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Librarian Interview Questions

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  1. How can a librarian positively impact their community? See answer
  2. What does customer service mean to you? How will you excel in providing superior customer service? See answer
  3. How would you help a college student conduct research? See answer
  4. How might you create an inviting environment that promotes learning? See answer
  5. Do you find importance in library instruction programs? What is your experience in conducting learning sessions? See answer
  6. How does social media act as a tool in crafting a powerful online presence? How do you use social media as a librarian? See answer
  7. What do you do to ensure that your patrons have access to new and relevant reading materials? See answer
  8. Can you explain a time you successfully managed and resolved a difficult encounter with a patron?
  9. Do you have experience using and updating library databases? Can you provide me with an example from your previous job?
  10. Have you ever had to work with a minimal budget as a librarian? How do you decide what to prioritize?
  11. Do you have experience networking with local authors and organizing reading events? What examples can you provide?
  12. A patron returns a damaged book and refuses to pay for the damages. How do you handle the situation?
  13. What is your process for training library staff?
  14. Do you enjoy creating themed book displays? Can you give me an example of a particular theme project you enjoyed?
  15. What books would you recommend to patrons, based on what you’ve read recently?
  16. Can you tell me about a time you went above and beyond to help a patron find the resources they needed?
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8 Librarian Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

How can a librarian positively impact their community?

A:

One of a librarian’s 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

Example:

“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.”

Q:

What does customer service mean to you? How will you excel in providing superior customer service?

A:

A librarian serves as a point of reference who can influence and direct others in their quest. Ask this question to learn how much importance a candidate places on maintaining a customer-oriented space. What to look for in an answer:

  • Temperament
  • Customer service definition
  • Methods adopted to help others

Example:

“Customer service means providing value and helping someone in need, despite facing obstacles that may inhibit the ability to bring resolve. I enjoy being able help others by locating a resource or demonstrating the best approach to perform research, and I do so cheerfully and patiently.”

Q:

Explain a time you successfully managed and resolved a difficult encounter with a patron.

A:

Preserving a peaceful climate can be difficult when managing a disturbance, and employing a candidate who understands how to resolve conflict can be a valuable asset to your organization. What to look for in an answer:

  • Adaptability in uncomfortable situations
  • Composure
  • Conflict resolution skills

Example:

“One evening, a woman using the internet became agitated and quite vocal, disrupting other guests. I approached her, remained calm and listened intently to her dilemma – which helped her regain composure – as she explained her concern over an upcoming medical procedure. She was having difficulty navigating the computer, so I sat down with her to offer several techniques to aid her search and encouraged her to find me if she had additional questions.”

Q:

How would you help a college student conduct research?

A:

Students visit the library to reference trustworthy and accurate material they can confidently use and cite. This question identifies a candidate who can point students in the right direction. What to look for in an answer:

  • Organizational aptitude
  • Communication skills
  • Resourcefulness

Example:

“After identifying and assessing a student’s topic, I compile a list of helpful sources specific to their research needs. The library research database is especially useful, as it has access to journals, books, magazine and newspaper articles, historical documents, and additional resources. Referencing course reserves is useful when a student seeks information related to a specific college course.”

Q:

How might you create an inviting environment that promotes learning?

A:

Developing and maintaining an atmosphere conducive to learning is essential in welcoming students, professionals, parents, children and others. Ask this question to learn a candidate’s approach to establishing a learning centric hub. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ingenuity
  • Attention to detail
  • Specific examples

Example:

“Creating a warm, inviting environment means maintaining cleanliness, eliminating clutter and adding special touches like healthy plants, warm lighting and comfortable chairs in quiet nooks. In my previous role, I incorporated attractive signage and displays that drew attention to certain stations and helped navigate the library, increasing the average visit by 30 minutes.”

Q:

Do you find importance in library instruction programs? What is your experience in conducting learning sessions?

A:

Library instruction is a valuable asset to those interested in understanding how to effectively use library resources. This question uncovers if a candidate has previously participated in and finds value in offering library instruction. What to look for in an answer:

  • Collaboration
  • Teaching techniques
  • Critical thinking skills

Example:

“As library instruction is a beneficial and important program to institute, I take pride in working with library staff to develop comprehensive sessions suitable for audiences of all demographics. I enjoying leading the sessions, incorporating fun facts and creative exercises, to present the information clearly and memorably.”

Q:

How does social media act as a tool in crafting a powerful online presence? How do you use social media as a librarian?

A:

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:

  • Marketing knowledge
  • Target audience strategies
  • Social media platform experience

Example:

“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.”

Q:

What do you do to ensure that your patrons have access to new and relevant reading materials?

A:

Librarians are responsible for stocking their facility with new reading material to keep patrons happy. They also have a duty to listen to patron requests and make orders based on their needs. This question allows an interviewer to determine whether a librarian candidate values their patrons' opinions. It also helps an interview gauge a candidate's ability to keep up with reading trends.

The candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Passion for reading
  • Drive to research popular genres or series
  • Engagement with patrons

Here's an example of a great answer to this interview question:

Example:

"I do several things to ensure library patrons have what they need to learn and enjoy reading. First, I ask patrons to fill out a quick survey on our website that tells me about what they like to read and which genres or series they want to see more of in the library. When I see recurring patterns in patron surveys, I order more of that specific genre or series.

I am also subscribed to several different magazines and newsletters for librarians that go over trending genres, up-and-coming authors or popular topics based on age. This allows me to determine what I should add to the facility over time."

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