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Thanks so much for all the replies to my question.  My original post is =
below, followed by the answers I got.]

Jennifer Turney, teacher/MLIS Student
Westside Elementary, Angleton, TX

----- Original Message -----=20

Hello all,

I'm interviewing sometime this week for the high school librarian =
position in my district.  I've been talking to some of the teachers and =
the current librarian to get something of a feel for the job.  I was =
wondering what other advice you all might have, or questions I should be =
prepared to answer or ask when I interview with the teacher committee (2 =
dept. chairs--1 English, 1 something else--and an additional teacher). =20


One thing they may ask you is if there is something that you will do to =
grab the attention of the students. How to get them into the library =
besides just for research. For ex.. library hunts, book clubs, etc.=20


"What do you think is the most important aspect of a high school

My answer - "That is be user friendly and a welcome environment
for everybody....students, faculty, and

Ask about some of their projects that incorporate the library, what your =
role would be in those projects and what the student outcomes are? =20

**************************** big a part of the curriculum is research?  What =
level of critical thinking is expected?  How deep is research expected =
to go?=20

Budget, room for expansion...dates of the collection, the receptiveness =
of the administration to keeping it updated

Ask questions to get a feel for overall respect for the library.  Ask =
each faculty member present what they see as the main role of the =
library and of the librarian, then be prepared to answer that question =
yourself.  Find out what policies exist, especially regarding computer =
use, room use, teacher use of resources, and collection development.


You might want to ask what the budget currently is; is it broken down by =
books, periodicals, newspapers, computer software, etc. or can you =
decide the divisions.  You also might want to ask to see a copy of the
book selection policy and check to see if there is a procedure to follow =
for challenged materials.

What were the last 3 novels and 2 magazines you have read?

How will you get your library to be a place where students will want to =
use it?

We noticed a gap in your work experience, why did you leave teaching for =
a while?

What groups do you think should use the library?

How will you go about selecting materials?

What is your ideal for a library program?

How will you handle discipline in the library?

How will you help reluctant readers?

Also know about TAKS and how you will help enhance the cirriculum.=20


Ask about who uses the library - how active is the place, are there any =
monthly or annual reports you couldlook at, what is the support staff, =
does the library have an advisory committee?

Questions like that will get yo ua feel for where the library fits in to =
the instructional program.


We always asked about what you are currently reading.  I was shocked =
when some people said they didn't read!  We also asked about books you =
have come across recently which you would like to see in our library.  =
Sometimes that was fiction, sometimes reference, and sometimes =


You may want to check the LM_NET archives. Also, you may want to include =
topics that are current here on LM_NET.
Questions that include local concerns, assessment, and curriculum are =
also pertinent. Seeing the candidates in operation in their own library =
or maybe 30 minutes in yours make also help you make a decision.

I don't have any questions in particular -- but having interviewed my =
replacement once back in the mid 70's you have to really indicate or get =
across that you really like kids.  When I left for my kids they hired =
this person who had got out of teaching because she did not like kids.  =
I was totally against them hiring her but they did anyway.  Finally she =
quit a few years later and they asked me to come back.  I found locked =
in a draw a list of 300+ students out of 700 who were never allowed in =
the library.  She would write down so and so talked to day he is gone =
forever.   Just an overall attitude of liking kids and teachers because =
they both do some pretty dumb things sometimes really needs to come =


I just got done interviewing for several jobs (and got offered =
several!).  I would suggest at the end where they ask if you have any =
questions to ask the principal what their view of the  role of the =
library media specialist is and
if the present librarian is there to ask him/her what program they =
developed or put a lot of time and effort into that they would want to =
see continued with the next person.


When I interviewed for a high school position the English teachers =
wanted to know if I knew MLA and AP(?) citing so that I could assist =
students doing research.=20

When I interviewed last year for the Brownwood High School job, I was =
asked about School Library Standards (various levels), what ideas I had =
for the library in helping achieve the state passing rates for the TAKS, =
according to TEA what are the major components of a model
school library program, what are some of the steps that I would take for =
the development of an exemplary library program that encourages a vision =
of excellence for all learners district wide, recent studies that have
been done on the part a library plays in helping raise test scores.

I asked if they felt that the library was the center of the school and =
if not, what would they like to see done to get it there (or if yes, =
what was its strongest assets), what were some of their areas of =
concern, what was there idea of the responsibilities of a high school =
librarian - job description.=20

  When I interviewed, here are some of the things I feel got me the job:
1.  Willingness to work with any type of software; I let them know that =
I had experience with one, so working with another could not be hard.
2.  Being a team player.
3.  Being flexible; always able to adapt to plan "B" if plan "A" does =
not work.
4.  Willingness to support the community ideas of morality---if parents =
don't like it, take it off the shelf and put it in the back room.


The one question that caught me off guard (well,
it shouldn't have) was "What kind of reading
programs or initiatives do you use to promote
reading at the High School level"

I was used to Bluebonnet etc. at the lower grades
and had to sort of scramble for an answer because
I hadn't dealt with High School in a few years.

Another one that threw me for a minute was the
very first question asked. "If we went back to
all of your teachers and principals and asked
them what they thought of you, what would they
say?"  My teachers and administrators loved me,
but I didn't know how to say that without looking
like I was bragging or presenting falsely.


I attended the recent TLA conference.  There were several workshops that =
may help you.  Go to the TLA website -; then to annual =
then to handouts.  Look for "Hiring People with Right Stuff" and ""How =
to Get the Offer".  There are some popular questions for interviewing.  =
Good Luck!!


Be familiar with teaching strategies, internet strategies, resources, =
discipline--instruct them on how you will be helpful to teacher and =
student alike


A question that I often hear and can make a lot of difference is how =
quiet do you expect the library to be?  One lady, applying for an =
elementary library said she expected complete quiet, she did not get the =
job.  It's
important to have a working environment, but the students will need to =
talk quietly!

Another concerns reading programs, contests, promotions, booktalks, etc. =
 In other words what will you do to promote your library and this is =
more important to you and the library everyday!

You might want to have ideas of how to handle the Internet, censorship, =
plagurism, etc.

Think of what you can bring to the library to make it even better.

My best advice, if asked about something you know nothing about, tell =
them you are willing to put in the effort to learn.

Most libraries are automated and have student computers - think of any =
wonderful ideas you have for managing that.


Be prepared to indicate that you are familiar with the hs curriculum and =
how the library can enhance the curriculum.

Know the types of technology available in the library and ways to use it =
with curriculum.  Teachers will appreciate your willingness to teach (in =
the library or computer lab or their classroom) the technology that =
relates to an assignment so that they can learn it along with the =
and it is not one more thing they need to do.  TLC!!!

One thing I do not do a good enough job of is reading promotion--think =
of ways to do that and the impact that could have on student =

Indicate that you can manage a budget and build a collection of quality =
materials useful for the students and teachers in your school.

If the school has any special initiatives ongoing--such as curriculum =
mapping and essential elements of instruction, 9th grade initiative =
program (there are from my school; your will be different)  Find out =
about that and be ready to talk about how library supports those =

TAlk about the atmosphere you want to create for teachers and students =
in the library.


"You are coming from an elementary library; how do you think you can =
work in a high school library?"  Something to that effect - actually, I =
anticipated it and answered it before they posed it.  I got the job.

  Tell the teachers how helpful they can be to you in developing the =
collection because they know the collection's strengths and weaknesses. =
Its true, I still ask different groups of teachers what they think is =
needed.  After about I year, I learned who would respond and be =
helpful,so those are who I contact. =20
  Tell them how you can be helpful to their program.  You have access to =
a wealth of information through TLC, Marco Polo, etc and you can keep =
them abreast of websites, topics that might apply to their classes, etc.
  Tell them that you will be the library's single best resource because =
of your experience as a librarian, and your education and because you =
also have been a teacher.  The librarian is the interpreter of a
different language not generally spoken by students (teachers, either, =
but dont say that!)   Anyway tell them how you can help their students =


They wanted to know what young adult authors I knew.  What type of co =
worker I was best (wanting me to describe myself).  Was I am to be a =
team player because of having more than one librarian and two clerks.  =
Was I current with what is going on locally, state wide, national with =
education.  How could I best serve the students at a high school level.  =
English, Speech and History use the library the most.  Math & Sciences =
only use the library for extra credit.


1. Technical skills, especially those that would affect student outcomes
2. Collaborative skills involving planning with staff for student =
3. I put together a portfolio of everything that I could pull together =
that looked great - examples:=20
          recent job evaluations
          recent grants written
          recent lesson or unit plans created collaboratively
          examples of district projects completed (i.e., library
procedures manual)
          letters of praise from co-workers and students
          evidence of workshops attended
4.  I let them know what software I was familiar with in the library -in =
my case the software in the library I am going to turned out to be the =
same as what I use now.


Do you have a portfolio of your work?  I brought a scrapbook to the =
committee that hired me, showing projects we had done at my little =
library.   This made a major impact on at least one member of the =

Be ready to discuss collaboration between librarian and teacher, and how =
you can make their lives better.

 needed questions to ask a librarian for an interview.  i just typed =
"interview questions" on one of the search engines (I think it might =
have been Ask Jeeves or Google). I don't remember.  I got over one  =
hundred questions you can ask in an interview.  I customized them for =
out needs, and only used about ten.  The questions can prompt your =
memory  and might be useful for your interview.=20
Hope this helps. Good luck!


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