Saturday, June 15, 2024

101 Interview Questions For Librarians

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Because This Field Is Always Changing What Steps Have You Taken In The Last 12 Months To Stay Updated On Current Trends

Tell Me About Yourself – A Good Answer to This Interview Question

Librarians must stay up-to-date on technologies, procedures and practices that are necessary for community and school libraries. Show the interviewer how you take steps to stay current in the field and how you apply new skills and what you learn on the job.

Example:”Within the last 12 months, I have participated in two continuing education courses to retain my certification as a licensed media specialist. This involved getting acquainted with new library procedures for the county’s entire library system, including new software implementation for cataloging, reserving and checking out books.”

Why Are You Interested In This Role

Working as a reference librarian has always been my dream. I have always been looking for the opportunity to implement the skills that I have learned through my educational degree and professional career. I am interested in the role of reference librarian at your organization because, while serving at the institution, I will be able to further enhance my skills, knowledge, and capabilities. Through my research, I came to know that all of the employees in the organization are highly professional, so working in such an environment will also be a great opportunity for me to strengthen my professional skills.

How Does Social Media Act As A Tool In Crafting A Powerful Online Presence How Do You Use Social Media As A Librarian

In a social media-driven culture, establishing an online presence can increase engagement and market the library as an essential community institution. Ask this question to learn how a candidate plans to adopt the use of social media. What to look for in an answer:

  • Social media platform experience


Social media when used strategically is key to promoting the library as a community treasure. In the past, I helped manage a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account, using all three to reach a wide range of audiences. I followed a newly-implemented marketing strategy to promote upcoming library events, increasing overall attendance 40% and decreasing cancellations.

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Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years Time

One of the few drawbacks of a job in a library is that it offers very limited options for career growth. The only higher position you can reach is the library director , or assistant director. And even this journey typically takes ten years or more.

Try to ensure the interviewers that they can count with you in a long run. Say that you will be happy to have the same job in five years time, but hope to do it better. Alternatively you can focus on the goals you try to reach in your personal lifestarting a family, learning a new skill, quitting smoking, etc.

How Do You Stay Motivated At Work

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The most effective method for keeping me motivated at work is to make small and realistic efforts to improve my abilities. More importantly, at the end of each day, I analyze my own performance and knowledge, which serves as a guideline for my activities in the future. Another source of my motivation, I believe, is my ability to create a conducive learning environment within the library, where all of my colleagues assist one another in overcoming obstacles. Thus, they support each other to stay motivated at work.

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What Is Your Vision For The Future Of Libraries

Primarily, I believe libraries should play an increasingly important role in the lives of the people they serve. Innovative services, including activating specialised rooms for makers to use self-publishing technologies and 3D printers, can also be offered. Libraries should embrace change, including new digital formats of publications and research, and harness new technology as it arises to enhance the services of libraries. Moreover, all libraries should actively support inclusivityeveryone is welcome irrespective of their socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or religious affiliations. Libraries are neither residences nor places of employment. Its more likely that theyll continue to operate as dynamic organizations that provide services that educate individuals with knowledge and charity, as well as creativity and awareness.

Further Questions: Does Your Library/organization Value Longevity Or Variety Of Experiences More

Each week I ask a question to a group of people who hire library and LIS workers. If you have a question to ask or if youd like to be part of the group that answers, shoot me an email at hiringlibrariansATgmail.

This weeks question is:

Traditional hiring advice cautions against being a job hopper. And yet, switching positions often provides a lot of benefits broader experience, more connections, better pay, etc. Does your library/organization value longevity or variety of experiences more? When you hire, are you on the lookout for job hopping and if so, what are the signs? Bonus: Can you share a little about your job history and rationale for changing positions ?

There is some more and a little bit more on .

Alan Smith, Director, Florence County, SC Library System: As with so many things, it depends on the position, the candidate, and the librarys needs at the time. If they seem like a potentially excellent employee, Id rather have them here for a relatively short time than settle for someone who seems like they will stay long-term but doesnt bring much to the table. In just a year or two a great employee can bring in a lot of new ideas, programs, skills, and enthusiasm that can have a ripple effect on other staff too.

To attempt to clearly express my opinion I am going to comment on each sentence.

Traditional hiring advice cautions against being a job hopper. The way I would like to comment on this is to say yes, but

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What Is Your Availability

This is a practical question that could come up towards the end of the interview.

Tips for answering this question:

  • If you have flexible availability, share that there are no times off-limit in your schedule.
  • If you have days/times where you definitely cant work, share the details are as clear as possible, and be sure to tell them why you cant work.

Most Asked Librarian Interview Questions And Answers:

Library Research 101: Research Questions & Background Information

Getting hired for a post of a librarian requires a certain level of qualification and experience and, other than that a candidate needs to prepare themselves for the interview process.

It is not as a common interview, in this post a candidate will be interviewed on the level of knowledge about different books and their study materials.

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How Do You Stay Current With The Most Recent New Books

This is important as you are not only there to help people use the database, but to actually be your own kind of database that understands what new books and topics are available to people.

Example Answers:

  • Through my memberships of online databases of different genres of books, I read reviews about best-sellers or new and noteworthy titles as they come up, almost daily.
  • I use social media like Twitter, RSS feeds, and Facebook to learn about new releases or to find older titles that are relevant to current themes in the world.
  • Additionally, I love to read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction which keeps me up to date on both sides.

What Is Your Ideal Work Schedule

This question is about preferences in terms of when you work and how youd like your schedule to look.

Tips for answering this question:

  • If you have preferences for workdays, share them, while also expressing that consistent work is most important and you arent attached to having your preferences met if it isnt possible.
  • Ideally, youd have no preference and are happy to work whenever needed. If thats the case, share this with the interviewer.

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Describe A Time When You Had To Adapt Quickly To A Change In Priorities

Regardless of whether a workplace is fast- or slow-paced, unexpected events can occur. Hiring managers want to know that you can shift gears quickly if the need arises, so they ask questions like this one to assess your agility.


As a member of my current employers IT department, COVID-19 required some quick pivoting. I was part of a team that managed remote work permissions and technologies for the organization. When it became clear that a shelter-in-place order may be on the horizon, we had to reprioritize quickly, ensuring we could get everyone their needed credentials, applications, and devices handled as fast as possible.

I spoke with my manager about my workload, allowing us to identify tasks that could be set aside temporarily. After that, prioritized the employee list based on their position, ensuring those who needed to stay connected were handled before those where a short delay wouldnt be as problematic.

Some Other Questions You May Deal With In Your Library Clerk Interview

How to Answer Interview Questions: 101 Tough Interview Questions ...
  • Why do you want to work at this library, and not at another one?
  • What is the last book you read. Will you recommend this book to the readers? Try to describe it in less than twenty words.
  • What do you consider the most challenging aspect of this job?
  • Why did you leave your last job/Why do you plan to leave your present job?
  • What are your expectation on the administrators of this library?
  • How would you describe an ideal boss?
  • What do you consider your greatest strength?
  • Why should we hire you, and not one of the other applicants for this job?
  • Describe a conflict you had with one of your colleagues . How did you handle the situation?
  • Describe a time when you went above and beyond for the customer.

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What Would You Change About The Current Utilization Of Our Library Space

The library is evolving from a space for solely accessing information and individual studying to a place for collaborative learning and productivity. This needs to reflect in the general set up of library spaces. This question tests the candidate’s foresight and preparedness to effect positive change at the library.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Innovation and creativity
  • Evidence of research about the library
  • Clear perspective about the changing role of libraries in the future


“After taking a tour of the library, I realized that the library is making provisions for collaborative learning amongst patrons via the custom-made study group sitting spaces. To build on this, I’d reduce the conventional individual learning spaces to make rooms for virtual learning spaces and other kinds of virtual collaboration.”

How Have You Adapted To The Changes In Technology In Your Role As A Librarian

Being able to identify the impact of technology on the role of a librarian shows the candidate is very informed and well aware of the current trends in that field. As an interviewer, the candidate’s response shows you how they are preparing to better position themselves for the future.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Interest in professional development
  • Preparedness for the future of work


“Currently, the major impact of technology on my role as a librarian is the improved access to information and resources. As a result, librarians have had to learn new technology continuously as it’s released. This is to ensure we can provide reference services to users regardless with the most modern and effective technology.”

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Most Asked Librarian Interview Questions With Answers

Here are the top 10 most asked librarian interview questions, along with suggestions on how to respond to each of them so you can ace the interview.

1. What attracts you to this role?

The interviewer wants to know that you applied for this role because it will fulfill you. You are going to spend a significant amount of time carrying out the job. The interviewer wants to hire someone who will stay for a while. Show the interviewer you have a genuine interest in the role. Think specifically about the library or institution you are interviewing for. Try to avoid giving a generic answer, but rather, tailor your answer with as much specific information as you can. Before the interview, research the library or institution and its current or recent projects. Highlight any aspects of those projects that would be interesting to you.

Answer:As a librarian, I want the library I work in to be part of the community. A library isnât just about books, but also about bringing people together. I followed the recent drive you had to increase the number of community groups using the library, including offering extended opening hours to allow more groups to make use of the facilities. Projects like that are the reason I want to work here.

2. In what way do you think your role as a librarian can positively affect the community?

3. How do you define your collection development and maintenance strategy?

4. How would you describe your management style?

10. What is your vision for the library?

How Can A Librarian Positively Impact Their Community

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One of a librarians primary goals should be to foster a supportive environment that will develop and strengthen the community. This question will help determine how a candidate plans to contribute to society. What to look for in an answer:

  • Desire to connect others
  • Ability to see the big picture
  • Knowledge of the role


With a collection of available resources, librarians serve as a driving force in educating the public and providing assistance to those in need. For instance, librarians can help institute programs to provide employment and housing assistance or guide patrons to appropriate resources to learn new skills.

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How Do You Approach Goal

Most hiring managers know that goal-setting is a powerful tool that can facilitate greater success. As a result, they want to see how candidates view goal-setting, leading them to ask this question.


I believe goal-setting is essential, as it helps me focus my efforts based on organizational objectives. My preferred approach is to review the companys priorities and how they relate to my position. Then, I create well-defined, actionable targets using the SMART goals process. That way, I have clear objectives that are measurable and motivating.

However, I also go the extra mile, breaking down larger goals into micro-goals. That way, I can see every step between myself and the objective, creating a roadmap that guides me toward success.

How Do You Approach Stressful Situations With Upset Customers

Many different people visit and use the library’s various services, and the interviewer will want to get an idea of how you calm upset patrons or help others solve conflicts. Use your past experiences to highlight your problem-solving and interpersonal skills.

Example:”I always strive to remain calm and quiet with a welcoming attitude, no matter the situation. In fact, in my last job, I had a patron who was upset because I could not allow them to rent a DVD because they had outstanding late fees for prior DVD check-outs. The patron became a little bit upset and I calmly reiterated the library policy. I reassured the patron that I would be happy to reserve the DVD for as long as they needed until they paid their late fees. They were satisfied with this solution and apologized and left the library.”

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Why Do You Want To Work In A Library

You should not refer to the past while describing the reasons for your job choice. Saying that you applied for a job because youve graduated from library science would indicate a must rather than a desire.

Say them that you like books, that you believe to have what it takes to become a good librarian, and look forward to serving the readers and making the library a great place for everyone.

If you visit the libraries often, you can even narrate how your positive experience with other library clerks motivated you to pursue the same career. One way or another, try to speak with enthusiasm, so the interviews will feel that you really want the job.

What Kind Of Challenges You Are Expecting In This Field

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The employer presents such kind of questions in front of the candidates, just to figure out the level of hard work and dedication that a candidate holds within them to be successful in their field.

Therefore, expecting certain kind of challenges from the field, he/she is working might mean something to the candidates and to the employers as well. Maintaining challenges in the work filed will provide those candidates with a driving force to work better in their work field.

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Be Nervous But Confident

Thats right! Its okay to be nervous. Just remember to be confident, too. youve got this and you know your stuff. You were asked to interview for a reason. Being nervous is normal for anyone applying for any position in any profession. It shows you care about the job, you want it, and you are willing to work hard to get it. But remember:

I know what Im doing.

Repeat that to yourself when youre about to interview for that first library job you want. You sent in your resume and polished up your portfolio. Youre qualified.

As a new librarian who just went through the interview process: I am just as nervous, confused, and overwhelmed as everyone said I would be. One thing I can say with confidence is that the library hired me because I am a qualified and capable librarian.

You wont get an interview for every application you submit to a librarian job opening. But as a famous hockey player once said: You miss 100% of the shots you dont take. Even if you interview but dont get the job, you were qualified enough to get a shot at the position. So give yourself a hand! Thats no small feat in the hyper-competitive world of librarian jobs.

So submit your resume, prepare yourself, and blow the interviewers away!

What advice do you have for librarians looking to ace their interview? Have a library interview experience youd like to share? Post in the comments below!

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