Because of my pesky need to eat in 2004, I’ve been searching for librarian jobs off and on the last few months. Since my last position was as a corporate librarian, I forgot what’s involved when applying for academic or public librarian positions, namely answering those dreaded supplemental questions. Like death, taxes, and the latest on Bennifer, it’s impossible to apply for any sort of professional (and even semi-professional) librarian jobs without baring your soul on scintillating topics such as
- patrons staring at porn
- your vision of library service
- patrons wanting to make bombs
- the future of librarianship
- working with diverse populations
- patrons wanting to stare at pictures of naked librarians making bombs, etc., etc.
No one at library school told me that applying for jobs meant writing an endless series of mini-grad school applications. What’s worse is the fact that the questions seem to be the same no matter what position you’re applying for, though it does make it easy for the applicant who’s smart enough to keep copies of her/his answers (you are keeping copies, aren’t you?). If libraries are looking for answers that will give applicants the opportunity to crawl to the top of the heap, why not be creative? Something like:
- You are the royal librarian for King Amenhotep III of Egypt. The king has sent his high priest to collect plans outlining the building of a pyramid that will celebrate his reign after he’s moved on to the afterlife. Unfortunately the library has an in-house use only policy due to previous damage caused by a distracted slave dropping them into the Nile. Please write an in-library use policy that will prevent you from being summarily executed. Must be written on papyri and Middle Egyptian hieroglyphics–policies written in Late Egyptian hieroglyphics will NOT be considered.
- Christina Aguilera wants to find a new thong that will attract the attention of America’s It-Boy of the Moment, Ashton Kutcher. What databases would you recommend to Christina? And what story puppets would you select to entertain her bodyguards?
- Do you really want to hurt me? Do you really want to make me cry? Describe in at least 500 words, you bitch!
- Barbara Walters has asked a fellow reference librarian at the desk that if she were a tree, what kind of tree would she be; the librarian replies that she saw herself as an oak. You know that she’s definitely a sickly poplar, if anything. How do you approach Barbara and correct the error without smashing the other librarian’s ego to bits? Provide examples using previous experiences with celebrity interviewers.
- In the Year 2525, will the profession be alive? Will the reference interview still survive? What will we find?
- Describe techniques you would use to prevent a snarky librarian coming up with stupid supplemental questions for her own entertainment.
Remember: answers must be received by the end of this week; postmarks will not be accepted.