Results of Last Month’s Hiring in Libraries Survey

In November of last year (2020), the ‘ALA Connect Live’ discussion was explicitly geared towards ALA student members and LIS students. ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. was joined by fellow leaders from the association who spoke to the employment outlook in various library settings and various library roles.

Many of the students that participated in the discussion were concerned about job prospects. In responding to questions, ALA Board members were brutally honest with the students as they indicated that job searches might be long and difficult for the next couple of years. Others commented that hiring budgets had been cut or frozen. Some libraries were not filling vacant positions, while others were having to institute layoffs.

It’s been about five months since that discussion with LIS students. Not much has changed. Though vaccines are now available, it’s still going to be a while before the pandemic is over.  In last month’s (March 2021) issue of Library Worklife, we asked readers to take our brief survey to let us know the current job situation at their libraries/organizations. The results are below.

All respondents were from public libraries.

  • 50% said they are hiring now or will be within the next six months.
  • 25% said they are not currently hiring.
  • 25% said they had laid off a large percentage of staff within the last year.

What does this mean for job seekers? Things remain as the ALA Executive Board members suggested. Job seekers should be prepared to take advantage of every avenue and opportunity available to make connections and get their name out in front of those who may be hiring. Get support from your community. Be sure that you are engaging in self-care, which will be critical to your emotional well-being during this stressful time.