Image: 'Business Meetings'
Image: 'Business Meetings'
I have been asked to create some questions that may be asked at a 2nd interview of a candidate for a library media specialist position. I am thinking others may have insights and can contribute to this list.

Provided below are some I thought of on my own (in bold print), as well as some potential answers. I will share this with my principal who may appreciate the suggested answers, since she and the panel interviewing may not know what would be an appropriate response. Of course my own biases affect my answers. So I open the wiki to anyone else who wishes to add content. Feel free to add questions and potential appropriate answers so I can share this with my principal.

Please note this is for a second interview, so the list of candidates has been narrowed to a smaller number. The initial interview questions (which I wasn't given) have already been asked. This interview is to give our team more insight into a candidate and determine how well he or she fits into the school role of LMS, particularly at our school.

The questions here are in no particular order. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Professional Organizations ~ Collection Development ~ Long Range Goals

What do you see as the value of belonging to professional organizations?
Candidates should respond with having like minded people from which to network, share, and learn; professional organizations are a good source of professional development that addresses an LMS’s needs (since LMS’s are singletons in a building). Professional organizations allow a candidate to be aware of current and future trends affecting libraries and education.

What is your philosophy of collection development? Could be modified to ask this way: The collection is still outdated. Tell how you will work to make the collection more appropriate for our middle school.
Answer should have evidence of concern for age, dated-ness, weeding inappropriate /outdated titles, knowing the levels of students, particularly lexiles, acquisitions of current award nominees and winners, matching books to content standards, addressing low readers, etc. Candiates should be able to voice an idea for strategies to begin the process.

Where do you expect to be professionally in five years?
Should reference motivation to continue learning
Improvement in current technology
Striving for PD that focuses on library, role of lms, students , etc
Staying up to date and current-relvant

How would you handle a person who objects to a sex education book or a book containing mature content on the shelf?
Candidate should talk about district policy for handling challenged material, collection development and how the books in the media center are in alignment with district collection policy having a positive review, or are selected to meet state standards, or are on nominated awards lists or are winners of the literary awards…
The policy calls for filling out a challenge form, a committee being created (usually involves LMS, parent, principal, and designated others that sometimes includes teachers, students, parents, community, district level personnel, etc.) to read the book and the reconvene t discuss merits of book and come to a consensus on the books appropriateness, relevancy in terms of purpose—reading for pleasure, matching the curriculum, maturity of the students)

How would you handle a question over the phone that you can't answer immediately?
Should prioritize current issues (i.e vendor can be put off immediately)
Students first, always. If there is a class or students requiring attention, try to address their needs first, and promise to call back for a follow up on the call. Take a message.
Make lists to followup on
Gather as much information as you need to assess. Answer knowledgeably if able too, but express that if you don’t know, you’ll strive to research and followup with information with a timeline in mind. Suggest other sources for information as well so that person has some options while you research and followup with possible ideas, insights or solutions.

Other questions to consider:
  • Is there any time that you would refuse to answer a patron’s request?
  • Name two books you have read within the past two months and describe one of them as though you were recommending it to a patron to read. Why would they want to read it?
  • You collaborate with a teacher on their annual animal project. In collaborating with the teacher, what suggestions do you have to redesign or improve the research project to make it more engaging?
  • With more and more students, teachers, and even parents and community utilizing the internet for their most basic reference needs, how does the library and librarian stay relevant in the school and curriculum? Explain why a paraprofessional cannot handle the job requirements of the media center?
  • Tell us about a team, group, or class project you have worked on in your current teaching scenario and share how you utilized the library and the media specialist. What kinds of preplanning included the LMS? What were the expectations of the media center?
  • Teachers often use the library for research or project based learning activities. How do you become a part of learning? What is your role with the teacher? What is your role with the students? How will you encourage teachers to collaborate so that you are familiar with the expectations for student learning when classes come to the media center?
  • What was your most important work-related accomplishment in the past year?
  • How do you make the media center an effective extension of a classroom when classes visit?
  • Being new in the school, how will you acclimate teachers and students to a new LMS?
  • Should discuss orientation and introduction—meet/greet teachers during planning and then students during classes, possibly through ELA; Sitting in on grade level / team meetings
  • How will you use the various avenues for communicating the mission/vision of the library program to its stakeholders? Keeping the library website current, newsletters, ....
  • Reading advocacy is just one facet of a library program. What ways will you promote reading other than book circulation? Booktalks, Teen Read Week, Banned Books Week, Children's Book Week, Bookfairs, Contests, Displays, etc
  • A teacher has read several books by an author in her ELA class, and wants to watch a new released video adaptation of one of the author’s works, but it is not one read by the lass or too the class. It is not a part of the schools owned collection of videos. She wants to use the video in a alternate way to share more about the author and his works, loosely defining it as part of an “author study.” The video is rated PG-13. She asks you what measures she needs to take to 1) be allowed to show the video to her class, and 2) include her entire grade level in viewing the movie. How do you respond.
  • Give us an example of something you did in your current or former job that contributed to a teamwork environment.
  • Have you read Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning? How do you plan to incorporate the nine Information Literacy Standards for Students in your library program?
  • You are entering your ideal library. Describe it.
  • A teacher comes to you saying her lesson on _ is so uninspiring and asks for your help. Describe the steps you take.
  • Most of the library assistants with whom you will work have been in their libraries for several years. How would you handle a situation in which you and the library assistant did not agree on a library procedure? (not sure if this applies to your situation but was a valuable question in my district.
  • How much experience do you have answering reference questions using the Internet and how does this compare with other searches from other sources?

Picture Attribution:
Image: 'Business Meetings'

Some of these questions are gleaned from a page created by Dr. Donna Shannon of USC-SLIS, from which I am an alumni.