Tag Archives: Twitter

Check Out the Library/Institution (and the City) on Wikipedia

This post originally appeared on February 20, 2013. A follow up with Mr. Miessler will post in just a few moments.
RC MiesslerR.C. Miessler is a recent graduate of Indiana University, Indianapolis (MLS, 2012); previously he graduated from Christian Theological Seminary with an Master of Theological Studies degree (2010) and received his BA from Franklin College (2002). When not filling out job applications, he works as technical support specialist for a small helpdesk and volunteers at a seminary library. Mr. Miessler has been job hunting for six months to a year, looking in academic libraries at the entry level. Here is how he describes his experience with internships/volunteering:

My internship was at a small theological seminary, where I spent a lot of time in public services and cataloging. I am still volunteering on a part-time basis in order to continue to grow professionally and strengthen my CV.

Mr. Miessler is in an urban area of the Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere. His professional interests are in reference and instruction in theology and religion, open access publishing, information-seeking behavior, and video games in the library; in his free time he enjoys writing fiction and cooking. You can follow him on Twitter (@iconodule), or find him on LinkedIn.

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

1. Proper fit – do my career goals and previous education/experience match the requirements and duties?

2. Development – will this library/institution further my professional and personal development?

3. Geographic proximity – is the job located close to friends and family?

Where do you look for open positions?

National library job sites (ALA JobList, ARL Job Announcements, etc.)

Regional job sites (OhioNET, RAILS, etc.)

Individual library/institution sites

General career sites (careerbuilder.com, indeed.com)

Job blogs (INALJ, SLIS Jobs)


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?

Review the job posting, visit the library/institution webpage and review mission/vision statements, check out the library/institution (and the city) on Wikipedia, customize resume/CV, customize references, customize cover letter, complete online application … this generally takes about 1-2 hours 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?

√ 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?

Provide clear job descriptions with open and close dates and make sure that the qualifications (required and desired) are specific. Provide salary ranges and benefits in job descriptions.

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

Communication … let applicants know where they are in the process, even if it is just a form email/letter. If a “desired” qualification is really going to be a “required” qualification except for a very few exceptions, just make it a required so we can know if we should spend time on the application. Note entry level jobs as such. When jobs are closed, remove them from the websites … it’s a horrible feeling to spent time working on an application just to find that they’ve already filled the position.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Networking and knowing the right people. It’s hard to get recognized on merit/education/experience alone …

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, Midwestern US, Urban area

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

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

I Make Sure That I Qualify, First and Foremost

This is a repost of a survey originally posted January 7, 2013.  A follow-up interview will be posted shortly.

EDITED 6/13/2013: This interviewee has asked that I change her non-anonymous interview to anonymous.

This interview is with  a recent graduate, who is currently working part time scanning materials and doing reference work, among other things, for an academic library. This person has been job hunting for six months to a year, looking in academic libraries, archives, special libraries, and museums at the following levels: Entry level and Requiring at least two years of experience. Here is how this new grad describes her internship/volunteering experience:

I did a little volunteering at my current part time job before I was hired on. I live in a rural area and the other libraries in the area don’t take volunteers anymore so I’m very limited in terms of internship/volunteer experience.

Although currently in a city/town in the Western US, this person is willing to move anywhere. 

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

1) That I qualify. There are a lot of mis-leading job titles out there.

2) What kind of duties will I be performing. At this point, I’m not really picky and will do almost anything in the archival field that I qualify for.

3) Location. I would love to stay on the west coast but I’m not picky and will apply for most anything. I’m trying to stay away from the East coast just because there are a lot more library schools out there.

Where do you look for open positions?

I have a whole bundle of RSS fields that someone posted in my school’s fb group. It covers  both library and archival positions

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 make sure that I qualify first and foremost for most the qualities they’re looking for. Then if I feel I can write a good cover letter to put that all in, I do. Then I tailor my resume. Once that’s all good I either send it to the email address listed or I go through the application process. Which to be honest, with some companies is so damn repetitive to what I have listed on my resume! Its such a waste of time. I usually spend about 2 hours on average.

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
√ 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?

Be honest. If I’m going to be doing just a bunch of processing, say that! For the most part, the employers I’ve talked to have been honest and upfront about what the job will entail but there have been a few who have not and it has been frustrating

Also don’t list a bunch of qualifications that may or may not be what you want. It’s really disheartening to see a job that I could potentially be good at, only to see they want some crazy expectations like major coding when the job description doesn’t really lend itself to being that.

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

Don’t be repetitive! If you ask us to upload our resume and cover letter, don’t ask us to retype that information in an application field!

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Unfortunately, a lot of it is networking and knowing the right people.

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, Special, Western US

Residency Run-Down: National Library of Medicine Associate Fellowship Program

Applications are now open for this residency: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/about/training/associate/applicinfo.html

REPOST FROM June 6, 2013

Here is another post for you new and soon-to-be new grads.  Kathel Dunn was gracious enough to speak with me about the Associate Fellowship program at the National Library of Medicine.  If you’re interested in being a health sciences librarian, please pay close attention!


Can you give us a brief introduction to the NLM Associate Fellowship Program?

NLM FellowsSure! The Associate Fellowship Program is a one-year residency program at the National Library of Medicine on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. The fellowship offers recent library science graduates the opportunity to learn about NLM’s products, services, and databases; its research and development areas; and its outreach to the public, particularly underserved populations; and to health professionals.

Why does the NLM continue to fund this program?  What makes it important to your organization?

NLM continues to fund the program – it’s over 40 years old – because of a strong commitment to training health sciences librarians. It’s part of our Long Range Plan.

What are the main job duties of  the Associate Fellows – do they differ from those of “regular” librarians?

The Associate Fellows’ main “job” is to learn. So their responsibilities are first to participate in a curriculum, taught by staff, which covers all of the work that NLM does. It’s extensive – lasting approximately 5 months. At the end of that time, the Associate Fellows then move into the project phase of the year where they work on projects proposed by staff. In addition, they go to conferences, visit other health sciences libraries, and present on their project to all NLM staff at the end of the year.

Are Associate Fellows paid?  Do they get any other special benefits?

Yes, Associate Fellows are paid $51,630 for the year. In addition, they receive:

  • An additional amount provided to assist in paying for health insurance
  • Up to $1,500 to aid with moving expenses
  • Full funding to attend local and national conferences

What would you tell a potential applicants in order to convince them to apply for the program?

Nlm_building_lg (resized)I usually don’t try to convince someone to apply.  If someone has to be   convinced, it’s probably not a good match. What I want to convey, though, is how exciting it is to be at the National Library of Medicine, where many of the products and services used not just by health sciences libraries and libraries but by researchers and the public across the United States and the world are created, maintained and reinvented. For a librarian in any stage of his or her career, NLM is an amazing place to be.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Applicants must have graduated from an ALA-accredited program within the past two years. That’s the basic eligibility requirement. What we also like to see is an interest in health sciences librarianship and in leadership.

What does the selection process entail? How does it differ from the regular job application process?

nlm frontWe ask for a structured resume**, three written references, transcripts, and responses to two questions: What do you hope to gain by participating in the NLM Associate Fellowship Program and If selected, what will you bring to the NLM Associate Fellowship Program?

The regular job application process for NLM is through the USAJobs web site and does not usually require responses to narrative statements.

**Emily’s note: The structured resume in this context is a resume which is formatted and contains information as specified on page 6 of the current application.

Any tips for students?  Is there anything they could do to improve their chances of winning a spot in your program?

The biggest tip is to pay attention to the application instructions. We ask for a complete job history on their resume, to include library and non-library jobs. We respect the work and skills someone may have learned from another industry, including customer service, management, project planning, or marketing, as examples.

We also look for signs of leadership or interest in leadership in the resume, reference letters, or responses to the questions.

When will the next Associate Fellows be picked?

The next Associate Fellows’ application deadline will be in early February 2014. We then review applications and in late March ask between 10 and 12 applicants to visit us for an interview in mid to late April. We make our decision on who we’ve selected by late April or early May.

Anything else you want to tell us about the program, or about job hunting in general?

Kathel DunnYes. I’m happy to take calls or emails from students interested in the program or anyone who would like to work at NLM. Really. It’s my job and it’s a pleasure to hear from someone who’d like to know more about the National Library of Medicine.


Photos of NLM Fellows and Kathel Dunn by Troy Pfister, National Library of Medicine.

Thank you to Ms. Dunn for taking the time to answer my questions!

If you run a LIS residency program and you’d like to discuss it here, please contact me.  I’d love to talk to you.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, MLIS Students, Residency Run-Down, Special

Are You Blogging Your Job Hunt?

Dear Readers Who are Also Bloggers,

I’d like to make a list of the blogs of job hunting LIS folks.  If you’d like to be on that list, please post your URL in the comments. If job hunting is not your primary content, please include the tag or category that encompasses your job hunting posts.

YOUR PAL,

Emily

Christchurch library

 

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Filed under News and Administration

Don’t Leave People Hanging

Interior of the Drawing Room, Mar LodgeThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field) and has been hired within the last two months. This person looked for a new position for six months to a year,  in Academic libraries, Archives,  Public libraries,  and Special libraries, at the following levels:Requiring at least two years of experience and Supervisory. This job hunter is in a city/town in the Southern US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

The ability to move up
Innovation in technology and collections development
Autonomy and flexibility within job title/description

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, Twitter, FB, listservs, friends

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?

Anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of weeks, depending on the deadline.

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?

√ 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?

Pay them what they are worth, no excuses. And allow them room in the schedule for professional development.

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

Communicate. Don’t leave people hanging.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Knowing the right person.

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, Southern US, Special

Further Questions: How Can a Candidate Ace Dinner with the Search Committee?

This week’s question is from a Twitter follower. I asked people who hire librarians:

Do you have any tips for acing dinner with the search committee?  If you do not work for an organization that includes a meal as part of the interview process, do you have any tips do for the more informal, social aspect of mingling or making small talk with your interviewers?

Samantha Thompson-FranklinI would recommend that if a candidate is having lunch or dinner with members of a search committee, that you do your best to act naturally and participate in the conversation. Do not sit in silence but be polite, well-mannered and engaging. The meal is a good time for more informal conversation and candidate can use this time to ask questions about the region, activities available to do outside of work time, general interests of your prospective colleagues, etc.  so that both parties can get to know each other a bit more. I think that it’s also the responsibility of the search committee members to initiate conversation with the candidate and to include them in the conversation.

– Samantha Thompson-Franklin, Associate Professor/Collections & Acquisitions Librarian, Lewis-Clark State College Library

Laurie PhillipsFirst of all, please please let the chair of the search committee (or the person who is your contact) know if you have dietary restrictions. We once unknowingly took a vegetarian to a restaurant that had no vegetarian option on the menu and we were horribly embarrassed. We would have been happy to accommodate had we known. If everybody else is having a drink and you want to have a drink, by all means, go ahead. I wouldn’t recommend it at lunch! Be open to new foods. We are always so careful to choose restaurants that have a lot of options but in a foodie city, we worry that candidates will be overwhelmed. If possible, ask for the name of the restaurant so you can have a look at the menu and be comfortable in advance. Above all, realize that this is a chance for the hiring committee to get to know you. Be sure that you talk rather than just listening. We want to see how you’ll fit with our group. If there is banter at the table, dive in!

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

scott wiebensohnA few years ago, I worked for a boss who did take potential candidates out to dinner.  His make or break decision was whether or not you added salt or pepper to your meal before tasting it.  If you altered your meal before tasting the way the chef had prepared it, he would not hire you.  Now this may be an extreme example, and yet he had his reasons and I respected him immensely.  I’m not advising anyone resist the option of adding salt or pepper to your meal!  Simply be yourself and be professionally comfortable in this type of interview setting.  I would encourage sharing a short story or two that would be both entertaining and memorable.  Your dinner companions would like to enjoy working with you knowing that you are a sociable person outside away from your desk.

– Scott Wiebensohn, Manager of Library Services, Jones eGlobal

Dinner–

Eat a light snack before you go–because you are not going to eat.

Wear clothing that will not drape or trail on the table (and in food)–and elbows off.

On best behavior.  Study up and then practice etiquette, sit up straight, what goes where, how to use butter (if common, take a bit and place on plate–if individual, more or less, the same), don’t forget where your napkin goes, don’t speak while you chew–listen as best you can when you are eating (if you can’t be sure not to eat much), and remember to place your silverware correctly when pausing (crossed on plate) or when done (aligned at 4:20 or 7:35 positions).  (God help anyone invited to a private home–although I am grateful to several professors along my career route who held dinner parties and let us all practice–and corrected–our youthful enthusiasm and rotten behavior–despite all our parents’ best efforts–or not.)

Order something light, designed not to spill–so soup or spaghetti are out. Almost anything with melted cheese or needing to be wound on a fork is just a bad idea.  Unless everyone else is dealing with finger food–sandwiches and chips/crisps/fries are not ideal either–unless open faced and can be cut and forked.  Salad, while spillable, works.  Do I have to say–no alcohol!  Stick with water or tea (hot or iced) for a beverage. (Not coffee–it’s a breath killer)  And certainly not the most or least expensive on the menu.  No dessert, even if offered.

Oh, and be decently nervous and/or sufficiently concentrating enough NOT to finish dinner.

If something spills on your lap, pray it gets caught in your napkin, and return it to the edge of your plate if a solid.  If it hits the floor, leave it.  Caught in your teeth, do your best–but like your nose–no picking!  Flies across the table (heavens) apologize and then let your dinner companions excuse you.  Same thing for spilling beverages.  In all cases, try to be calm, it will minimize the likelyhood of any of this.

No wrapping the remains, either.

Small talk should follow the lead of the elders.  If questions are asked, respond courteously–but do not babble.  Even if you must rehearse, ask questions in kind–about pets, interests, hobbies, location, area attractions, the best local coffee shop, books, movies, and so forth–you can even ask after their careers.  It might be a good idea to stay away from families, children–as it opens the door for them to ask the same of you.  If you are still in the interview process, this is illegal.  But, to be honest, it’s whatever you’re comfortable with.

Good luck and bon appetit!

– Virginia Roberts, Director, Chippewa Falls Public Library

Marleah AugustineDo your research about the organization. It does wonders for a candidate when they can ask informed questions and talk about issues or activities that are relevant to the folks already at the organization. It gives you something about which to hold a conversation. Be natural when speaking with everyone. We aren’t looking for people to be completely scripted, but rather we are looking at the interactions and how that person fits with existing staff.

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Dusty Snipes GresWe include a meal, usually lunch, as part of our interview process. It was set up as part of the process before I was hired and has remained as a tradition.  I think it provides a way for someone to relax a bit in a more informal setting, and show the ability to interact with different people in different surroundings. Particularly in a rural setting like ours where the librarian wears many hats, that ability is an important skill. But, it can be tricky. Folks aren’t really trying to catch your bad habits or find out secrets, but informal doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious and remain professional.

I can tell you things some things to do and not to do – based on many of these meals I have attended through the years. All of these really happened, you can’t make this stuff up, and they all should be fairly obvious.

  • Don’t announce to the table that you are aware that the meal is a ploy to try and find out information that is illegal to ask in the interview.
  • Don’t ask for a doggy bag; especially don’t order two meals and ask for a doggy bag.
  • Don’t order an alcoholic drink, even if others in the party do.
  • Don’t be snarky to the waiter/waitress.
  • Be upfront before going to the restaurant if you have specific food requirements.  If you are a vegetarian or you don’t eat fish, say so.
  • If you are on a special/restricted diet say so and let it go. Do not explain about your strange medical condition. Particularly do not elaborate on what happens when you eat bell peppers (or whatever).
  • If you are a picky eater and have to change everything on the menu, or give extensive special instructions for how you want your meal prepared: don’t do it this time.
  • Now is the time to remember every rule of good manners and dining etiquette your Mother or Grandmother ever tried to teach you. No elbows on the table, close your mouth when you chew, don’t talk with your mouth full, use your napkin, don’t hold your fork like a shovel, don’t put dirty utensils back on the table, don’t start eating until everyone is served – if you don’t remember them, and you know there will be a meal as part of the process, look them up!
  • Say excuse me, please and thank you.
  • This is a hard one, but it has to be said – some folks say grace before meals, always and everywhere with anyone. Be prepared and if you don’t believe, be quiet.
  • Be prepared for conversation. Someone will ask, always, what you are currently reading and what do you think of X book or Y author. Don’t fake it if you haven’t read it or don’t like it; don’t elaborate, it isn’t a book review, it is conversation. They might also bring up movies, the weather, and the price of rice in China. It is conversation. Be on the mental lookout for the words I and me and how many times you say them.
  • Even if someone who should know better brings up politics or religion, figure out a good way to avoid and reroute the discussion. You can’t win, no matter what side you are on and this is also good practice for being a librarian who deals with the public all day. And, please, don’t you be the one to bring up politics or religion!
  • Don’t  say things like, “Wow. Who would have thought there would be a good restaurant in a town like this.”
  • Men – take your hat off, unless you are wearing one for religious reasons. Women – don’t fix your make-up at the table.

I think you can get my drift, here. I have never not hired someone just because of how they acted during one of these meals, but I have included my impressions in the overall evaluation of the candidate and his/her suitability for this system.

– Dusty Gres, Director, Ohoopee Regional Library System

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!  If you’re changing color due to emotions engendered by something you read  here, you might be a comment-chameleon.  So comment, comment, comment-chameleon!

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Filed under Academic, Further Questions, Other Organization or Library Type, Public, Rural area

Residency Run-Down: National Library of Medicine Associate Fellowship Program

Here is another post for you new and soon-to-be new grads.  Kathel Dunn was gracious enough to speak with me about the Associate Fellowship program at the National Library of Medicine.  If you’re interested in being a health sciences librarian, please pay close attention!


Can you give us a brief introduction to the NLM Associate Fellowship Program?

NLM FellowsSure! The Associate Fellowship Program is a one-year residency program at the National Library of Medicine on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. The fellowship offers recent library science graduates the opportunity to learn about NLM’s products, services, and databases; its research and development areas; and its outreach to the public, particularly underserved populations; and to health professionals.

Why does the NLM continue to fund this program?  What makes it important to your organization?

NLM continues to fund the program – it’s over 40 years old – because of a strong commitment to training health sciences librarians. It’s part of our Long Range Plan.

What are the main job duties of  the Associate Fellows – do they differ from those of “regular” librarians?

The Associate Fellows’ main “job” is to learn. So their responsibilities are first to participate in a curriculum, taught by staff, which covers all of the work that NLM does. It’s extensive – lasting approximately 5 months. At the end of that time, the Associate Fellows then move into the project phase of the year where they work on projects proposed by staff. In addition, they go to conferences, visit other health sciences libraries, and present on their project to all NLM staff at the end of the year.

Are Associate Fellows paid?  Do they get any other special benefits?

Yes, Associate Fellows are paid $51,630 for the year. In addition, they receive:

  • An additional amount provided to assist in paying for health insurance
  • Up to $1,500 to aid with moving expenses
  • Full funding to attend local and national conferences

What would you tell a potential applicants in order to convince them to apply for the program?

Nlm_building_lg (resized)I usually don’t try to convince someone to apply.  If someone has to be   convinced, it’s probably not a good match. What I want to convey, though, is how exciting it is to be at the National Library of Medicine, where many of the products and services used not just by health sciences libraries and libraries but by researchers and the public across the United States and the world are created, maintained and reinvented. For a librarian in any stage of his or her career, NLM is an amazing place to be.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Applicants must have graduated from an ALA-accredited program within the past two years. That’s the basic eligibility requirement. What we also like to see is an interest in health sciences librarianship and in leadership.

What does the selection process entail? How does it differ from the regular job application process?

nlm frontWe ask for a structured resume**, three written references, transcripts, and responses to two questions: What do you hope to gain by participating in the NLM Associate Fellowship Program and If selected, what will you bring to the NLM Associate Fellowship Program?

The regular job application process for NLM is through the USAJobs web site and does not usually require responses to narrative statements.

**Emily’s note: The structured resume in this context is a resume which is formatted and contains information as specified on page 6 of the current application.

Any tips for students?  Is there anything they could do to improve their chances of winning a spot in your program?

The biggest tip is to pay attention to the application instructions. We ask for a complete job history on their resume, to include library and non-library jobs. We respect the work and skills someone may have learned from another industry, including customer service, management, project planning, or marketing, as examples.

We also look for signs of leadership or interest in leadership in the resume, reference letters, or responses to the questions.

When will the next Associate Fellows be picked?

The next Associate Fellows’ application deadline will be in early February 2014. We then review applications and in late March ask between 10 and 12 applicants to visit us for an interview in mid to late April. We make our decision on who we’ve selected by late April or early May.

Anything else you want to tell us about the program, or about job hunting in general?

Kathel DunnYes. I’m happy to take calls or emails from students interested in the program or anyone who would like to work at NLM. Really. It’s my job and it’s a pleasure to hear from someone who’d like to know more about the National Library of Medicine.


Photos of NLM Fellows and Kathel Dunn by Troy Pfister, National Library of Medicine.

Thank you to Ms. Dunn for taking the time to answer my questions!

If you run a LIS residency program and you’d like to discuss it here, please contact me.  I’d love to talk to you.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, MLIS Students, Residency Run-Down, Special

Further Questions: Does Personal Branding Help?

Each month the ALA New Members Round Table launches a discussion on the NMRT-L listserv.  Discussions have been on topics such as interview preparation, getting published, and now this month, branding.  Inspired by that discussion, this week I asked people who hire librarians:
Personal branding has become one of the tools recommended by those dispensing job hunting advice.  
Have you ever hired a librarian who uses this strategy – developing and managing a personal brand in order to shape the image he or she presents on the job hunt and professionally? Do you have any thoughts about this trend?
(If you want to read more about branding before answering this question, there’s a recent-ish American Libraries article here.)

Marge Loch-WoutersI have not really had anyone come in with a particular personal brand for jobs we have hired for. I will say a lot of people develop brands as they go along in the job or their career.  When I am teaching MLIS students or mentoring younger librarians, I encourage them to develop areas of expertise and then blog, use tumblr or engage on social networks promoting their chops. I think social media makes it easier to put your message out there consistently. While you can’t always control your “brand’ you can show people the skills you have, how you approach a problem or other areas of mightiness by being out there and upfront!

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

Gina MillsapHere’s my take on personal branding.  It’s a balancing act.  What I’m looking for is a librarian who first and foremost wants to work at not just any library, but the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.  She has done her homework and can make the case that she is the perfect fit for us because of her education, skill set, expertise, interests and drive. And we’re the perfect fit for her because we are strategic, innovative and driven to serve our local community, making it a better place to live, work and learn, and oh, yeah, be the best damn library in the country!  If the brand helps her establish her identity as that, great.  There’s potentially an opportunity to see what that person can do vs relying on traditional resumes and other information that in the final analysis may raise more questions than deliver knowledge about a candidate.

Here’s a cautionary note.  If the personal branding process is focused on establishing her professional reputation regardless of where she works, rather than what it can do to enhance the library’s brand, I’ll think twice before considering her as a candidate.  We’ve developed a bit of a cult of personality or celebrity in the library world.  While it can clearly build the reputation of and professional opportunities for the individual, I’m not sure it always serves the interests of libraries. And not everyone who writes knowledgeably about topics actually has solid experience in the field.

Business guru Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence, coined the phrase “personal brand” in 1997.  I remembered reading an article he wrote called The Brand Called You.   I went back and read it again. I don’t agree with everything he says.  But what jumps out at me is  that essentially, if you’re branding you, it should be to reveal your character, your values and your value to the organization.  Here’s what he says, “No matter what you’re doing today, there are four things you’ve got to measure yourself against. First, you’ve got to be a great teammate and a supportive colleague. Second, you’ve got to be an exceptional expert at something that has real value. Third, you’ve got to be a broad-gauged visionary — a leader, a teacher, a farsighted “imagineer.” Fourth, you’ve got to be a businessperson — you’ve got to be obsessed with pragmatic outcomes.” I’d hire that person.

So, that’s my two cents.  There’s nothing wrong with developing a personal brand, but it needs to be done right and for the right reasons.

Please note:  I used the pronoun “she” because I get tired of writing s/he, but no gender-bias intended!  🙂

– Gina Millsap, Chief Executive Officer, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library

Emilie SmartIf I have hired a librarian who is personally branded, I’m not aware of it.  I’ve never interviewed anyone who had a personal logo (other than a photograph of themselves) nor has anyone in an interview presented or mentioned anything pertaining to a personal brand.  Perhaps I just missed it?  I polled a couple of my freshly minted librarians asking if they had a personal “brand” and they looked at me with confusement  (yes, I know it’s confusion but I like “confusement” — it’s amusing.).
The trend of “personal branding” as described in the article sounds like a rehashing of common sense approaches to professionalism.  I guess professionalism has achieved brand status!  Whatever it takes…
– Emilie Smart, Division Coordinator of Reference Services & Computer Services at East Baton Rouge Parish Library
Thanks, as always, to the people who hire librarians for their time and insight.
What do you think about branding?  If you’ve got opinions, you’re welcome to share them below, but I also encourage you to join the NMRT listserv (I think you may do so without being a NMRT member) and participate in the discussion there.

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Filed under Further Questions, Public