By Logan Macdonald + Mo Yang of The Studio @ Anythink Libraries
As Anythink’s Studio spaces evolved and expanded, it became apparent that we would benefit from recruiting front-line professional staff who could better help customers explore their creativity. We wanted people with skill sets, experiences and personal networks different from those already present in the library. How could we update our job descriptions and hiring processes to reach a non-library talent pool and recruit creative, outgoing employees?
As Anythink’s Studio spaces evolved and expanded, it became apparent that the organization would benefit from recruiting front-line professional staff who could better help customers explore their creativity. There were gaps between the experiences we could offer with current library staff and the opportunities we imagined. Library administration felt that the organization needed to hire more employees with the skill sets, experiences and personal networks that would better meet the creativity, resource brokering and informal learning needs of The Studio. This proved to be a bit of a stretch, as we were not accustomed to recruiting from non-library talent pools.
We decided to make some changes to the job description for the Guides, our professional staff position responsible for creating Studio experiences. We added duties like “create participatory programs” and rewrote introductory paragraphs to highlight the importance of The Studio and other informal learning experiences to this position. We also expanded our preferred educational qualifications for guide positions to include any master’s degree, not just an MLIS.
To reach non-library job seekers, we began to post job openings in new places for the most Studio-heavy Guide positions. We tried Craigslist and monster.com initially, and we continue to look for ways to connect with creative, outgoing people who aren’t checking library-specific job boards.
In interviewing prospective candidates, we updated our questions to focus more on the candidate’s creativity and interpersonal skills. We also asked candidates to present the first 10 minutes of a program during the interview, so we could see whether they were able to provide content and an experience that matched the goals of our organization.
We continue to refine our recruiting to find staff with the right mix of skills and experience for The Studio. Our most recent Guide position was posted with the specific intent of hiring someone who has experience hosting participatory experiences that meet the needs of our customers and help them develop their passions. While Anythink continues to value the MLIS librarian, we understand that different skill sets will be required as the organization and the library industry continue to transform.