E-JASL: The Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship


Date of this Version

Fall 2004

Document Type



Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship (Fall 2004) 5(2-3). Also available at http://southernlibrarianship.icaap.org/content/v05n02/sproles_c01.htm.


Copyright 2004, the authors. Used by permission.


Much discussion has taken place in the literature over the difficulty finding qualified candidates to fill vacancies within libraries. Emphasis has been placed on recruitment, internships, scholarships, and other partnerships by library science schools and libraries to attract new people to the profession. Even so, applicant pools are dwindling [Simmons-Welburn and McNeil, 2004] and many institutions have been forced to rewrite job ads after initial postings to locate a qualified candidate. Factors hindering vacancy searches include:

  • Graying of the profession, “Thousands of librarians will be retiring in the next ten years” [Simmons-Welburn and McNeil, 2004]
  • Budget constraints/less positions [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2004]
  • Low pay in comparison to other professions [Congress on Professional Education, 1999]
  • Less people entering the profession [Kaufman, 2002]

Since more and more experienced candidates are retiring, frequently recruitment must turn towards entry-level candidates. This paper takes a look at the minimum requirements acceptable to employers to hire a candidate with no professional experience.

A review of the literature reveals no specific focus on entry-level position requirements. There have been several studies analyzing position announcements for content. These studies focused on different specializations within the library field or a thorough examination of a particular year. Although some studies have included entry-level librarians, none examined these trends for changes in entry-level requirements over time.

This paper attempts to answer some of the questions about trends with entry-level positions, such as:

  • What are the minimum requirements acceptable for an entry-level position?
  • Have these requirements become more stringent or lax over time?
  • What types of librarianship offer the most entry-level positions?
  • Are there substantial differences in the requirements for reference, technical services, and systems librarian entry-level positions?
  • Are there substantial differences in salaries between the three types of positions?
  • What impact has technology had on the requirements for entry-level jobs?

This study should pinpoint what experience and knowledge are required of new graduates once they enter the profession and benefit institutions seeking to fill vacancies.