Recruitment Committee Minutes - 2007 Annual

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WESS COMMITTEE FOR THE RECRUITMENT TO THE PROFESSION

ALA ANNUAL, WASHINGTON D.C.
SATURDAY, JUNE 23, 2007

Minutes


The meeting was convened at 8:04 AM.

MEMBERS PRESENT, CURRENT AND INCOMING: Brian Vetruba (chair), Laura Dale Bischof, George Paganelis, Jerry Heverly, Fred Jenkins, Heather Moulaison, Virginia Cole.
MEMBERS PRESENT, OUTGOING: Charlene Kellsey, Karen Green, Todd Gilman.
VISITORS: Sarah Wenzel (WESS chair), Brigitte Döllgast (Goethe Institute), Anne Oechtering (Yale), Simon Healey (Free Library of Philadelphia)

  1. RECRUITMENT WEBSITE
    • The discussion of what to do with the Recruitment website now that its current editor, Karen Green, is cycling off the committee, began with a history of the website. Alternatives were suggested, running from Green continuing to ALA hosting to going with a commercial site to using Richard Hacken’s WESS Wiki (see http://wessweb.info/index.php/Scandinavian_Studies_Web). Wenzel noted that ALA hosting is not entirely viable, not least because there is no good content management system. Green can continue, if necessary, but will need some upgrading at her end. A Wiki would address cycling on and off of members as editors. Wenzel noted that, if commercial option is best, WESS’s operations budget could conceivably cover costs. Heverly observed that some commercial services are as little as $7/month, and can accommodate a Recruitment domain name (as RBMS did).
    • After continued discussion, Vetruba proposed that Recruitment pages move to the WESS Wiki at BYU, and then committee can make decision over time as to whether a commercial site is more viable than an institution-sponsored Wiki. Green voiced an unanswered concern about stats on the Wiki. A subcommittee was assigned to work on the transfer: Virginia Cole, Fred Jenkins, Karen Green, Brian Vetruba. This will be worked on over the next several months and the subcommittee will report at Midwinter.
  2. SURVEY ON FOREIGN LANGUAGE USE
    • Vetruba distributed copies of survey results, with 1819 individuals responding, as of Friday, June 22nd. The survey was sent to 48 listservs: section listservs, language librarian listservs, engineering, and Canadian listservs (this may have slightly skewed results, due to common Canadian bilinguality. Some recipient forwarded it to public library listserv, because of NYPL-type public research libraries, with the result that there are a lot of public-library responses—probably fell in “Other” in question 3.
    • Preliminary results indicate that 13% of respondents did not have basic skills in any non-English language. About one-third indicate a frequent or occasional need for better language skills. About two-thirds of respondents indicated that non-English language skills should be required or preferred for their current position. All of this implies that our committee does have a legitimate purpose. Some free-text comments indicate that many feel that administrators do not value foreign-language skills.
    • Vetruba, Bischof, and Moulaison will be writing up the results as article, possibly in C&RL. Some results will be posted on Recruitment’s website.
    • Wenzel passed along the information that ACRL prefers surveyors to ask ACRL section managers permission before posting surveys on section listservs. This is a result of the ubiquity of SurveyMonkey surveys, and the sense of potential survey overload. Consensus was that, while ideal, this may be difficult as it is not easy to identify section managers. Vetruba noted if ACRL wants to implement a policy, it needs to be communicated and clearly stated on ALA’s and ACRL’s websites.
    • There was a brief discussion of ramifications of survey; for example, job ads don’t necessarily reflect what institution wants, because they may not ask for something they think will scare off applicants. What defines “fluency”?
  3. JOB SHADOWING PROPOSAL
    • Paganelis proposed a database that would match mentors and mentees geographically and professionally for one-shot shadowing opportunities (as opposed to internships), and wondered how much involvement would the Recruitment Committee want to have in such a project. In a survey of 16 library schools’ websites, seven made no mention of shadowing; that that did, mentioned it in the context of an internship program. There is no evidence that job-shadowing is a real component of library school offerings.
    • Green cautioned as to what promises such a database might make, or be perceived to make: Green and Gilman were both inundated with international requests for job search assistance after the website press release went out to IFLA. There were the following suggestions:
      • posts could be coordinated via WESS-L, not directly through mentors/mentees (Kellsey)
      • the recruitment site could offer a description of shadowing, followed by “if interested, contact X,” with “X” acting as a screen for forwarding (Heverly)
      • the recruitment site could invite interested mentees to contact their nearest university library (Kellsey)
      • the recruitment site could initially offer simply a description of shadowing, with strong encouragement (Paganelis)
    • Other suggestions were to link to the site’s own list of interested mentors, to post a query to WESS-L asking for more such volunteers, or to have a web-form on the site that could be monitored for match-ups (vide web-form on WESS Research and Planning page).
    • Paganelis and Heverly agreed to serve on a design sub-committee for presentation at Midwinter. Also, Heverly agreed to update the “Want More Information” contact list.
  4. PERSONAL RECRUITMENT
    • Heverly had a visit from one recruit, and reported that NYU is offering dual MLS/MA programs, with funding for 20 scholarships.. Green has had two visits plus an email correspondence. Gilman is writing an article about tenure/permanent appointment requirements and noted that 15% of subject specialists don’t have the MLS. Kellsey reported that the University of Colorado’s Provost Fellow’s program is still going strong (aimed at Master’s candidates, recruiting for librarianship). George also noted that online degrees from the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee are offered at in-state tuition. See question 'how much is tuition?' at http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/SOIS/academics/MLIS/mlis_gradfaq.htm.
  5. LIAISING WITH OTHER GROUPS
    • Vetruba is working with the ALA Recruitment Assembly (Jerry will attend this year), and the recruitment site is now listed on ALA’s Recruitment Clearinghouse site. It has been difficult, however to work with ACRL Recruitment. Green noted that, despite our aggressive push to ACLS societies, Google only indicates that our site is linked to by only two other sites. Gilman pointed members to a Letter to the Editor in the most recent American Libraries on the “myth of librarian shortage,” which needs to be combated; he will write a rebuttal.
    • Döllgast asked if foreign librarians are sought for jobs in US, especially given visa concerns. The consensus was that US libraries do hire foreigner librarians, though they are not necessarily sought specifically. Kellsey added that, at UColorado (a state school), job ads require applicants already to be cleared to work in the US.
    • Gilman mentioned that the book So what are you going to do with that?: a guide for M.A.s and Ph.D.s seeking jobs outside the profession, now includes a sidebar on careers in librarianship, for which he was interviewed.
    • Paganelis, as new chair of the Modern Greek Studies Association Library Committee, will be reaching out both to the MGSA and to the Middle East Librarians Association (MELA), which is rumored to have formed a committee to investigate recruitment.
  6. OTHER
    • Vetruba thanked and acknowledged the hard work of many of the outgoing committee members; many of whom played significant roles in getting the Committee established.

The meeting adjourned shortly after 10:00am.

Submitted by Karen Green, 7/12/2007.


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