Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

New Library World





First Page


Last Page





This paper was originally presented at World Library and Information Congress: 77th IFLA General Conference and Assembly on 13-18 August 2011, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Published with the kind permission of IFLA,

Date of Submission

May 2014


Purpose – Although the job market remains extremely competitive for entry-level librarian positions, only individual, anecdotal stories of what hiring committees are looking for in the candidates they invite to interview currently exist; no formal studies have been conducted since the recession began in early 2008. This survey was created with the aim of allowing those with recent experience on hiring committees to provide advice to those on the market for entry-level public and academic librarian positions and to answer what are, for many job-seekers, burning questions.

Design/methodology/approach – This is an exploratory study designed to give librarians with hiring committee experience an opportunity to speak honestly about their preferences, explain how the interview process works at their institutions, and provide advice to job-seekers.

Findings – The results of this survey provide guidance on what candidates can do to make the most of their abilities, knowledge and skills during the interview process.

Originality/value – Can a new library school graduate compete with those who have so much more experience? What traits are hiring committees looking for in an entry-level librarian? While the literature does give some indication of best practices for hiring committees in libraries, the researchers of this study wanted to delve into what hiring committees really seek in entry-level librarians now that the competition is more intense.


All rights reserved by Emerald Group Publishing Limited.