Did they write this job for me? Um, no.
April 26, 2010 5:51 AM   Subscribe

Please help me get my first professional librarian job.

I switched careers from carpentry to librarianship and graduated in 2007. Since 2006 I have been working at a great library, and there is finally an opening in the reference department. There have been a couple of other openings throughout the library as substitute and in older adult services. I was told that the reason I was not given these jobs was first that they couldn't guarantee me any hours for the first and the second is not a professional position. Neither of these really makes sense as I work as circulation clerk and don't have many hours as it is. This has actually suited me just fine, since I like my job and I'm a stay at home dad.

I think this job will have flexible enough hours where I can still raise the kids in the morning and then have the grand parents and nursery school fill the gap until my wife gets home.

So it all looks good. It's a librarian 1 position, which I think means entry level. I know the director thinks I should be working as a professional librarian (although I'm not sure if he thinks I should be working at his library.) I recently had a conflict with my supervisor and brought it to the directors attention which I believe I handled professionally and well. Still, I was definitely rocking the boat.

The only part of the job that I don't have experience with is starting and implementing business programs. I did switch careers and run my own business which I think counts for something. I'm a librarian, I should be able to research how to do it, right?

I'm really not prepared not to get this job. But I want to cover every angle. It is still an in-house posting, so my only competition is the part timers and substitutes. Thus far, I don't think any of them are standouts.

How can I maximize my opportunity here? Can I have all of the people for whom I act as a personal librarian send the director testimonials? I really do a lot of readers advisory in my current job and I'm fairly well known in the community. I can only see this as an asset.

The job was posted on friday and I've already put in my letter and resume. I have another week before the deadline. I'm planning on the testimonials, unless there are enough compelling suggestions to disrecommend this. What else can I do?
posted by mearls to Work & Money (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The only part of the job that I don't have experience with is starting and implementing business programs. I did switch careers and run my own business which I think counts for something. I'm a librarian, I should be able to research how to do it, right?

Well, I don't know, should you?

Which is to say, you should be researching this stuff now, not after you get the job.

Also, it's unclear as to whether you managed to get interviews for these other positions in your library. If not--and if you don't get an interview now--I'd definitely take this as a sign that, for whatever reason (your "rocking the boat" might be part of it), they don't want to promote you at this library. But, as someone gainfully employed now, it sounds like you're in a great position to apply elsewhere . . . so don't be afraid to do so if this position doesn't work out.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:28 AM on April 26, 2010

My advice is: unless you know something you haven't shared, send it what the job description asks for and nothing else. I am guessing this is a public library position, and I am academic, but if someone sent "extra materials" to a search committee I was on, the best they could hope for would be for me to ignore them. The ability to follow instructions is an evaluation criteria.

Really (although I don't think you want to hear this), if you do not get at least an interview for this job, I would start looking elsewhere. I would assume that, for whatever reason (and they may have nothing to do with you -- for example, institutionally, they might dislike internal promotions) they are not going to hire you in a professional position. You would need to start applying elsewhere.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:51 AM on April 26, 2010

I agree with GenjiandProust. If they don't ask for supplementary materials, don't send them. If you are scheduled for an interview, you can bring a portfolio of sorts which would include the testimonials and you can offer to submit them at that time. First screening of candidates is less about details and more about whether you have the basic requirements to be seriously considered for the job. The interview process is when you really have the opportunity to advocate for yourself. Good luck!
posted by katemcd at 7:02 AM on April 26, 2010

Oh, I would definitely take it very personally if I don't get the job.

I had one interview about the adult services position but I don't think I had any others.
posted by mearls at 7:04 AM on April 26, 2010

If you're not worried about people connecting your screen name, can you post the listing?
posted by codacorolla at 8:42 AM on April 26, 2010

Dpeneds on what state and county your in. Librarian 1 is sort of a starting position but not at the same time. Here in suffolk county in NY its just really your pay grade.

If you dont get the job i would seriously try to go somewhere else. Usually libraries hire people in the library first before going outside. IF they pick an outsider over you then they dont like you very much .

PS i am a network admin at a library.
posted by majortom1981 at 11:34 AM on April 26, 2010

I finished my MLIS in 2006 and have yet to be hired in a library in any capacity. We're living in some pretty bleak times - the glut of freshly-minted librarians (thanks to the librarian shortage myth that some of us, myself included, were gullible enough to fall for) coincides with a time of budget cutbacks, layoffs, and hiring freezes in many libraries. Nobody is retiring in droves, as we were once told. Instead, people are getting salary cuts and mandatory furloughs and hanging on to those jobs for dear life. Or getting laid off and being forced to take lower-paying entry-level positions - the very positions you and I hoped to be getting.

You may well be competing with seasoned librarians for that Librarian I position - I know that's what I've been up against. Don't take it personally if you don't get the job.
posted by chez shoes at 12:56 PM on April 26, 2010

I'm not 100% sure what "starting and implementing business programs" means, but I would try to look at what other libraries have done so that you have some concrete ideas to talk about at your interview.

I would not flood the place with testimonials, but I think asking for a few letters of reference to take to the interview would be fine.

Good luck!
posted by grapesaresour at 5:29 PM on April 26, 2010

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