Tuesday, April 27, 2010

An Arena of Possibility

A friend of mine, who is not a librarian himself, has been asked to head up a search team that will be interviewing candidates for the position of school librarian. He has asked what type of questions I might consider meaningful and enlightening.

Well, John, here are some suggestions.

Before you even call in the candidates, review expectations with administrators. Determine the strengths and weaknesses of your library program and decide how it might best serve your student population. No rigid framework, mind you, just general expectations that the new librarian can use in formulating a plan of action.

Do a bit of homework. Browse a few librarian blogs to get a sense of current trends and issues. Read what Doug Johnson, Joyce Valenza, Buffy Hamilton, Cathy Nelson, Carolyn Foote, for example, are writing about. Check out the topics for conversation on the TL Virtual Cafe site.

Pose questions that don't have a "correct" answer:

Give a definition of "transliteracy" (The ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks) then ask the candidate to relate this to her/his professional duties.

Other questions that might prove productive:

How would you define the role of a school librarian?

What is your comfort level with technology?

Describe your professional development attitude and activities.

What do you think school libraries will be like in 5, 10, 20 years?

What books are you reading now?

How do you feel about social networking, gaming, online learning (good & bad points)?

If you were given an open budget for the library, how would you allocate funds?
What is your passion?

This last query is an important one. You want a dynamic, passionate person in your district, someone who loves people and loves learning. Your students deserve nothing less.

Good luck with your interviews!

"The library is an arena of possibility, opening both a window into the
soul and a door onto the world." -Rita Dove

"Final Jeopardy for Dollhouse" by AsGood


Cathy Jo Nelson said...

Well thanks for the nod. Remember last spring when I was helping my former school develop interview questions to ask potential candidates when the first round (that did not include my help at all) failed to find them a suitable candidate? Here is that link. http://bit.ly/libinterview

PS--they LOVE my replacement, and well they should--I picked him. LOL.

diane said...

Thanks, Cathy, I'll pass that link along.

They may love your replacement, but I'm sure they still miss you.