Hiring Librarians' Library Interview Question "Database"
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TimestampWhat kind of interview was it?What level interview was it?What questions did they ask you?What questions did you ask the interviewers?What position level was it for?What type of organization?Job focus was (check all that apply):Where are you?Where are you?Any other comments, for me or for your fellow job hunters?
3/20/2013 10:24:45In-personFirst roundWhat are a couple of words that your current coworkers would use to describe you?
How would you assist faculty research in this position?
What subject areas do you think you could contribute to as a college liaison?
What type of professional service do you/would you participate in?
What supervisory traits do you most hope for in a manager/department head?
What was the last departmental reorganization in the library/ what is the next?
What was the last new service offered in the library?
Department HeadAcademic LibraryAccess ServicesSouthern USUrban areaIf you tend to answer questions very concisely, remember to elaborate, expanding on your answers gives others a better chance of understanding them. This is true especially when you are going after a job that requires expertise not duplicated in the rest of the library.
3/12/2013 8:27:34have had all of aboveagain, all of aboveWhat is your philosophy of librarianship?

Describe your management style?

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Did you post on your social media that you were interviewing here?

What particular skills / experience can you bring that other applicants may not have?

What are the biggest opportunities and what are the biggest challenges that you see in the immediate and long range?

How much staff turnover has there been in the last three years

How would you describe the community's opinion of the library

How would you describe the funding agencies support / opinion of the library

What are your top two priorities
SupervisoryPublic LibraryAdministrationApplied in multiple locationsRural areaOne location had interview that lasted for two days and involved meeting with board members and different staff groups - all of whom had different questions.

One location had interview that included giving a speech on library philosophy to staff and board members.

When there is a stated range, you will most like need to count on starting at the bottom of the range - despite experience.

3/13/2013 11:14:11In-personThird roundTell us about a good book you've read recently?
Tell us what your dream library building would look like?
What are the major projects coming up at the library?
What skills and personality traits do you think the person who gets this job should have?
Director/DeanPublic LibraryAdministrationMidwestern USRural area
3/12/2013 7:16:17In-personFirst roundRole of technology in today's urban libraries?
Patron asks for a book on art-- how do you respond?
How do you stay current in your field?

*a packet of questions was provided 15 min. before the interview
What was the greatest accomplishment or strength of the last person in this position?
Where do you see your department going in the next 5-10 years?
Entry levelPublic LibraryAdult ServicesNortheastern USUrban area
3/13/2013 15:14:35PhoneBuilding a list/Initial screenIf an alien space ship landed in your backyard today and the aliens wanted to take you away with them, would you go? Why or why not?Two or more years of experiencePublic LibraryAdult ServicesWestern USRural area
3/13/2013 18:34:17supplemental application questionsSecond roundWhile this wasn't a librarian interview, it was one where I leveraged my library honed transferable skills.

Since it was with Bankers' Life Insurance and I was interviewing for an agent or manager position.

There was an informational group meeting first with 4 attendees. One arrived late. No one but me took notes.

2 of us were called back. I was selected for my potential to train other agents based on my transferable skills. I was not asked questions so much as I asked questions: Why did you select me for further discussion? Why was the opening available? Will my concerns about work/life balance be a good match for the Company? Will I need to interview with any other staff members? With whom will I work most closely?
See above.

Obviously I didn't read all the directions first. Rookie mistake...
SupervisoryAdult ServicesTN/ruralIt was interesting that the paperwork I presented was sufficient to begin the discussion.

I recently also interviewed for a high school English teaching position, but the Head of the Human Resource Department told me there would be at least one open Library position that she'd like to talk to me about when it came open soon for the next school year. It's elementary, for which I'm not prepared, but there may also be one at the high school similar to what I did in my last post for 21+ years.

LinkedIn has been helpful in the job search, but nothing within driving distance has been posted. TN does not have a central database of potential employees like PA does, which makes job hunting more demanding as each school/district must be monitored for openings.

I just missed applying for a really local high school librarian job as I was not notified of my non renewal in time to apply. Bummer...

Please contact me at mmpatterson@hotmail.com if you need further details for your survey.
3/14/2013 6:38:22In-personApplicationDo you have a Facebook accountSupervisoryPublic LibraryAdult ServicesMidwestern USUrban area
6/12/2013 12:01:43Supplemental application questionsApplicationQuestion 1 Describe your experience using technology and assisting people with technology in any setting.

Question 2 Briefly describe your last visit to a museum. Share three things that had the most impact for you and how libraries could benefit from them.

Question 3 In your opinion, what should the _____________ Library’s top three materials selection criteria for adult materials be? Why did you choose these three?

Question 4 Describe your customer service philosophy. Form your answer as a Tweet.
Entry levelPublic LibraryAdult ServicesWestern USUrban area
6/12/2013 12:04:14Supplemental application questionsApplicationQuestion 1 Do you have at least three years of professional library experience with at least two of those years in adult services?

Question 2 Describe the coursework and/or experience you have had in using library technology.

Question 3 Describe what skills and/or personal qualities you possess which will enhance your work as an adult services librarian.

Question 4 Why you want to be an adult librarian?

Question 5 Describe your vision of excellent public library service.
Entry levelPublic LibraryAdult ServicesWestern USCity/town
3/11/2013 13:16:18In-personFirst roundWhat did you find out about our organization?
Why should I pick you over all other applicants?
What was our favorite part of our job?
What part of our job could we live without?
Assistant DirectorPublic LibraryAdult Services, Cataloging/Technical Services, Children’s Services, Instruction, Outreach, Reference, Teen Services, Web ServicesSouthern USRural area
3/14/2013 9:41:10Supplemental application questionsApplication1) List and describe databases and online catalogs used for reference in a library setting, describe various activities the databases were used for.

2) describe a project you participated in that helped to promote information literacy.

3) Describe how you kept appraised of trends in digital libraries or other technical changes in the field.

4) what experience in evaluating materials for library collections do you have? Include a descriptive process you have taken to evaluate and determine what materials to add or keep in collection.

5) Describe any experience in researching, compiling, or developing education resources for early childhood education programs, birth - 5 years.

Department HeadSchool LibraryAdult Services, Cataloging/Technical Services, Children’s Services, Liaison, Outreach, Programming, ReferenceWestern USCity/town
3/13/2013 18:52:19In-personThird roundHow do you handle working with researchers of all ages, from grade school through post-doctoral researchers?

What do you do if you need to help a researcher with a subject you know little to nothing about?
Further ideas and explanations of their vision for the future of the library/archives, especially since the larger organization just went through a reorganization and the previous information professional had been there over 20 years?Books and Manuscripts CuratorMuseum LibraryAdult Services, Cataloging/Technical Services, Children’s Services, Liaison, Outreach, ReferenceMidwestern USUrban area
7/26/2013 19:34:01In-personFirst roundHave you visited the library, and what did you think of it?
What is your experience with Milennium?
What do you think of the PLS consortium? Positive or negative?
What did you do when you had a patron who repeatedly refused to obey library policy?
What was the most difficult computer help you were asked to provide?
What is an example of your best customer service experience?
Is there anything more you'd like us to know, or to ask us?
Is there ILL in your system?
How much children's work is involved with this job--will I be able to participate in storytimes?
Do you actually offer cable storytimes?
What is your timetable for decision making?
Temporary Librarian I/IIPublic LibraryAdult Services, Cataloging/Technical Services, Children’s Services, Outreach, Programming, ReferenceWestern USUrban areaVisit the library to which you are applying so you can answer yes to the first question!!!
7/9/2013 5:32:21PhoneFirst round- Tell me about yourself and your history in libraries.
- What is your greatest strength?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- It says on your resume that you've been in charge of creating monthly/quarterly/yearly reports. Tell me about that.
- Have you ever supervised or trained anyone before?
- Tell me about your experience in cataloging and what software you've used.
- Would you be comfortable physically walking to other parts of the prison to deliver books to inmates who can't travel to the library?
- Have you ever been in charge of a budget or purchasing?
- Have you ever been to a correctional facility before?
- Have you ever heard of a program called Winnebago?
- If you were hired for the position today, how much time would you need to move here from your current location and when would you be able to start?
- Tell me more about the Librarian Certificate II and what training or preparation I might need for that.
- Can you tell me about the inmate clerks and what my role as a supervisor would be?
- Can you describe the technology avaiable to me and to the inmates?
- What types of databases does the prison have access to?
- What is the next step, and when should I expect to hear from you?
Corrections LibrarianCorrections LibraryAdult Services, Cataloging/Technical Services, Corrections I am in Northeast US, the job is in the Midwestern US.City/townWe also discussed the type of contract, the benefits and expected salary range dependent on education and experience, as well as training opportunities and the layout of the facility.
8/12/2013 8:08:38In-personSecond roundHow does this position fit into your professional goals?
The librarian in this position will provide considerable leadership at the library, but will lead through example and collaboration rather than having any people report directly to him or her. Given these circumstances, what are your thoughts on how to be a successful leader?
This is a 25-hour-a-week position with multiple responsibilities ranging from serving on the circulation desk to processing donations to materials selection. What skills will you utilize to ensure that everything gets done well and on time?
Within the library profession, there are those who say that "Reference is dead." Do you agree or disagree? What is the value of reference services in a small library?
It's a quiet Sunday afternoon at the library. All of a sudden, a patron rushes to the desk to say that a toilet is overflowing. You immediately go to check it out, and sure enough, water is starting to flow out of the bathroom and into the children's area. A little girl outside the bathroom starts to scream. What would your next steps be?
Describe a project you worked on that involved collaborating with community leaders or outside organizations. What went well and what didn't? What did you learn about partnering with other organizations?
Hypothetical situation: As the new librarian, you've identified a much-needed change to the organization or management of an area of the collection that you know some of the longtime staff will strongly disagree with. How would you approach making the needed change?
One of the major responsibilities of this position will be ongoing development of the adult nonfiction collection (print and DVD). What steps would you take to understand this collection so you can successfully manage it?
When you think about being a librarian, what do you like the most? And the least?
On the calendar on the library website, it looked like there were no computer classes or meetings of the book club until September (this was early July). Is the library usually slower in the summer?
Are there any adult programs for Summer Reading?
The defeat of the plans to build a new library was a big blow. But if you were to do a SWOT analysis, what would you say are the library's greatest strengths right now?
What kind of committee work would the librarian do?
Two or more years of experiencePublic LibraryAdult Services, Cataloging/Technical Services, Instruction, Outreach, ReferenceWestern USRural area
5/1/2013 15:05:51In-personSecond roundWhat can you do for my students? (departments heads were part of search committee)
How do you deal with stress in the workplace?
Why do you want to leave your current job?
How do you feel about for profit institutions?
How familiar are you with legal work/research?
Do you know APA?
What databases do you use?
How many students do you have?
Entry levelFor ProfitAdult Services, Cataloging/Technical Services, Instruction, Outreach, Reference, GeneralistWestern USUrban areaContrary to popular opinion, not all for profit schools have bad libraries or bad librarians. Be cautious and skeptical approaching them but don't discount them all on principle as a potential place to work.
3/11/2013 12:58:47In-personFirst roundTell me about your professional background.
What makes you angry?
Why are you looking to move on from your current job?
What would your supervisor say are your strengths and weaknesses?
What are the biggest challenges this person will face?
What separates the good from the great?
Entry levelAcademic LibraryAdult Services, Cataloging/Technical Services, Instruction, ReferenceWestern USUrban area
3/11/2013 15:20:54In-personFirst roundTwo or more years of experiencePublic LibraryAdult Services, Cataloging/Technical Services, Outreach, ProgrammingMidwestern USRural area
4/18/2013 10:30:09In-personFirst roundGive an example of resolving a conflict with a co-worker, or dealing with a difficult patron.

What is your experience with supervising staff?

Have you had any experience recruiting volunteers?
What do you consider to be the best thing about this library?
What did the previous person do that you liked?
What would you like to see change?
Branch ManagerPublic LibraryAdult Services, Children’s Services, Instruction, Outreach, Reference, Teen ServicesSouthern USRural area
3/14/2013 3:56:35In-personFirst roundName three interesting things you found out about the library why you were preparing for the interview, and say why you thought they were interesting.
Why do you want to work here?
What sorts of things should the library be doing to prepare for the future?
Talk about experience you have with (programming, social media, outreach).
Discuss the traits you like in a supervisor.
Talk about a time you have been flexible in a work setting.
Why do you like working here?

If I had a new idea for a program, what would the steps be to get it implemented?

I also asked a very specific question about something I saw in the news related to the library.
Entry levelPublic LibraryAdult Services, Children’s Services, Outreach, Programming, Reference, Teen ServicesNortheastern USSuburban area
3/21/2013 11:53:41In-personFirst round1) Have you completed any continuing education in the past 2 years?
2) Tell us about a negative experience you had when visiting a library and why was it negative?
3) Tell us about a positive experience in a library setting.
4) What do you think defines teamwork?
5) What would you do if you had an upset customer?
6) Are you flexible/able to deal with changes?
7) In this position, it can sometimes be busy and sometimes not at all. What would you do during down time?
8) What do you think exemplifies great customer service?
9) How would you handle a person displaying disruptive behavior?
10) How would you greet someone visiting the library?
11) Are you comfortable with technology? (They used examples like Internet, e-mail, social networking sites, etc.)

There were more questions...but I can't remember them at the moment!
I asked what the typical schedule might look like, as this was not defined in the job description when I applied. Library ClerkPublic LibraryAdult Services, Children’s Services, Outreach, Teen Services, Web ServicesNortheastern USSuburban areaReally use the job interview as a way to network! Even if you don't get the job, sometimes you can receive great advice or learn from the people interviewing you. During my interview, I found out about another part-time opportunity I was not previously aware of!
3/12/2013 5:22:36In-personFirst roundWhat criteria would you use for weeding nonfiction?
If a patron came in looking for biographical information on JK Rowling, what online resources would you recommend?
A student comes into the library to complete a school project. What is the first online resource you would recommend.
Name some databases where you would find consumer health information.
How would you manage a situation in which a patron violated the library code of conduct?
Describe a situation in which there was an issue of miscommunication between you and a colleague. How was the situation resolved?
Describe two fiction books you've read recently.
A school bus full of first grade students pulls up to the library unexpectedly. What is your go-to book in a situation like this.
Describe two popular YA books.
If you were offered this job, what would be your first priority?
How would you handle a situation in which a patron questioned the inclusion of a book in the collection?
Describe an idea for teen programming.
What do you like most about working in the county library system?
Is there an opportunity for advancement?
What professional development opportunities are there?
When do you plan to make a decision?
What sort of teen programming do you currently have?
In what direction would you like YA services to go?
How busy is the library after school?
How are teens currently using the library?
What sort of budget is there for collection development?
Two or more years of experiencePublic LibraryAdult Services, Children’s Services, Programming, Teen ServicesSouthern USUrban area
3/11/2013 13:28:22In-personFirst roundWhat did you do to prepare for this interview?
How would you go about recommending a book in a genre that you don't read in usually?
What do you think of e-books and how comfortable are you with their technology?
Describe a challenge you encountered in working with the public.
Entry levelPublic LibraryAdult Services, Children’s Services, ReferenceWestern USUrban area
4/12/2013 6:58:44In-personFirst roundWhat action would you take if a patron requested an item that the library did not possess?

How would you respond to a mother asking for suggested reading material for her 4th grade daughter?

Have you assisted a patron in downloading an e-book onto an e-reader?

How would you respond if a patron objected to a library book?
none.On-call librarianPublic LibraryAdult Services, Children’s Services, Reference, Teen ServicesWestern USSuburban area
3/21/2013 11:18:20In-personApplicationFrom what I remember (it was an hour long interview):
-Describe self, including hobbies/interests
-Describe current/previous job(s)
-Three strongest skills
-Biggest weakness
-Three characteristics to describe myself
-What I would do if I supervisor instructed me to do something I didn't agree with
-Describe a conflict I've handled in another position
-Describe my experience working with computers
-Describe a supervisor I've enjoyed working for
-Describe a supervisor I didn't enjoy working for
-Describe my ideal work environment
-Do I speak another language
-My proudest accomplishment
-What's the difference between being good and being exceptional
-My experience working with people of all ages
-Rate myself from 1-5, with supporting examples, on: attention to detail, ability to make decisions, working under pressure, trustworthiness/responsibility, responding to criticism, handling conflict, explaining procedures
-Would I be comfortable supervising others, including those older than I am
-Why did I apply for the position
-Why should I be selected for the position
This was for a higher position at the branch where I am already employed, so I already knew the answers to my go-to questions (about the work environment, managerial style). I mimicked a question they gave me and asked how someone in this position could be an exceptional employee rather than just good.SupervisoryPublic LibraryAdult Services, Children’s Services, Reference, Teen Services, Neighborhood branchSouthern USCity/town
5/1/2013 19:16:08PhoneBuilding a list/Initial screenI haven't seen your resume, tell me about what experience you have that might qualify you for the job?
What is your experience and comfort with children's services?
What print or online resources would you use to search for information on ________ (name of a person)?
These are the desks we have in our main library, can you tell me what experience you have in each of these areas, and if you would be interested/comfortable working there? It is ok to say no, we don't expect you to say yes to all.
Do you have any subject specialties?
What is your availability to work at each of the following days/times?
n/aEntry levelPublic LibraryAdult Services, Children’s Services, Reference, Teen Services, on-call workWestern USUrban area
3/20/2013 8:59:37In-personApplicationWhere do you see yourself ten years fr now?
How do you see your place in the workings of the library?
If you saw a child climbing to the top of a library shelf what would you do?
What books have you read in the past year?
What would you do if you overheard a library worker telling a patron something that you knew was not correct about library materials or library use of materials?
What do you do if a parent wants you to specifically restrict what their children may borrow?
What do you do if there is a patron in the building keeping other patrons from what they wish to do?
Library AssistantPublic LibraryAdult Services, Children’s Services, Reference, Web ServicesMidwestern USRural area
3/16/2013 9:05:21In-personSecond roundWhat do you see as the role of a youth services librarian?

Tell us about a book you would recommend to a teen, and why.

What is your experience teaching technology to users?

How would you prepare for being the person in charge of the building?

Describe a library program that you'd like to introduce (or a current one that you'd like to modify) and explain the steps you would take to put it together, and the metrics you would use to measure the program's success.
Two or more years of experiencePublic LibraryAdult Services, Children’s Services, Teen ServicesMidwestern USUrban area
11/18/2013 18:45:36In-personHow to solve a problem, a Parton was waiting to check out a book, and a Parton with a screaming kid and also the phone is ringing, while the other librarian is on a break, what would you do?NoneLibrary ClerkPublic LibraryAdult Services, Children’s Services, Web ServicesNortheastern USSuburban area
3/12/2013 6:26:21In-personFirst roundWhat qualifications do I have, how am I different from other applicants, strengths and weaknesses. They also asked what I would do if a patron who didn't speak English came up to the desk and needed help (this was one of the toughest questions I've ever been asked).Who would be my superior, what tasks would I perform, could I have a tour.Library AssistantPublic LibraryAdult Services, CirculationNortheastern USCity/town
9/13/2013 23:22:53In-personFirst round1. Tell us about your education and experience.
2. Tell us about a time you were able to be creative at work.
3. Has a supervisor ever criticized your work? Explain.
4. What tricks or techniques do you use to make your job easier.
5. Tell us about a time you missed an obvious solution.
6. How do you know when you are effectively reading a person?
7. How do you talk with/interact with customers.
8. Have you ever not lived up to your own expectations?
9. Do you prefer working with teams or individuals?
10. How do you handle any difficulties in proposing changes?
Community demographics
Typical work day/duties/responsibilities
What kind of schedule
Outreach opportunities
Entry levelPublic LibraryAdult Services, Instruction, Outreach, Programming, ReferenceSouthern USCity/town
3/12/2013 4:46:40In-personFirst roundTell us about a successful team you were on. What did you do to contribute to the success of the team?

List your technology skill your knowledge of technology and what skills you have.

Are you familiar with ebooks? What Web 2.0 technology have you used

Describe one of your best projects. What was it? How did you go about organizing it? How did it turn out?

Tell us why you think this position will be important to the community?

With our transition to the new bisac system how would you explain to a patron who does not know about it and is not liking it.

What do you see yourself contributing to this library

Describe a time when you were criticized by a peer or supervisor. What happened? How did you feel and what did you do?
To the manager or branch director - what is your preferred method of communication.

How many people have you interviewed how many applied

Two or more years of experiencePublic LibraryAdult Services, Instruction, Outreach, Programming, Reference, Teen ServicesMidwestern USSuburban area
9/17/2013 17:20:13In-personFirst roundWhat have I been doing since graduating (3 years) to keep up to date? (Totally threw me for a loop, seminars and continuing Ed can be expensive, but fortunately, I have taken a few on-line freebies, which is what I said.)I remember asking something, I just can't remember exactly what.Entry levelAcademic LibraryAdult Services, Instruction, ReferenceMidwestern USSuburban areaHang in there!! (I didn't get the job)
9/21/2013 8:11:53In-personFirst roundIf you could bring a book or books to a desert island what would they be?Entry levelAcademic LibraryAdult Services, Instruction, ReferenceNortheastern USSuburban areaOnly one round of interviews, job is part time/evening & every other weekend.
3/21/2013 10:57:50PhoneFirst roundTell me about your background and why you wanted to be a librarian.
Tell me about your computer skills.
What's your supervisory style? Give specific examples.
How do you interact with students, faculty, and administration?
How do you prioritize projects?
Tell us about your experience working with college students.
How do you deal with interruptions during your workday?
Tell us about a conflict you had at work and how you handled it.
What would your supervisor say are your strengths? Weaknesses?
How has your non-library work prepared you for library work?
How do you feel about living in a small, rural town?
Asked for more information about how much time would be spent on each type of job duty (job description lists work in circ, reference, instruction, ILL, collection development, etc).

Asked for more details about what happens next (interview/hiring timeline).
Entry levelAcademic LibraryAdult Services, Instruction, Reference, Circulation, ILLMidwestern USCity/town
3/12/2013 4:25:49In-personThird roundName a time when you did something wrong on the job and your supervisor had to talk to you. Name a time when a subordinate had a problem with you and how did you deal with it. Talk to us about your experience with budgeting. Talk to us about your experience making partnerships with in an organization or with the community to get something done. Tell us about your organizational skills. Priorities, expectations, staff levels, goals for the branch and for the position.Branch ManagerPublic LibraryAdult Services, Outreach, Programming, ReferenceNortheastern USUrban area
3/22/2013 16:39:49In-personFirst roundWhy do you want to work here?
Describe a time you dealt with an irate patron. What happened? Where you satisfied with the outcome?
A visiting patron asks you about the library system, how do you respond?
Describe examples of being involved in teamwork.
How do you handle dealing with homeless, disabled, and foreign patrons?
The phone rings, a patron comes to the desk with a question, and the printer jams. What would you do in this situation?
Do you have experience in community outreach?
How comfortable are you with technology? (helping patrons with ebooks, audiobooks, and computer troubleshooting, etc.)
Tell me about a conflict you had with a co-worker or supervisor. How was it resolved? Where you satisfied with the outcome?
Tell me about a time you created a system for organization.
Why do you want this position?
Library TechnicianPublic LibraryAdult Services, Outreach, ReferenceWestern USCity/town
3/21/2013 7:40:51In-personFirst roundWhat have you read recently that you would recommend?
What programs have you planned that were successful?
What would you do if you had several patrons waiting for help and the phone was ringing?
What level of oversight do you expect from your supervisors?
What are the upcoming issues that you see facing this library?
What sorts of programs have been held here in the past?
What would the schedule look like for this position?
How soon would you expect someone to start?
Department HeadPublic LibraryAdult Services, Programming, ReferenceNortheastern USSuburban area
8/27/2013 15:59:12In-personSecond roundWhat would you do if a patron constantly bugs you about checking out an item and will not relent even after you show them the library policies?

Have you ever presented in front of a library board?

How would you convince the city council that the library is an important part of the community?

How would you promote library services?

How much cataloging experience do you have?
How do you support librarians professionally?

What would be the typical hours for this position?

Why is this position open?

When do you expect to hire?
SupervisoryPublic LibraryAdult Services, Programming, ReferenceWestern USSuburban areaAlways expect unexpected questions. It's good to study general questions but also be prepared to think on your feet. For this interview, I was asked questions I had never been asked before. Be honest! In this interview, they asked about my cataloging experience and I was honest and said that I don't really catalog but that I did take a class in library school and that I would be willing to take an online course in it and that I am a quick learner.
3/12/2013 9:10:55In-personFirst roundWhy are you specifically interested in working at [name of library]?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Are you comfortable working with a diverse population?
What experience do you have with supervisory roles?
Tell me about a reference transaction that didn't go the way you initially thought it would and how did you deal with it?
Tell me about your experience at [previous library]?
How comfortable are you with technology?
What are the specific requirements of the job aside from staffing the reference desk?
What schedule would this person work?
Are there any big projects coming up for the library?
What's your favorite thing about working at [name of library]?
Entry levelPublic LibraryAdult Services, ReferenceMidwestern USSuburban area
3/14/2013 9:33:19In-personFirst roundWhich e-reading technologies are you familiar with?
Have you ever disagreed with a library policy, and if so what have you spoken to supervisors regarding the issue?
How would you deal with an angry patron with unreasonable demands?
Do you have experience with reader's advisory?
What kind of procedures do you use for collection development?
Two or more years of experiencePublic LibraryAdult Services, ReferenceMidwestern USSuburban areaIf you're looking to get into the public library field, you most likely will have to double or triple up on the jobs and play the waiting game.
3/20/2013 21:14:05In-personFirst and only roundThis was for an interview for a reference position in a public library.

1. What are your top three information resources for use in a public library setting?

2. What general and specific skills and subject background would you bring to the position?

3. Thinking back on a time when you entered an established library work team, what was successful? What were the challenges? What would you do differently?

4. Describe an experience you've had of a challenging work day in a library. What were you responsible for? How was it organized? How do you typically evaluate your work on a daily basis?

5. What experience do you have writing for social media in a personal or professional capacity?

6. What strategies would you use to answer this question? (They provided a real question which had recently been received at the reference desk.)

7. Is there any other information you'd like to share to help the interview team make their decision?
1. How do you see the work of librarians (specifically, adult services librarians) at this organization changing over the next 5-10 years?

2. How would you describe the culture of the reference department?

3. To what extent are staff in this department involved in making decisions that directly pertain to their work? How are the ideas and input of staff conveyed to higher levels of management?
Entry levelPublic LibraryAdult Services, ReferenceWestern USUrban area
9/8/2013 12:51:23In-personBuilding a list/Initial screen1. Briefly tell us about your experience and why you are the best candidate for librarian at this library.
2. What is a must-see television series or movie that is popular right now or will be in the near future? How would you go about building a tie-in booklist, display, and program?
3. A customer with a small child is working on an internet computer in the adult area. The small child is clearly beginning to get bored. You notice that another customer is disturbed by the child being there. What would you do?
4. One of your supplemental questions on your application was to tweet your customer service philosophy. You tweeted: ______; tell us more about this philosophy.
5. Tell us about one of the most, creative, shocking, or off-the-wall library programs/events you personally have come up with. How did you or would you ensure that your event happened and was a success?
6. How do you pick a good book to recommend to customers?
7. Describe a situation when your workplace priorities changed quickly. What did you do?
8. How do you stay connected professionally? What resources and tools do you use?
9. Your supervisor invites you to present at an upcoming conference of your choosing. What topic would you talk about? What conference would you choose to present at?
10. How big of a deal is the weeding controversy (#bookgate) at Urbana Free Library? Tell us what you think caused the controversy?
11. Anything else you would like to add? Any questions you would like to ask us?
n/a - oral boardEntry levelPublic LibraryAdult Services, ReferenceWestern USSuburban area
10/14/2013 7:24:01PhoneFirst roundWhat is your management style?
How are you with technology?
Tell me about your experience in collection development, particularly in deselection?
What do you like best about the library?
What are some of the challenges with this position?
Entry levelAcademic LibraryAdult Services, Reference, Collection DevelopmentNortheastern USSuburban area
6/12/2013 7:48:17In-personSecond roundA) Have you had a chance to read the job description for the position? If not, hand them a copy now and have them review it for a minute.
B) Is there anything that would prevent you from performing the essential duties and responsibilities of this job? If yes, ask them to explain what accommodation they would need to be able to perform this function.

1. Please give us a brief overview of your education and experience and tell us why you feel you are qualified for this job.

2. Why do you want to work here? Why are you interested in this position?

3. What unique attributes will you bring to this library?

4. How would your current supervisor describe your strengths and weaknesses?


1. Do you like working with people?

2. Can you name 3 reference sources you would use to help a 7th grader learn about Texas history?

3. What would you do if you were unsure of how to answer a reference question?

4. The role of the reference librarian and the reference department has changed a lot in the past 5 years. How do you see reference service changing in the next 5 years?

5. Please describe your relevant technology experience.

6. You’ve been given $5000 to spend on science and technology materials. How will you spend it? How do you decide what to order?

7. Which 3 websites do you visit most often?

8. In the past you have been heavily focused in ___________. How do you feel about making the transition to adult reference services?

9. In your current or last position what have been (are) your two most significant

10. How would you establish partnerships in the community?

11. How do you go about providing readers’ advisory? What tools, if any, do you use?


1. Please define a public service attitude.

2. How do you define going the extra mile for a customer? Can you give me an example?

3. What is the most positive aspect of dealing with library customers? Negative?

4. What innovation did you make at work that had a positive impact on the customers
you served?

5. Tell me about a time when you have had to juggle multiple tasks in your work.


1. Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem. What
did you learn from that mistake?

2. Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor? How did you resolve it?

3. What motivates you to go the extra mile on a project?

4. If you know your boss is 100% wrong about something, how would you handle it?


1. Do you work better by yourself or as a part of a team?

2. What are the characteristics of a successful team?

3. Have you ever worked with someone that you considered difficult? How did you
handle it?

4. What can a coworker do to affect your enthusiasm for your job?
So so many. Insurance. What their plan for this position was. Why it was vacant. What are the challenges of this position.

I should have asked if they were on a pay freeze.

They laughed when I opened my notes to my questions, but at the end said that I interviewed them as much as they interviewed me, which they said was good.
Entry levelPublic LibraryAdult Services, Web ServicesSouthern USa suburb of a LARGE metro areaGot the job. Ultimately, don't think it's a good fit and will commence looking in a few weeks.
3/18/2013 7:54:49In-personThird roundWhat do you love and hate about being a librarian?Business researcherSpecial Librarybusiness developmentMidwestern USSuburban area
3/11/2013 12:51:32In-personFirst roundHave you ever had a great supervisor? What made them great?

How can you tell when you are under stress? What do you then do about it?

What motivates you?

Have you ever had to enforce an unpopular policy that you didn't personally care for? Elaborate.

Reason for position coming open.Entry levelSpecial LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesMidwestern USCity/town
3/11/2013 12:57:08In-personFirst roundWhat is your management style?
How would you like to be managed?
Department HeadPublic LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesMidwestern USSuburban area
3/11/2013 13:03:09In-personSecond roundHow do you keep abreast developments in the field of cataloging, namely RDA training (for an interviewee coming from a part-time job where training would not be provided)?

What do you read (professionally) and what professional events do you attend?
What are your expectations of this position besides the description provided in the ad? How do you envision successful candidate's contributions to the department and the institution?Two or more years of experienceAcademic LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesNortheastern USCity/town
3/11/2013 13:12:33In-personFirst roundHow would I feel about cataloging items that I found objectionable or offensive?
Department HeadAcademic LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesNortheastern USUrban area
3/11/2013 14:44:06In-personFirst roundWhat kind of experience do you have with collection development?
How do you determine what to buy?
What experience do you have with project management and can you describe a project you oversaw?
How much experience do you have working with an ILS?
What kind of experience do you have with budgeting?
What experience do you have with contract and vendor management?
What are the funding sources for the library collection? How stable are they?
What is the current collection development procedure?
What vendors do you use?
What ILS do you run?
Department HeadPublic LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesWestern USUrban area
3/12/2013 6:09:23PhoneApplicationHow do you deal with difficult people?
What is your experience comparing vendor services (for acquisitions, but also for electronic resources)?
Describe your experience with a particular ILS.
What are the emerging trends in [this area]?
Is this a new position or an existing position?
What do you see as the initial challenges or priorities of the person who is hired for this position?
For academia, is this a faculty, tenure-track position or professional staff position?
Is there support for professional development?
Two or more years of experienceAcademic LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesSouthern USSuburban areaPractice and prepare! Know how you are going to answer the standard questions, then make up some really hard questions for yourself, and prepare those answers as well. Do your research - know the organizations strategic plan and any recent events.
3/12/2013 8:28:31In-personSecond roundDescribe your experience in Collection Development
List awards/scholarships/grants/honors you have received.
Talk about your experience with Authority records
Describe your experience in Cataloging
What library 2.0 tools are your familiar with?
Discuss your interactions with other staff and faculty regarding the library.
What are some of the up-coming projects or changes occurring at your library?
If there is one particular skill set you are looking for, what would it be?
Where do you see the importance of cataloging in the future of this library?
What are the research expectations of the faculty here?
Assistant librarian (entry/professional)Academic LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesSouthern USSuburban areaExperience was the main thing. Describe your experience in....
3/12/2013 19:57:15In-personThird roundWhat projects did I work on while in school?
What attracted you to the job?
How many hours will I be working?Entry levelAcademic LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesNortheastern USCity/townI got my job cataloging a special collection because of my knowledge of Hebrew. You need to separate yourself from the crowd!
3/15/2013 6:24:37PhoneFirst roundwhat vendors have you worked with?
what qualifies you for this position?
how do you deal with conflict? give an example.
what software are you familiar with?
Publication is required for tenure. What are your research interests?
How involved would I be in the institutional repository?
Are ebooks managed by acquisitions or e-resources?
Two or more years of experienceAcademic LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesSouthern USCity/town
3/18/2013 7:54:09In-personFirst roundWhat relevant experience do you have? How familiar are you with Archivist's Toolkit, RDA, and other cataloging methods? Do you have any education not listed that might be relevant to this project? Are you familiar with this institution and its mission? What's a comparable cataloging project this department has worked on or completed? What methods did the department discover or implement as a result? What kinds of materials would the candidate encounter? Would there be any on-the-job training? What's the department community like? Are there quotas?Entry levelArchivesCataloging/Technical ServicesMidwestern USCity/town
3/28/2013 6:55:26In-personFirst roundA sampling:

Why do you want this job?

What separates you from other candidates?

Why do you think you are a good fit for our library?

What type of environment do you enjoy working in?

What is an example of a miscommunication between you and a patron?

Tell me about a time you had a problem with a patron or a coworker.

What is the most recent book you've read?

What are some of the ways you use technology?

Tell me what you would do if a patron refused to adhere to library policy.

Is there anything else you'd like us to know?
Is the job permanent?

How many other staff members work here?

What kind of training will take place?

What secondary roles might I play?

What types of professional development oppy's will there be?

Will I be working just at this branch or at other ones, too?
Library AssistantPublic LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesSouthern USCity/townSome advice I try to follow:

Keep answers short and direct.

Have good posture and limit hand / head movements.

Explain how your experiences relate specifically to the job.
4/3/2013 11:50:23In-personFirst roundDescribe what being a good team member means to you.
Why do you believe you are qualified for this position?
Describe a situation where you had to learn something quickly.
Please provide a few examples of work accomplishments that have given you the most satisfaction.
With which aspects of this position are you most confident?
What is your favorite thing about working at this library?
What is the institution's approach to supporting professional development?
How is the library viewed by the students and faculty?
Two or more years of experienceAcademic LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesSouthern USUrban areaI took every bullet point in the job description and reviewed my resume to create examples for potential scenario questions. I wasn't asked too many scenario questions in this interview, but in the past I was woefully unprepared for an interview that consisted of nothing but scenario questions. Better to be way over-prepared than caught off guard!
Good luck to everyone who is job hunting in this tough job market. If you aren't having any luck in the traditional library job market, take a look an nonprofit jobs. In my experience nonprofit organizations are very happy to have MLIS and information professionals apply for their positions. Not to mention you might qualify for loan forgiveness after 10 years of employment in the nonprofit sector.
4/5/2013 9:00:00In-personFirst roundHow do you want this (entry level) position to challenge you?

What do you look for in a supervisor?
What is the turnover for this position?

What is the compensation
Entry levelAcademic LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesNortheastern USUrban areaThis was an HR level interview - the interviewer was thorough in answering any questions I might have had about how well the department got along/job turnover/compensation etc...
4/19/2013 9:49:23In-personSecond roundWhy would you considering taking such a large pay cut?What are the biggest challenges facing your section?
What are you doing about RDA?
Library AssistantGovernmentCataloging/Technical ServicesNortheastern USUrban areaI am finding that with over 10 years of library experience a lot of federal agencies in Washington, D.C. will not even offer a professional applying for a paraprofessional an interview--even when they make the referral list.
5/1/2013 14:45:46PhoneFirst roundWhy did you apply for this position?
Are you comfortable using RDA?
What do you find most challenging about cataloging?
What do you find most challenging about archives work?
Do you have any experience with outreach?
What systems/software/standards have you used?
Are you familiar with institutional repositories?
What kinds of exhibits have you done?
Do you have experience with authority files?
What kinds of materials have you cataloged?
Have you ever employed an archivist before? What is the current condition of your archival collections?
Since librarians at your institution are considered faculty, are you evaluated by research/paper writing or more by professional development?
What kinds of collections do you house that aren't listed on your website? Do you have an acquisitions policy?
How will my responsibilities overlap with other cataloging staff?
Will I need to catalog government records or is that covered by a specialist?
Entry levelAcademic LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesWestern USUrban area
5/9/2013 14:25:35Skype/Video ChatFirst roundDescribe a long term project you have participated in.
What element of RDA are you the most excited about?
SupervisoryAcademic LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesNortheastern USCity/town
7/15/2013 5:45:48PhoneFirst roundWhat do you see as the greatest challenge to public libraries today?How did this position become available?Department HeadPublic LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesWestern USUrban area
8/12/2013 7:25:19In-persononly roundMost of it was the standard like what do you like to read...how would you handle a hectic situation...have you supervised anyone?
Tell me about **** project you are working on now.
Tell me about *** library you worked.
Do you program?
Tell me about a time you helped someone use a computer.
Is the server backed up and are those tapes stored off site?
What does the catalog do from 3-6am every day?
How do you expect after hours problems with the server be handled?
How stable is the cooperative's funding?
Is there an acquisitions module that is used?
What operating system are the public computers using? (Everyone seems to still use Windows XP even tho' MS is ending its life next spring)
What is your favorite part of your job? What part could you do without?
Senior Librarianlibrary cooperativeCataloging/Technical ServicesSouthern USRural areaDon't be afraid to relocate, even far-far away, to find that dream job.
9/2/2013 11:34:14Skype/Video ChatFirst round"Why do you want to work at this institution?"
"What would you do when you first get here?"
"Tell me about your interactions with the faculty at your prior position."
"What do you think the library's strength is?"
"Can you tell me about some of the services and resources you supply to students to fulfill your library's mission?" This question was tailored to the mission statement, but altered for privacy.
Two or more years of experienceAcademic LibraryCataloging/Technical ServicesNortheastern USSuburban area
3/12/2013 5:54:09PhoneFirst roundName top 3 YA authors popular with Middle School Students today.
How do you see your role in the school?
How will you work with classroom teachers?
What sort of environment do you see the Media Center being?
What type of scheduling (fixed or flexible)?
What additional duties outside of Media Center duties are assigned?
Is the Media Clerk full-time to the Media Center or shared?
What level of involvement in decision making for budget dollars does the Media Specialist have?
Library, Media and Technology SpecialistSchool LibraryCataloging/Technical Services, Children’s Services, Instruction, Liaison, Outreach, Programming, Reference, Teen Services, Web ServicesSouthern USSuburban areaIt is all about marketing yourself! You can talk about the great things you have done by wrapping them around what you would foresee yourself doing in their setting.
10/8/2013 12:49:10PhoneFirst round1. Why am I motivated to succeed as a consulting librarian?

2. What is my process for discovering new tools, learning, and adopting them?

3. Describe campus and work collaborations, who I worked with, and types of projects.

4. What is my teaching philosophy and approach to instruction?

5. What kind of assessment activities have I participated in?

6. What is the role of data in my work?
1. What instructional formats will the candidate be working with? One-shot, semester-long, or asynchronous?

2. Can you describe a typical day for this position?

3. What is the team’s communication style?

4. What would success in 12 months look like?

5. What opportunities are available for professional development?

6. What is the time frame of the search and what are the next steps?
Entry levelAcademic LibraryCataloging/Technical Services, Instruction, Outreach, ReferenceWestern USCity/town
4/20/2013 17:59:36In-personFirst round1. What areas of librarianship interest you the most?
2. What recent project are you most proud of?
3. What do you look for in a manager?
4. How would a former manager describe you?
What are some challenges you've faced with people in this position before (it was for an entry level position and there are usually six at any given time)?Entry levelGovernment libraryCataloging/Technical Services, Instruction, ReferenceSouthern USUrban area
4/1/2013 8:07:35In-personFirst roundWhy did I apply for this job?
Where do I see myself in 5-10 years?
What experience do I have with Access databases and SQL?
Am I comfortable enough with HTML to edit and update the department website?
They also went over the general requirements of the job and asked if I had experience with them.
Did this position entail answering OPRA requests?
Has there been a big push toward digitizing and making public the historic resources at the library?
How much room for advancement is there in this library?
Entry levelSpecial LibraryCataloging/Technical Services, Law, Reference, ResearchNortheastern USRural areaOnly 12-14 people got first-round interviews (about 10% of applicants). There will be a second round of interviews in about 2 weeks. I will be informed of the status of my application whether or not I get selected for a second round interview.
3/15/2013 3:14:14Supplemental application questionsFirst roundTwo or more years of experienceAcademic LibraryCataloging/Technical Services, OutreachWestern USCity/town
3/11/2013 13:10:28PhoneFirst roundSenior LibrarianSpecial LibraryCataloging/Technical Services, Outreach, Web ServicesNortheastern USUrban area
3/12/2013 6:32:25PhoneFirst roundSupervisorySpecial LibraryCataloging/Technical Services, Outreach, Web ServicesNortheastern USUrban areaJust remember, that most interviews are formalities. The job is already set for an insider and the opening was advertised for legal reasons. With that in mind, have fun in the interview and let it all hang out. You have nothing to lose, because you have nothing to gain.
3/12/2013 8:31:36PhoneFirst roundTell us why you're a good fit for this position and this institution. Tell us about a digital project in which you've been involved (challenges and successes). What non-traditional services (i.e. not metadata and digitization) do you believe librarians can provide digital humanists? How would you go about performing QC/QA for digital materials? How comfortable are you with evaluating copyright status for special collections materials?What did you find most exciting and most challenging about inaugurating the position of scholarly communications librarian? [Asked of someone on the search committee who had launched a newly created position like the position for which I was interviewing] Tell me about the organizational decision-making process for moving to open-source for many library technology services. [Because the position I was interviewing for was about developing a new program, I wanted to gain insight into how change happens at this institution.]Entry levelAcademic LibraryCataloging/Technical Services, Outreach, Web ServicesSouthern USCity/townThis position was a newly created Digital Initiatives Librarian position within a newly created Digital Scholarship Unit. When job hunting, I find it's really important to distinguish between new positions and existing positions that have been vacated.
3/12/2013 6:02:41In-personSecond round* How would you describe yourself in three words?
* How have you assisted nontraditional students?
* Could you describe a project that you oversaw, and how you managed it?
* If a coworker were telling a patron incorrect or incomplete information, what would you do?
* Could you describe any supervisory or training experience?
* Would you be willing to give class presentations for students, such as for information literacy?
* What ILS do you use?
* What classification scheme do you use?
* Do you think that being a small academic institution allows you to build stronger one-on-one relationships with students?
* Have you considered using a content management system such as Drupal for your website?
Library AssistantAcademic LibraryCataloging/Technical Services, ReferenceSouthern USUrban area
10/30/2013 11:14:18In-personFirst round1. Please give us a summary of your work history.

2. What is your experience working in a very busy and high stress front desk Library/Circulation job?

3. This job requires some knowledge of international affairs; what information resources both traditional and in digital format are you using to keep up-to-date?

4. What is your experience working in multicultural settings?

5. Librarianship has changed significantly over the past 5-10 years. How have you adapted to these changes? Internet, search engines, databases on web vs. proprietary software, electronic resources vs. print?

6. What is your approach in performing collection maintenance duties? Please be specific.

7. How do you deal with conflicting priorities?

8. How well do you multi-task in a Library environment? Please provide an example.
Library AssistantGovernment LibraryCataloging/Technical Services, ReferenceNortheastern USUrban area
3/25/2013 3:00:56In-personFirst roundHow will you cope with a busy school environment (eg - lunchtime) and how will you feel if asked to change chore/job in a short space of time?

Library AssistantSchool LibraryCataloging/Technical Services, Teen ServicesAustralia/New ZealandCity/town
3/11/2013 19:39:19In-personFirst round1) What qualities does a leader have? Do you posses these qualities?

2) Can you give an example of a creative project you've completed?

3) Specific, customer service related scenarios relevant to the department's mission.
1) What differentiates a good head of _________ from a great head of __________?

2) How critical is the __________ department to the library's mission?

3) What is your timeline for making a decision?
Department HeadPublic LibraryChildren’s ServicesMidwestern USSuburban area
3/11/2013 20:01:30In-personFirst round1) "Is our water not good enough for you?"

In response to me bringing a bottle of water in case none was provided.

2) "Are you going to be able to get to work, you don't live in this city?"

But they knew I currently worked at a job that involved driving twice as far one way.

3) "Are you a rule-follower, or a rule-breaker? And you can't waffle, you have to pick one or the other."
Entry levelPublic LibraryChildren’s ServicesCanadaCity/townI propose two categories, questions that make sense and stupid ones. I can't believe some of the questions I have been asked by professional librarians. I seem to only be able to remember the stupid ones.
3/12/2013 15:59:14In-personFirst roundDescribe your method of making a decision.

What are the three most important things you look for in a school? (I was interviewing for a school Librarian position).

What would you do for a child who is new to the school and speaks no English?

What are some technology tools you would introduce to the students?

What is your approach to collaborating with teachers?

What experience do you have with iPads?
Interim School LibrarianSchool LibraryChildren’s ServicesSouthern USSuburban area
3/13/2013 8:13:59In-personBuilding a list/Initial screenScenarios--for ex., "What would you do if you were helping someone in-person at the desk, and the Friends of the Library president walked up with a potential donor, just as the phone started to ring?"

"What parts of your library work do you enjoy the most/least?"
"What's special about your library?" "What is your service philosophy?" "Would I be helping with programming?"temporary Public LibraryChildren’s ServicesWestern USCity/town
3/13/2013 20:54:40In-personFirst round1) Describe your experience in developing programs for youth

2) How do you build relationships with school and local community service organizations?

3) Name a Newbery, Caldecott, or Printz award winner you’d recommend and explain why.

4) What professional development activities are you currently involved with?

5) Describe your experience in website development.

6) Describe your experience in providing readers' advisory to youth

7) A parent doesn’t approve of a particular book you have in the library. How handle this?

8) How do you deal with noisy kids and parents at storytime?

9) Describe your experience in developing a reading program for youth

In addition, I was asked to develop a sample storytime plan, including a list of books to read and early literacy activities to accomodate the books (e.g. songs, crafts, etc.). I also had to select a book to read to the hiring committee, simulating what I would do if presenting a storytime
When will the hiring decision be made?

Besides that, I don't remember.
Two or more years of experiencePublic LibraryChildren’s ServicesMidwestern USSuburban area
3/16/2013 10:32:11PhoneFirst roundA mother comes in, leaves her 3-year-old daughter in the children's room, then goes to the beer store. What do you do?

Tell us about our library's service area and community.

What would you recommend to a 12 year old, male, reluctant reader?

How do you view the importance of outreach?

What are you reading and who would you recommend it to?
It was a large library system, so I asked how they did things on a branch level but still made it feel as though it was a cohesive system of libraries.

What kind of opportunities do you offer for staff training and professional development?
Two or more years of experiencePublic LibraryChildren’s ServicesNortheastern USUrban area
3/28/2013 18:01:10Skype/Video ChatFirst round1. Name 3 facts about early literacy that have application in the library
2. What would you do for a Chinese New Year's display?
3. Describe a children's book you've read recently, and who the audience is.
4. Do a fingerplay for a toddler story time.
5. What makes baby story time different from preschool story time?
6. How would you plan a program with community partners, like a museum?
7. How would you plan a program for school-age children? (goals, target age, etc.)
8. How would you get Spanish speakers to attend a dia de los muertos program?
9. How would you advise your branch manager on how to cater to disabled children?
10. A patron objects to the presence of comics and graphic novels in the children's section. How would you respond?
11. Tweens are often sitting around waiting for the computers. What program would you plan to occupy them?
-What ages would I be serving?
-I asked about the library system and organization, where collection development happens, etc.
-What is life like in a branch?
-Is there a possibility for this position to be permanent?
-What kinds of opportunities are there for advancement and professional development?
-When will I be notified?
Entry levelPublic LibraryChildren’s ServicesNortheastern USUrban area
4/16/2013 9:37:38First roundHow do you handle a stressful situation at the libraryWhat my first priority be when signing on in the positionLibrary AssistantPublic LibraryChildren’s ServicesMidwestern USUrban area
5/9/2013 9:01:04In-personFirst roundHow would you attract kids to the library?
What do you think of Accelerated Reader?
What do you do with a parent who wants a book removed?
What if the administration asks you to remove a book?
Senior LibrarianSchool LibraryChildren’s ServicesSouthern USCity/town
5/16/2013 7:31:13In-personOnly one roundWhat are some up and coming trends that excite you in the children's library world?

Why are you interested in working in public libraries instead of academic or school libraries?

How do you plan a storytime? How do you evaluate your success or failure after a storytime?

Tell us more about your experience at [recent/related] job.

As a children's librarian, you will also be working with adults and teens. What experience do you have with those groups?

Describe your ideal coworkers. Describe your ideal work environment.
How does this branch fit in to the community? What do you see as the areas of growth within the community for this branch?

Thinking back to people who have had this position before, what differentiated the truly outstanding from the merely good?
Two or more years of experiencePublic LibraryChildren’s ServicesTexas!Urban area
3/12/2013 6:47:03In-personFirst roundWhat is your Philosophy of Education and how does that relate to the Library?
How does the Library and Library instruction relate to the Common Core Standards?
What is your top three selection of books for elementary, intermediate and middle school students?
How would you interact with and ensure the Library aides are doing their jobs throughout the day when the Librarian is gone?

What does the typical day of a Library Media Specialist look like?
What is the school's plan for the upcoming year to ensure accreditation?
Entry levelSchool LibraryChildren’s Services, InstructionMidwestern USRural area
6/10/2013 20:39:22In-personBuilding InterviewDescribe your experience with technology.
How would you approach collaborating with teachers?
Would you be willing to read to upper-elementary classes?
How would you work with an aide?
How would you handle the following situation? Suppose you are teaching a class in the lab, a teacher who is in the middle of a lesson needs your help, and a student wants you to help him find a specific book all at the same moment.
I was given a task: write a letter that you might send out to the school community as the new LRC director.
If I walked into the LRC on any given day, what could I expect to see?
What grant-writing experience do you have?

What do you especially like about the LRC now, and what would you like to change?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of this school?
In what ways can I best support the teachers and classroom instruction?
What is the budget for the LRC?
LRC directorSchool LibraryChildren’s Services, Instruction, technology instruction, instructional supportMidwestern USSuburban areaI attended a career transitions group in my area. The group met once a week for 10 weeks and was led by two HR people and two head-hunters. Though some information did not relate to finding a job in schools, I found other information and advice very helpful.
6/10/2013 5:57:37In-personFirst, then second round-Tell me about yourself.
-Why are you interested in working here?
-What motivates you?
-What would you do if a parent complained about a book or video in the library?
-What book(s) are you reading right now?
-What's your favorite book? Favorite children's book/author?
-Tell me about a time you had problems with a coworker and how you resolved it.
-What would you include in a storytime?
-Are you flexible? Is your schedule flexible?
-Give me an example of a time you were reliable.
-What are your strengths and weaknesses?
-What are your three biggest accomplishments?
-How comfortable are you with technology?
-Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
-Which age group would you prefer to work with?
-On average, how many children attend programs and storytimes?
-What goals do you have for the person in this position to accomplish over the next year or so?
-Are the different departments in this library cooperative / does everyone get along well and help each other out?
-How many librarians and other staff work in this department?
-What do you like most about working here?
Entry levelPublic LibraryChildren’s Services, Outreach, Programming, ReferenceMidwestern USSuburban area
3/19/2013 13:12:47In-personFirst roundOur summer reading theme is "_____" give us an example of two YA books you would pick that fit this theme, and then give a book talk for one of them as if you were giving it to a group of teens.

A patron comes to you for information about homelessness. What would your subsequent action/questions be? After I answered they asked this patron now explains that he/she is homeless, would your answer to the first question be different.
Children's LibrarianPublic LibraryChildren’s Services, Programming, Reference, Teen ServicesMidwestern US
3/12/2013 18:13:07PhoneFirst roundWhat was your most recent job/volunteer experience & when.
Why did you leave?
Are you available fo the hours needed?
Are you willing & able to perform all duties described?
Would your schedule be likely to change over the next year?
Why did you decide to apply for this position?
PagePublic LibraryChildren’s Services, Teen ServicesSouthern USCity/town
3/12/2013 18:30:16In-personSecond roundWhat duties did you like most & least at your last job, & why? Tell us about a time you made a mistake in your job and how you handled it. Tell us about a time you went above & beyond in customer service. Describe a time you had a communication problem with someone and how you overcame it. Do you prefer to work alone, or as part of a team? How would you handle a difficult situation iwth a co-worker, such as not pulling their weight? How can an employee show initiative?How the programming changes from what is currently shown on their calendar on the website in the summer. Do they have many issues with parent trying to dump kids & use the library for free day care? How stable is the position (likely to be cut due to funding)? What would a typical day be like? How much turnover for this position and in general? Is certification desired (state requires for librarians, but optional for para-pro)? What is the hiring time frame?PagePublic LibraryChildren’s Services, Teen ServicesSouthern USCity/townI was suprised I did not get any specific questions about my background, why I did not want to return to my previous career (after being a SAHM), or any specific llibrary or children-related questions. I know these "behavioral" interviews are the rage now, but I do not see how they can get enough info to pick the best candidate only using those generic, canned, HR-directed questions. I really expected more straight-forward, practical questions for this type of job. Oh, there was also a shelving test, one set of cards with call numbers & one set with authors' names to be put in order.
3/21/2013 10:12:40In-personFirst roundWhat are you most proud of at your current position?
How will you help your supervisor transition when you come work for us?
Library ClerkPublic LibraryCirculationNortheastern USSuburban areaThe position I applied for was in the same library which is why some of the questions may seem odd.
5/21/2013 14:21:15In-personFirst roundWhat do you know about this institution?
Tell me about your prior library experience?
What classification systems did they use?
Do you have an e-reader?
How much responsibility did you have while your library director was out of the country?
What OPACs have you used?
If you were the only person on the desk and had several people in line, a printer jam, and a ringing phone, how would you prioritize?
What areas would you like to learn more about?
How have you dealt with problem patrons or coworkers?
What website were you responsible for updating?
What can you tell me about Drupal and Joomla?
How did this position become available?
What is your management style / institution culture?
Is there anything about me that concerns you or I need to clarify?
Library AssistantAcademic LibraryCirculationSouthern USUrban area
6/10/2013 19:00:43In-personSecond roundTwo or more years of experienceAcademic LibraryDigital librariesMidwestern USCity/townI'd like to see a column on things INTERVIEWERS shouldn't do. From my most recent interview experience, please don't:

1. Wear flip flops or cutoff shorts if you're one of the people meeting/interviewing the candidate.
2. Spend the entire candidate dinner gossiping about your coworkers without asking the candidate any questions.
3. Choose your most socially awkward member of the search committee to drive your candidate around town and show her the sights.
3/11/2013 13:06:11PhoneBuilding a list/Initial screenExamples of being able to adapt and pick up new skills quickly.
Experience with barcoding.
Experience in a library setting.
Experience with engineering and geology.
How large was the collection they were adding to the electronic catalog?
How many people were working in the library?
How long did they expect the project to take?
Library ClerkSpecial LibraryEngineeringCanadaUrban areaThe interview went well, and I sent them a thank you email afterwards thanking them for their time. They responded to the email, but then never contacted me again about the position. I thought this was very unprofessional, especially after a half hour interview.
3/18/2013 11:11:01In-personOnly roundThey did not probe as deeply as I expected, as it was a new library and the Board of non-elected community members had little knowledge of libraries, but I was asked one insightful question, which every librarian should think about:

They wanted to know what I would prioritize in spending very limited collection development dollars. Would I spend money to build a core collection of classics, even if they were never used, or would I focus solely or largely on buying popular items.

This gets to the issue of a librarian's general philosophy of the role of libraries (as an educational institution for the masses?), awareness of user patterns (popularity is often very fleeting... patrons might all be clamoring for a certain book and then a year later never check it out), and how, quite specifically, a candidate would actually spend the library's money.
Director/DeanPublic LibraryEverything (small library)Northeastern USRural area
3/13/2013 21:05:03PhoneFirst roundWhy does this position appeal to you?
Describe outstanding customer service.
Rate your communication skills on a scale of 1-10.
What methods do you use to communicate?
How do you prioritize your workload and how do you communicate that to others?
What is your opinion of using technology to improve services?
Do you prefer team or individual work?
Describe your computer, software, and data entry skills.
A question about working in a diverse environment (can't remember how it was posed)
What do you avoid at work?
How do you resolve conflict?
Tell us about your experience with OCLC, ILS, ILLiad, and research.
How do you master a new task?
How big is the Document Delivery Services department?
Could you please tell me more about one of the listed job duties: "Works at service desk"?
What is the best part about working at your library?
What is the library like between semesters?
Two or more years of experienceAcademic LibraryILL, document deliverySW USCity/town
3/11/2013 16:40:47Phone & in-person for same jobFirst round (phone) & final round (in-person)Tell me about a time you made a mistake and how you fixed it.
What accomplishment are you most proud of at your previous position?
In your opinion, what is the best "Star Wars" movie? [I had described librarians as 'information Jedis' in my presentation.]
What experience do you have with instruction?
Do you prefer working alone or in a group?
What opportunities are provided for professional development?
During one part of a day long interview, I met with the entire ~15 person department. They briefly introduced themselves and talked about their different projects. I took notes on a small notepad, so when it was my turn I could ask people about specific projects.
What is the work environment like with regards to dress?
Entry levelAcademic LibraryInstructionMidwestern USRural areaIf the position announcement is thorough, go through each bullet point and list all your qualifications - more than you could fit into a cover letter. Have this with you so you can refer to it during a phone interview. For my phone interview for this particular position, EVERY question they asked during the 20 minute interview came directly from the position announcement.
Read the organization's mission statement (and the mission statement of the parent org, if different). Jot down phrases that you find relevant to the position to weave into your answers (if appropriate).
Also, keep current on news about general library stuff and your area of interest (I do it by reading blogs). During the phone interview I mentioned how SUNY-Potsdam had just dropped their ACS subscription - I firmly believe that helped me move on to the in-person interview.
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