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What Makes a Good Librarian?

“How do I make myself stand out?” one young librarian asked a community of veteran librarians on Reddit, looking for some advice about jump-starting a library career.

They received some fascinating advice from the community, workplace tips that can help bookstore employees or writers as well. One librarian shared this crucial advice:

If you can, visit the library. Watch how the staff dress, how they speak to the patrons, and (most importantly) how they speak to each other. It’ll tell you a lot about where you are and what they’re looking for. Remember, they have to spend a lot of time with the person they hire. You could be a big part of their lives. Being the right fit for that group can be even more important than having perfect qualifications.

Another librarian had this tip:

Libraries need people who can read. Here’s the twist: I don’t mean books…I mean they need to be able to read people. I worked reference desk for 3 years, and the most important part of my job had nothing to do with library “stuff.” I had to hear someone’s question and often read their facial expressions, read between the lines, or essentially translate what they were saying in order to help guide them quickly and effectively.

Another concluded:

Besides that though, in the interview, the most important things are connecting with the interviewers. Shoot for polite, professional, and comfortable. I’ve always been more inclined to hire the people that I felt most comfortable talking to. The interview is, yes, to ask you questions and have you answer them, but for me at least it is more so to meet people and see if they click.

What would you add? Hiring questions have sparked a passionate debate at The Library Journal as well.

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