Another #hyperlib Job Description: Innovation Catalyst Librarian (Librarian 1)

This job was shared with our class last year. I wrote a column about it as well.(AgentsofChange) Please comment as you’d like. What resonates? Will we see more jobs like this?

Innovation Catalyst Librarian (Librarian 1)

Trenton Free Public Library, Trenton NJ

Salary: $50,765 starting
Status: Full-time and benefitted, 35 hours per week including evenings and weekends.
Application Review will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Description
The Trenton Free Public Library is in search of a passionate, creative, type-A professional who will be instrumental in helping lead our organization into significant and meaningful Change!!  Our Library is poised to leap into the future and we are looking for someone to assist.  We are not interested in snail paced incremental change- but rather overhauling everything from policy to staff training, from technology to programming and more immediately.

This position is a rare opportunity to shape a dream job!   We are NOT looking for someone to simply run our Facebook page and Tweet; but rather an individual who is focused on the future.  We want to create an environment where you won’t just advise us on the next ‘big thing’— with only your own vision as the limit- you can CREATE the next big thing!

The successful candidate will, with a great deal of autonomy, work directly for the Library Director. They will engage in all aspect of professional Librarianship.  They will work in all areas of the Library so as to be versed in where and what improvements and change are needed.  They will assist other Librarians in pulling together various divergent areas of the Library’s services to create cohesion and thus improve our performance.  They will take the lead on grant applications to assist in the funding of  innovative services and opportunities.

The Librarian must have strong leadership skills, passion, and a clear vision and ability to implement 21st Century Librarianship and Library Services in all aspects of Library Service. In addition, a thorough knowledge of:

  • the principles, practices and techniques of modern library operation;
  • current trends in the delivery of library services;
  • library and social media technology;
  • grant application;
  • integration of technological solutions for everyday challenges;
  • reference and research techniques;

the ability:

  • to maintain accurate records and statistics and complete reports;
  • exercise initiative and independent judgment;
  • establish and maintain effective working relationships with customers and all library staff;
  • communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing.

Education and Experience
The successful candidate must have a Master’s degree in library science from an ALA accredited library school and public library experience. Demonstrated knowledge of technology and social media is expected.

12 thoughts on “Another #hyperlib Job Description: Innovation Catalyst Librarian (Librarian 1)

  1. Nydya

    “We are not interested in snail paced incremental change- but rather overhauling everything from policy to staff training, from technology to programming and more immediately.” Wow, I love their bold stance on innovation and commitment to change. They are not messing around!

  2. Sarah Mettler

    @Michael – What jumped out to me about this job description was the honesty. They are asking for exactly what they want and are not afraid that it is different. With this kind of honesty in the job description I feel they will be sure to get candidates who are also passionate about moving the library into the next phase.

  3. Genesee Rickel (she/her)

    @michael – Other than the other two things that have been mentioned, here are two more the stood out to me:
    1) “This position is a rare opportunity to shape a dream job!” – Being allowed to truly mold your own position is AMAZING! I had the great fortune to do this once and it was the best professional experience of my life. It melded so well to my interests, my values, and what I wanted to learn, I was very motivated to do my best there.
    2) “The successful candidate will, with a great deal of autonomy, work directly for the Library Director. They will engage in all aspect of professional Librarianship. They will work in all areas of the Library so as to be versed in where and what improvements and change are needed. They will assist other Librarians in pulling together various divergent areas of the Library’s services to create cohesion and thus improve our performance. They will take the lead on grant applications to assist in the funding of innovative services and opportunities.” – This could get overwhelming in practice. It kind of sounds like there are teams that they will be working with, but I’d be nervous that I’d be expected to do a lot of this on my own (or perhaps be entering a space where staff weren’t buying in so the team I’d be working with would be a struggle). I think I’d expect more money for this amount of job scope, but I also live in the Seattle area so my understanding of reasonable compensation is also skewed by my cost of living.

  4. Kay Wolverton Ito

    My initial reaction after reading this job description is that it sounds amazing, like my dream job. I then read your column, @michael, and see that it may not be as dreamy as I first thought. In particular, I don’t have a thick skin, and I agree that this position would require one. Upon further thought, it sounds like a job description for a hands-on, innovative library director, minus all the administrative stuff that necessarily takes up a director’s time. This job does really appeal to me; I wouldn’t relish pouring over budgets and sitting in bureaucratic meetings all day, but to have agency to effect change would be very rewarding. Do you know, @michael, what became of this job search?

  5. Krista Schmidt

    This job description fills me both with tremendous hope and paralyzing fear! It feels too good to be true, sounding like such and incredible opportunity at first glance, but overwhelming and unrealistic upon reflection. I appreciated your column @michael and the fact that you dug deeper into those red flags in this position.

  6. Ariel Dyer

    Several red flags for me as well! As you mentioned in your article @michael, the ask to “overhaul everything from training to staff training” jumped out at me as not only a GIANT, sweeping category that requires multiple skills (and should require multiple staff!). It also suggests they don’t have anyone on staff currently they trust to do that work, whether that mistrust is founded or a sign of them not allowing staff to thrive. Coupled with “with a great deal of autonomy, work directly FOR the library director” it just really sounds like they expect this superhero librarian to do every damn thing. Overwhelming for sure, and a guaranteed road to burnout.

    Another thing that stood out to me was the lack of specificity, in addition to the sweeping hopes the job description puts on this one position. They simply ask for “public library experience,” not a year range, and for vague “demonstrated knowledge of social media and technology.”

    Something I WILL say in addition, though: I don’t know the cost of living of New Jersey so maybe I’m wrong, but the starting salary seems pretty good, for a public librarian position. Again I could be way off there as I live in a (relatively) more affordable area of CA. I know for sure a starting salary for a position with my county is much less.

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