting goals. At nine months the supervisor will write a review with a recommendation for continued employment or the librarian will be notified that their appointment will end at the 12 month mark.

If this is not the policy or does not appear to be at the place where you are hired, I would request something in writing regarding expectations for performance.

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

 

Sherle Abramson-BluhmAt University of Michigan Library – there are different probationary periods for staff and for librarians.
Staff have a six month probation.  I have not had any staff who did not make it through.  A staff member who was hired for a term (1 year) position was not renewed – and might have been let go durring probation if it had been a regular position.
 
my best tip – is to ask if you are not sure of something – much rather answer a question than fix a problem.
 
For librarians it is a two year probation.

Supervisor

  • Prepares a training program based on the new librarian’s job description.
  • Trains the librarian for two months.

Supervisor and Librarian

  • Meet to discuss the librarian’s progress to date at the end of the initial training period.
  • Prepare performance goals to be applied to the remainder of the performance appraisal year. 
I have not hired a librarian in my area since I have been here and have no direct experience.  I was very new to Acquisitions when I was hired and had a great deal to learn
and I believe I followed my own tip very well – and 8 years later I am still here
 
I do know of Librarians who did not make it through, but have no knowledge of the specifics. It is pretty rare.
– Sherle Abramson-Bluhm, Head, Print Acquisitions, University of Michigan

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!  Go to sleep little baby.  You and me and the comment makes three don’t need any other loving comment.

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Filed under Academic, Cataloging/Technical Services, Further Questions, Other Organization or Library Type, Public

It’s being a young, recent MLS grad who is willing to take a smallish salary

Seminole woman and children gigging frogs near the Tamiami TrailThis 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, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience, Senior Librarian.
This job hunter is in a suburban area in the Northeastern US, and is not willing to move.

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

It’s difficult to narrow it to 3, but I guess the first thing I look for is whether it is in the type of library where I’d like to work. Is the salary fair? What are the hours like? How close is it to home?

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance Job Bank, professional association listservs, LinkedIn, other websites

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 at least an hour to 90 minutes per packet, and I have to admit, I don’t rewrite everything. If I did that, it would probably take me closer to 4 hours per packet.

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

Yes

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?

Offer fair salaries to attract the appropriate person for the job, not just someone they can pay the least.

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

Universities could have more user-friendly job application interfaces. Goldey-Beacom College actually has a good one, but most others are sooo painful!

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I wish I knew. I’m probably a little bitter, but I think it’s being a young, recent MLS grad who is willing to take a smallish salary because it’s his or her 1st or 2nd job out of grad school.

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

Thank you for this opportunity! I hope it helps librarians’ job prospects! Happy New Year!

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, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Special, Suburban area