A New Career In A New Town, Libraries

A New Career In a New Town: Communication Between Employers and Job Seekers

I so very much enjoyed writing my last post titled A New Career In A New Town: Librarians On The Move and I really loved the conversation that it generated so what I’m gonna do is start up a new category on this website focused on all things job hunting, moving, and growth as a librarian. And with that, here we go.

COMMUNICATION is something we always need to keep open. I understand that sometimes it is hard to do so. Sometimes there are layers to an organization or group which makes communication difficult. Sometimes it is difficult to deliver the bad news to someone who has applied for a job. There are many things that can make communication between a potential employee and a library looking to fill a position difficult, but no matter the situation communication should always be timely, open, and clear.

An employer who is looking to hire someone should be checking their inbox (or snail mail) at least once a day for new resumes/cover letters. When an employer gets something from a job seeker, they should send them an email/letter back letting the job seeker know that they have received their application and would be getting back to them by a certain date.

This is an excerpt from an email I received 5 minutes after sending in my resume and cover letter for a job opening.

What you see above is an excerpt from an email I received 5 minutes after emailing my resume and cover letter to an employer looking to hire someone confirming that they got my application. Getting this email back from an employer will do something amazing for the job seeker: it cuts down on the stress and anxiety that usually comes with applying for a new job. Let’s face it: finding a great job that inspires you, applying for that job, playing the waiting game, and to top it all off doing the interview thing is tough stuff on a human being. There’s so much excitement, worry, and anticipation with this song and dance. Anything that an employer can do to make it a less stressful experience for the job seeker is welcome. Remember, there are two sides to this employment story. Someone needs a job so that they can live, but at the same time you need a candidate who is not only qualified but full of energy, ready to tackle the work ahead.

This is an excerpt from an email I received 5 minutes after sending in my resume and cover letter for a job opening. (1)

What you see above is an example of how not to do communication with someone who has applied for a job at your organization. First and foremost, the “we got your resume and cover letter” email came SEVEN days after applying. Those seven days were spent worrying “did my email get lost in the internet?” and also “well when is it an acceptable time to email them back?”. This is a stressful game to be playing in your head as a job seeker, and potential employers should try to help minimize this stress. Digging deeper, we see a 24 day lack of communication from the potential employer to the job seeker after they had an interview. Remember that it is OK to say to the job seeker that, while we enjoyed our interview with you the organization has decided to pursue another path.  This is not the easiest thing to say but it helps the job seeker move on and attempt to find another job that they can apply to and focus their energy on.

Open and honest communication between an employer and a job seeker starts off a potential relationship in a good way.. This kind of approach to hiring and job seeking does two things:

  1. It allows the employer to better understand who the job seeker actually is and where they are coming from.
  2. It minimizes the stress and anxiety on the job seeker, which allows them to give the employer a better interview and idea of the kind of person that they are.

Stress and anxiety can change a person drastically. Think of minimizing or eliminating the typical stress and anxiety of the job hunt/interview as a way for you to get the best possible fit for your organization.



Benson Memorial Library, Community Building, Libraries, Life, Technology, Titusville, PA

Pokémon GO at the Library

Before I start, I must give credit where credit is due: amazing librarians Chantel Theunissen and Pam Jones of New Zealand for their awesomeness and inspiration to do something with Pokémon GO here in Titusville, PA. They helped me see what libraries are all about once again….people, conversations, and connections. It was perfect timing. I was getting a bit negative there. (sorry)

The idea was simple: purchase a few lures, set a time, set off those lures, and tell people to come to the library. Once they came, the thing that would connect us and start conversation would be Pokémon. We had some books out and about but the real goal wasn’t circulation…it was community building. And it sure did happen.

One helpful way of promoting this event was to target Facebook groups. In my semi-rural neck of the woods I found 4 Pokémon GO related groups. There’s probably more but that’s all I felt that I needed to find to help promote the event. Of course, we also used our own library Facebook page and got our awesome paper the Titusville Herald to also help us by running a story.

Our Youth Services Librarian Ashlee Norwood hangs out with a new library patron and chats about Pokemon GO.



We had a blast running the program for our community. It was two hours full of conversation, sharing, and community building. Will we do this again? Of course! We will do whatever we can to start up amazing conversations with our community.

It rained a bit so we went inside. No worries though! We still had a blast.
Libraries, Library Director, Management, Teens

More Library Stuff

I am just going to toss out quotes that are floating around in my brain. Connect them in any way that you will.

  • Libraries count circulations, door counts, and more. These are great numbers but we need to think bigger than this. How can we count hi-fives and hugs from our patrons? A hi-five from a teenager in a library is one of the most important things that can happen in a public library. How do we fix our broken world and help everyone see that there is value in hi-fives and hugs?
  • Some people are good at customer service. Some people are good at using the public library as a canvas for their creative public programs. Recognize these talents in each and every individual and respect these talents. Don’t push people to be everything at once. Let them be themselves.
  • The moments where we relax with each other, chat, and not force work are some of the best moments we can have in a library. Relax. Talk to each other. This is your job, not your life. Sit back, make some tea, and talk.
  • Working in a public library is not about competition. It is about community. We are not here to be Library Journal Library of the Year 5 Star Winner Full Page Cover Spread. We are here to ensure that those that visit us and utilize our services leave with a smile.

Every blog post needs an image and here’s a great image of Prince being the fucking coolest person that ever lived.

ALSO PS: here’s a 14 minute track of all the background music in Purple Rain shhhh it is pretty darn amazing.

Libraries, Library Director, Management


I know there are probably studies out there that help prove that just a little bit of kindness can go a long way and that kindness does in fact have a monetary value. I know that the whole “be nice to everyone and in return kindness will come to you” is a bit of a hippy dippy idea but I still believe in it. And here’s a good example of that in action


An organization was looking into one of our meeting rooms and inquired about if they’d have to pay to use the space. In the end, it all came down to the idea that they’d have to pay the $20 meeting room fee. I was hesitant to charge them the feed because I always want to do my best to help people out and money can complicate things, but in this case the fee was something we could not avoid. We talked about it and everything moved forward with the $20 fee in place.

This morning I received payment for the meeting room use which (as you can see above) went above the $20 fee that was originally requested. It put quite a smile on my face and in my heart to see this extra donation to the library as well as the kind note that came with it. Yes, I can honestly say that this made my day.

When we have an open communication with others and be positive and kind, good things come in return. Libraries, please keep this in mind as you grow, create policy, and work with your community. We’re in this TOGETHER.

Libraries, Presentations


7:00-9:00AM: Sleep in because you deserve it.

10:00AM: Eat Breakfast and Talk About Things

11:00AM: Stand up, talk to someone new, and ask someone to go for a walk with you.

11:30PM: FIRST SESSIONS. Choose from one of the following:

  • Let’s sit around a table and talk about books we love
  • Let’s play some video games/board games together
  • Let’s go outside and be nice/do nice things to/for random strangers

1:00PM: Lunch and Talk About Things. There will be a stand up comedian who will put on a really funny performance while we eat because laughing is great.

2:15PM: SECOND SESSIONS. Choose from one of the following:

  • Let’s sit around a circle and talk about what we can do every day to make our libraries better for people. Think about the small things!
  • If you like to make music, join us in a room where we all can play instruments and make music.
  • Meditate: We’re just going to sit in this room and meditate.

3:45 PM: Afternoon Tea/Coffee and some exercise

4:15 PM: We’ll invite a guest speaker to talk to us for a bit. 30 minutes tops. They will be awesome and funny and inspire.

5:00 PM: Everybody needs a little time away. Go get some dinner by yourself or with a group. We don’t have to babysit you the whole conference. Do what you want.

9:00 PM: We’ve organized a get together at a bar. Beer and liquor make people feel relaxed and then we all can talk more and take our crazy ideas even further.

12:00 AM: Dance Party. Let’s find a really great gay dance club and dance for awhile.

2:00 AM: The dance party may close up at this time and we are probably worn out from dancing a lot. Let’s go to a greasy spoon and get some breakfast food.

4:00 AM: Goodnight everyone. Go to bed. You deserve it.

THE NEXT DAY: No sessions, no meetings, nothing. You get to take the day off and sleep in. You deserve it.

Libraries, Social Media, Technology

Goodbye Listservs, Hello Branch Groups

For the past few months, I have been thinking about Branch.  I originally wrote about the service here.   Basically, what Branch does is allow you to expand on conversations.  Say a 140 character tweet gets your attention and you wanna expand that conversation?  Take it over to Branch and you can do just that.

Recently, Branch announced a new feature called Branch Groups.  I had the honor of being asked by the amazing folks over at Team Branch to start up one of the first Branch Groups.  I did just that, and you can find the Branch Group “The Library” by clicking right here.  Has it taken off like a wildfire?  Not just yet, but patience!  Good things take time.  Consider this a post to give Branch Groups a kick in the butt.

Branch - Groups

I started to think about how librarians could better use Branch Groups to extend their professional conversations.  I struggled with this question for weeks…how do I convince a bunch of librarians to get involved in another thing online?  And then it hit me….Branch Groups can replace the Library Listserv.

I’m not here to critique the listserv.  They’ve done an amazing job at keeping librarians in touch, sharing ideas, and more.  For a lot of people, these are their social networks.  However, things are changing.  I look at my own listserv reading habits and I see a pattern: I log into my work email, look at my listserv folder, and scan the subjects for anything interesting.  If I see something, I try to read the first message in the conversation.  But most times I get lost…am I reading the initial post?  Am I reading someone’s reaction?  How did this conversation get way off the original topic?  What happens to me then?  I give up.  I’ve asked a few of my colleagues about their listserv reading habits and it’s pretty much the same thing: “I see a large number of unread items in my inbox and I panic and just start deleting.  I don’t have time to sift through them.”

But there’s also another layer to overcome: how do you get your employees to switch over to a new way of having a conversation? Most people feel VERY comfortable with listservs.  Change is a really hard thing.  Plus, most people will not want to have one more login and one more thing to check.  But here’s one way to work around that.

There are a lot of librarians out there that:

  1. Want to get better at using social media.
  2. Want to make their library better known on social media.
  3. Want to START using social media.

This path offers those folks the opportunity to dive in.  Link the Branch groups experience to the listserv experience…it’s all the professional conversation you’ve come to know now in one nice and organized place.  The bonus?  It gets you involved in social media.  It’s like a kick in the butt for those that want to try things out or get better at them.  And it’s a good kick in the butt…you learn to share, contribute, and from that you develop a comfort with social media.

The Library

To start, here’s a link to the Branch Group that I created for this sole reason: THE LIBRARY.  Can we take our listserv conversations, move them into this nice and organized format, and in turn grow our social media saavy?  I like to think so.

Libraries, Music

If this is communication, I disconnect

For 27 years Ive been trying to believe
and confide in different people I’ve found.
Some of them got closer than others and
someone wouldnt even bother and then you came around

I didnt really know what to call you, you didnt know me at all
But I was happy to explain.
I never really knew how to move you
So I tried to intrude through the little holes in your veins
And I saw you

But thats not an invitation, thats all I get
If this is communication, I disconnect
Ive seen you, I know you
But I dont know
How to connect, so I disconnect

I’m not gonna beat around the bush folks.  I’ve been down quite a bit recently.  And confused.  The idea of disconnecting from the internet has crossed my mind so many times over the past few weeks.  I want to throw my Blackberry into the ocean.  I want to cancel my internet subscription.  Delete my Twitter account, withdraw from Facebook, and heck, maybe even stop blogging.

Social media is a beautiful thing.  I get so much inspiration and ideas from being involved.  I’ve met so many wonderful people using social media that I now call my friends.  Yet at the same time, social media has been weighing heavily on my soul.  Sometimes you put so much into something you believe so much in and you get very little out.  Maybe I’m just being a selfish jerk.  I don’t know.   But anywho, it feels like there’s a communication breakdown.

How do you get out of a communication breakdown?