Hiring for 21st Century Libraries

Report
Alison Black, MLIS
Halifax Public Libraries
June 6, 2014
Fiona Black, MLIS, PhD
Dalhousie University
STAFFING
ST
21 CENTURY
LIBRARIES
AT L A N T I C C A N A D I A N P E R S P E C T I V E S
OVERVIEW
• Informal survey from APLA 2013
• Study design and objectives
• Free write
• Interview findings and questionnaire results
• Conclusion and feedback
INFORMAL SURVEY FROM APLA 2013
Do your organization’s HR policies and procedures lead to hiring staff who
will be change agents for your organization?
“No.” “No.” “No!”
“Yes and no. We are often in a crisis situation where we need to fill a
vacancy….”
“The makeup of our selection committees often leads to the recruitment of
candidates who are the same as the people we already have.”
“Strict policies often [don’t] leave room to consider this aspect.”
INFORMAL SURVEY FROM APLA 2013
Do your organization’s HR policies and procedures make clear to staff the
value of all forms of diversity in hiring?
“No.” “No.” “No!”
“No--we are very strict on our requirement in terms of experience, language,
etc. but we never talk about diversity.”
“Yes, I think so.”
INFORMAL SURVEY FROM APLA 2013
Does your organization have HR policies and procedures that guarantee the
provision of professional development support to all staff?
“No [for] support staff; yes [for] librarians (via collective agreement).”
“Non-professionals—money allocated, no written policy.”
“No money to let staff take part in…language training or other courses.”
“In theory yes, but there is not usually specific money budgeted for PD,
unless it is in-house training.”
“In my 3+ years in my present job, I’ve been offered no PD opportunities….”
STUDY OBJECTIVES
To analyze, compare, and evaluate hiring policies and
practices regarding professional librarian positions in
selected Atlantic Canadian public libraries.
STUDY DESIGN
• Interviews with library directors and managers
• Online questionnaire for professional librarians
• Content analysis of library hiring policies and procedures
*Follows policies and procedures of the Social Sciences & Humanities Human
Research Ethics Board of Dalhousie University
GOAL OF 3-STAGE DESIGN
To determine the congruency among the strategic
visions of library directors, the current HR practices
within their organizations, and the experiences of
professional librarians in terms of their own
employment.
INTERVIEWS WITH LIBRARY MANAGERS
13 interviews (and counting!)
Purposive sampling
 Urban, rural / regional, and provincial public library systems
 Managers from public library systems in New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova
Scotia, and Prince Edward Island
 Executive Directors, CEOs, Chief /Regional Librarians
 Regional Directors, Division Managers, Department Heads
FREE WRITE
Please review the questions that were asked of library CEOs and
managers around Atlantic Canada.
Which question is most important to you?
Which question is most important to your organization?
QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PUBLIC LIBRARIANS
Personal experiences surrounding librarians’ own successful applications, current
roles, and future positions
Emailed invitation with link to online questionnaire, via APLA listserv
Opinio survey software
 Secure Dalhousie University servers
Survey consists of 26 open-ended & closed questions, and takes 10-20 minutes to
complete
https://surveys.dal.ca/opinio/s?s=22104
STRATEGIC PLANNING
“A good hire strategically will not only fill the current job position, but has the potential
to move that job position and that position in the overall organization to the next
level.”
“You want someone who is a strategic thinker, rather than an expedient thinker.”
“Is this someone who has potential to…move up in the organization and even run the
department some day?”
DRIVERS OF HIRING
“Before you hire, is that job still required? Does it need to be changed slightly before
you go ahead and do a posting?”
“We’re so lean that as soon as position is vacant it has an impact on service.”
“We’re downsizing, losing people as opposed to hiring new people.”
“Sometimes it is retirement, so it’s replacing—and certainly needs change.”
NEW LIBRARIANS: EDUCATION
“So obviously the Master’s degree.”
“We believe that to have a strong library system we need true expertise.”
“Because people with library degrees have embraced the profession, as far as their
educational pursuit, we believe they bring something extra to the organization.”
“You can teach people some basics but it comes back almost to those personality
traits…being open, having some common sense, understanding that when you
graduate from library school it’s a beginning not an end.”
NEW LIBRARIANS: EXPERIENCE
“Supervisory experience, which most younger people don’t have….It become a bit of
an issue for a younger person supervising an older personal who’s been here
forever.”
“It’s sad that people no longer have experience of multiple employers.”
“People don’t want to leave the Maritimes, they want to stay where they are, so
they’re a little handicapped in that way and there aren’t very many systems to work
in.”
“We will consider a candidate with less experience…and then the rate of pay will be a
little bit lower until the person reaches the level of the position.”
NEW LIBRARIANS: QUALITIES
“For an entry level position I think the personal qualities are considered way more
important [than experience].”
“They have to be willing to dig in and do what needs to be done….”
“It’s important…that people be adaptable and flexible….in a smaller library system
like this, they wear many hats.”
“Look for eye contact and so enthusiasm, some energy and true interest in the
organization….”
“I’m looking for the curiosity and a lively mind…[someone who] is interested in
learning and growing, someone that you can see acquiring skills and developing
in a job.”
INTERNAL VS. EXTERNAL SEARCHES
“It’s a lot of civil service gymnastics….”
“We have to interview the internal candidates first and if we reject all of those then
we are able to go outside.”
“People who are currently working in the public library [system are] familiar with it,
have knowledge of the service and have a commitment to the service…”
“But the disadvantages are tunnel vision…especially if they’ve only ever worked in
one library.”
“I think it’s bad to hire people, personally, with library degrees for clerical positions….”
“You’re not going to get a lot of people applying for a half-time position from outside
the province….”
INTERNAL VS. EXTERNAL SEARCHES
“All the applicants for the position were internal as preference is given to members of
the union. Only if everyone failed the interview would external candidates even be
considered.”
“I was told to get my foot in the door as soon as possible and I did that by working as
a clerk while still in library school and it was excellent advice - I had a full time,
permanent librarian 2 position ten months after graduation.”
“In our library system, most permanent positions are internal competitions.”
ENTRY-LEVEL POSITIONS
“If you have no entry level positions, you have no future senior librarians.”
“If we don’t bring back young librarians…when they graduate or shortly after they
graduate, it’s almost impossible to bring them back later.”
“It allows us to bring young people with potential and the right skills and competency,
to train them, grow them, and place them somewhere where they have a chance
to become permanent.”
“One of the reasons they didn’t stay was not just the money, but they weren’t really
getting to utilize their full skills….”
“We’re losing librarians, young librarians, entry-level librarians because of salary
scale for Librarian One is too low.”
ENTRY-LEVEL POSITIONS
“The lowest librarian levels we have at this point are [Librarian] 3s.”
“We haven’t had to go to people just straight out of library school who have no
experience in anything.”
“We realized eight or nine years ago, I think that we really didn’t have any entry level
librarian positions so there was no way for anyone new with no experience to get
into the system, because the librarians jobs had all been loaded with supervision.
Once you add supervision it’s not an entry level anymore.”
“You gotta sit tight.”
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
“We preapprove a course, whether it be a library tech or Master’s degree. They pay
for it. Once they pass, they get reimbursed up to seventy five per cent of the
course fee.”
“We have a Training and Developing Fund….[We] always have people who are taking
courses.”
“Personally I think people are responsible for their own education. We have done
leaves of absence though.”
“We haven’t been to any kind of conference for years.”
HIRING FOR DIVERSITY
“There’s a growing need to have more and more staff that are multicultural
and in many ways the future of the library depends on you continuing to
change and adapt with your community.”
“We don’t specifically state, but I mean because it’s a government position,
when people come to work here it’s understood that it’s open to
anyone.”
“The best person for the job is the best person for the job.”
HIRING FOR DIVERSITY
“I would like to mention that there are a grand total of 3 people of color in
the library staff of the [my] library region…It is something to look
into....Are people hiring diversely?”
SUCCESSION PLANNING
“We have increased the number of our librarians, I know in many places they’ve
reduced it, but…that’s not the direction we’re taking….”
“The reason we focus so much on [librarians who are from our province] whenever
possible, is that the retention…is much greater.”
“I always think when I hear library directors say, ‘I don’t have anybody capable of
moving into management’ that it’s the organization that’s really failed….”
“So a beginning librarian at [this library] will make just under forty thousand dollars
and that’s not enough with a student loan. And that’s really not enough with a
Master’s Degree.”
SUCCESSION PLANNING
“We are in a 'sticking your finger in the dyke position' so not able to engage in
succession planning.”
“What is happening with Public Libraries in NL is very sad ...there is a lack of
leadership and understanding of the value of public libraries. Funding is very
much at the whim of the current provincial government.”
“My assistant manager, whole I was “grooming” to take over for me has been laid off-very depressing to see that a lot of my hard work over the past 35 years may go
‘down the tubes’.“
“We've done [succession planning] well with some positions and not so well with
others. My current transition would be one example of not doing it really well. It
took almost a year for me to settle officially in my current role.”
SUCCESSION PLANNING: MENTORING
“I make sure I meet every [new librarian] in the province. I go meet them at some
point in their first six months and have a discussion with them about how they
enjoy their job.”
“We are responsible to provide you opportunities and coach you and mentor you.”
“There’s, of course, all kinds of special projects and appointing them on
committees….”
SUCCESSION PLANNING: MENTORING
“We are developing "Knowledge transfer plans" for each position. I know that our
director usually has someone in mind to fill positions as retirements arise, and
grooms potential candidates (usually in an informal manner).”
“Human resources coaching, branch manager encouragement and support through
conversations and sharing of information.”
“A senior librarian encouraged me to apply after having hired me for a tech position to
get me into the system.”
“[My director] takes great measures to identify our strengths and career goals,
wanting to ensure our desired professional path within the organization as much
as possible.”
SUCCESSION PLANNING: DO YOU MENTOR?
“[I] provide training opportunities, invites to community meetings, appointments to
committees.”
“Many of the library assistants and clerks have their MLIS so I am often asked for
application or interviewing tips.”
“I provide advice and support the continuing education of staff. Also encourage
participation in library organizations and on special committees providing
financial support and encouragement.”
“I'm not sure that I'd call anything I do intentional career mentoring. Maybe because
I've never been mentored?”
SUCCESSION PLANNING: CAREER PLANS
“I presently do not see a future as a working professional in my current organization,
and possibly not in the library/information field.”
“To advance to a larger public library system.”
“Obtain a permanent position as branch manager or possibly move to another system
that could offer more opportunities for advancement.”
“I would like to transition to an academic environment, but it appears that public
library experience is not highly regarded by those who hire for academic
institutions, at least in Atlantic Canada.”
SUCCESSION PLANNING: CAREER PLANS
“I am committed to this geographic area and I like the organization and where it is
going.”
“I work for a fantastic organization, in a wonderful city. I love my job and the people I
work and interact with.”
“I worked as the Deputy Chief Librarian for over 5 years when the Chief Librarian
decided to leave. She & I had worked closely together for years so I knew a lot of
the responsibilities already.”
“Might be interested in looking at management positions by then, but I'm not
convinced. “
HUMAN RESOURCE CHALLENGES
“It’s almost a revolving door [in rural areas]…the community may start to
question…why we’re putting librarians there, if we cannot keep them long
enough.”
“It can be two and a half, three years before a person becomes permanent.”
“There’s things that are falling through the cracks….Now I think higher priority items
are on the bottom of the to-do list that you’re never going to get to.”
“[The managers are] all talking about retirement—it’s all within a year or two kind of
thing.”
“Recruiting and finding qualified candidates….We don’t have a large pool to choose
from….”
HUMAN RESOURCE CHALLENGES
“I feel like my organization expects librarians to take on a high level of responsibility
and to deliver a high level of performance, but does not provide commensurate
remuneration. They try to excuse this because of the relatively low cost of living in
the province….”
“Harsh budget cuts decimated our librarian positions and those who remain now do
all of that work as well as their own original jobs.”
“We need far more staff than we currently have. We are overworked and underpaid
(as are most people) and most of us continue in our positions for a love of what
we do and our patrons.”
CONCLUSIONS
•
Keys to succession planning:
• Entry-level positions
• Assistant/deputy manager positions
• Mentoring
•
Hiring for diversity:
• Are employment equity policies strong enough?
•
Discrepancies among regions in terms of staff support, salaries, and opportunities
for advancement.
QUESTIONS & COMMENTS
I want to hear from you!
https://surveys.dal.ca/opinio/s?s=22104
[email protected]

similar documents