The word librarian, for some, may conjure up an image of a fussy, old school marm who is more interested in maintaining silence from people than the people themselves. The reality is, however, that many librarians are on the cutting edge of many new technologies and much more invested in quality customer service than the stereotype conveys.
Making information available to as many people as efficiently as possible has put library science directly in the eye of the whirlwind of advances in information technology. In addition to being savvy about technology, today’s librarian has to be innovative in finding ways to market services and re-brand what a library is to a public who may still perceive a library’s sole purpose as providing access to books. Libraries play a major role in the increasingly global digital information environment, where the public has easy online access to shared information from around the world.
Academic librarians who can help their institutions demonstrate the value of education in an age of increased scrutiny of and demand for accountability in higher education will be highly coveted. Additionally, library science professionals in many academic and public libraries need to be innovative in finding ways to engage their customers while facing stagnant or reduced budgets for marketing and outreach.
Candidates for library science positions should have an awareness of how universal design is impacting libraries. Once limited to physical structures or products, the idea of making library services (and buildings) as usable as possible for as many people as possible has taken root. This will mean librarians should be on the lookout for ways to ensure equal access to its services for people who have a broad range of abilities, and who also may have differences in reading ability, learning style, language, culture, etc.
Sample Interview Questions for Library Science Professionals:
What technologies do you think are critical for library support staff to have at least a working knowledge of?
Can you discuss your thoughts on empowering underserved libraries through technology?
Have you ever used a 3D printer?
What is your experience with instructional design technologies?
What is your experience with training students and faculty how to use course management systems?
What are three go-to resources you think everyone (or everyone in a specific field) should know about?
What have you read in the past year that you would recommend to me/us, and why?
Have you used any apps for library services?
Can you tell us about a time when a patron tried your patience? What happened? Would you do anything differently if you had to deal with that same patron right now?
Do you have any grant writing experience?
Libraries have changed a lot during the past ten years. Describe some ways you would be proactive in positioning your library and yourself for the next 10?
How important a role do you think libraries and librarians should have in preservation (archiving and digital archiving)? What role(s) do you see for the future?
What are some ways you would use social media to engage the public?
How would you respond to a patron who took issue with the library displaying a magazine whose cover that person deemed to be inappropriate or offensive?
How would you handle a patron who refused to stop talking on his cell phone and was disturbing other patrons?
What does it mean to you to be innovative in the field of library sciences?
What is your experience with giving presentations about library services?
What library services platforms are you familiar with?
What is your interlibrary loan experience?
How would you handle a group of patrons who were harassing other patrons?
What are the most important aspects of having a positive public service attitude?