Thursday, September 30, 2010

Retail Librarianship

I find myself, quite suddenly, in a position of some authority where I work, which includes hiring library staff (no, we're not hiring now, unless you want to be director, and you don't, trust me). While I'm interested in where you got your MLS, what your favorite class was, previous library experience, and other such things, I find myself coming back to one simple question: have you ever worked in retail or a customer service position?
Look, don't get me wrong, I care about the degree that put you tens of thousands of dollars in debt, but I'm more interested in if you folded sweaters at the Gap one summer. Why? Because regardless of where you work in a library, you're going to interact with other people. Even the Technical Service gnomes. And other people can be jerks. You probably knew that. Handling those jerks, being diplomatic about it, takes a certain kind of skill. It's a lot easier for me to teach you how to use the ILS than it is to teach you that.
So I understand if you want to hide your sordid retail experience on a resume or CV, but for an in-person interview, I want to hear all about it.


  1. Well now I feel silly for hiding my "shameful" retail past. Maybe I'll stick it back on the resume...

  2. 2 years in the big red bookstore. I also worked 2 years as a street team member. I'm still in library school, so I'll probably be back at big red books for a third season.