Oct 24, 2023
Library Interview Questions and Goals

Common Library Interview Questions

The interview questions you’ll be asked for a library job may vary from one employer to the next, but there are some common questions that most libraries will ask. These questions range from behavioural to technical, and include questions about your knowledge of library systems, cataloguing, and information literacy.

Interviewers will also want to know if you have experience working with community engagement and collaboration.

1. What is the library’s mission?

Libraries provide access to information resources that enhance learning and research. They are essential in promoting education, literacy, and intellectual freedom.

Libraries level the playing field by empowering people regardless of age, income, location or ability to connect with the world around them. They are dynamic democratic institutions that promote community, creativity and entrepreneurship.

To teach students and faculty critical information literacy skills. To develop an expanding collection of resources to meet changing curriculum and research needs. To establish cooperative agreements for resource sharing with other libraries and consortia.

2. What is the library’s vision?

The library’s vision is to provide the right information to the right person at the right time and in the right format. This is achieved by providing access to a wide range of resources that support the teaching, learning, and research needs of the college community, including digital and online materials, as well as physical print collections. The library seeks to enhance the quality of student learning by developing services and programs that promote intellectual curiosity, and the social, cultural and professional development of students, faculty, and staff.

3. What are the library’s goals?

Libraries are more than just places to read and borrow books. They are also vital community resources that promote learning and stimulate intellectual curiosity among patrons of all ages. Interviewers will want to see that you understand the full scope of this role and will use your skills in library classification and referencing to positively impact the library’s community.

Interviewers may also ask you about your vision for libraries in the digital age. Describe how you would leverage social media to promote the library’s services and resources to a broad audience.

4. What is your approach to managing volunteers or student workers in the library?

Librarians are responsible for curating and maintaining a diverse collection of resources that caters to their community’s needs. This question evaluates your ability to assess the library’s collection and make informed decisions about what to keep or add.

Interviewers want to see that you can collaborate with others and create meaningful programs or services that benefit the entire community. This is also an opportunity to highlight your experience working with diverse groups of patrons. Explain how you would engage diverse populations to promote library resources and increase community awareness.

5. What is your approach to promoting and fostering teamwork and creating effective working relationships?

A librarian’s job is to foster a love of reading and intellectual curiosity among patrons of all ages. Interviewers may ask you to discuss your approach to this, as well as how you promote library programs and services.

Librarians must be able to navigate copyright and intellectual property issues, so interviewers may ask about your experience with these topics. Ensure you provide a thorough and well-rounded answer that shows you have the skills necessary for the position.

6. What are your goals for the library?

Librarians set organizational and communications goals that are relevant to their libraries’ missions. Using SMART goal-setting techniques, librarians are able to develop goals that are specific, measurable, achievable and time-based.

For example, a librarian may decide to create new literacy programs for children and adults. This is a specific goal because the librarian knows exactly what she plans to do. It is also measurable because she can assess how many of the initiatives have been implemented. It is also relevant because it will help the library better serve its patrons.

7. What are your goals for the students?

Interviewers want to know that you are passionate about reading and that you have a strong desire to help patrons find books that interest them. Showing that you have experience with different classification systems, such as Dewey Decimal or the Library of Congress, is also an excellent way to demonstrate this skill.

Libraries are more than just a place to store and lend books; they have an important role in the community. Interviewers want to ensure that you understand this and that you have a vision for how you can further develop the library’s role in the community.

8. What are your goals for the library?

Library communications and organizational goals should be SMART—specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. They should also be aligned with the library’s mission and vision.

For example, a library could set a goal to create new programs to help families and adults with literacy. This is a measurable goal, as the number of participants can be tracked and assessed. It is also relevant because enhancing literacy is a core library service.

Leah Sewell is a communications and marketing professional with a healthy obsession for libraries, podcasts, art and from-scratch cooking. She lives in Topeka, Kansas.

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