16 Librarian Interview Questions & Answers - InterviewPenguin.com (2022)

If you enjoy reading books, love talking to people, and do not mind (or even prefer) a sedentary and routine job, librarian is a perfect choice for you. While this job pays quite low in some European countries, it offers a decent compensation for people it in the US and in Australia (average annual salary for a library clerk exceeds $50,000 in the States). A good librarian needs a variety of skills, and the right attitude to work. Exactly these skills and attitudes will be tested with the questions in an interview. Let’s have a look at them, one by one.

Table of Contents

Why do you want to work in a library?

You should not refer to the past while describing the reasons for your job choice. Saying that you applied for a job because you’ve graduated from library science (or similar study program) would indicate a must rather than a desire.

Say them that you like books, that you believe to have what it takes to become a good librarian, and look forward to serving the readers and making the library a great place for everyone.

If you visit the libraries often, you can even narrate how your positive experience with other library clerks (and the understanding of the importance of their role) motivated you to pursue the same career. One way or another, try to speak with enthusiasm, so the interviews will feel that you really want the job.

* Check also: Admin. Assistant Interview Questions

(Video) Librarian Interview Questions & Answers

This job is very repetitive. What will motivate you to do it well day in day out.

You have a few options with this question. First one is to say that you prefer routine jobs, that you do not like changes. You can elaborate on it, claiming that you enjoy perfecting your work, and do not get bored in routine environment.

Second good option consists in saying that from your point of view, the job is not repetitive. Sure, the tasks repeat day after day, but new readers visit the library each day, there are new books to categorize, and some problems occur every other day. Whether a job is repetitive is always a question of perspective–and you have the right perspective, don’t you?

Third option, the most creative one, consists in presenting a proactive approach to work. You can say that you plan to organize (or help to organize) various events for readers (such as reader-writer meetings), seminars, and small concerts in the library, and do other things that will improve the experience of the visitors of the library, and bring some creativity to your routine job.

16 Librarian Interview Questions & Answers - InterviewPenguin.com (1)

How do you imagine a typical day in our library?

A good answer to this questions depends on the exact job you apply for, and the size of a library. If you apply for a specific position in a big library, e.g. library technician, or administrator, you should refer to specific duties you’ll take care of in the job.

In the first case (technician), it will be mostly acquisitions and cataloguing, acquiring, preparing, and classifying materials, so patrons can find them easily. In the second one (administration), you’ll take care ofnegotiating contracts for services, materials, and equipment, you’ll supervise library employees, perform public relations and fundraising duties.

The most traditional job is a library clerk, or, using other terminology, a person who works in user services. This is the guy you know from your library visits–they help you to find information you need, they advise you, they take books you borrowed from the library before, etc. In a small library, the clerk will typically take care of all duties (user, technical, administrative).

Anyway, try to speak about your duties with enthusiasm, and show them that you like to be busy in work, and always try to find something to do to improve the experience of the readers.

(Video) Volunteer Mock Interview

* Special Tip: Download a full list of questions in a simple one-page long .PDF document, print it, and practice your interview answers anytime later:

What motivates you the most in this job? (What do you want to accomplish on this position?)

Nowadays, everyone talks about making an impact. People want to do big things with their lives, they want to put a dent in Universe, as Steve Jobs nicely put it. But does a job of a librarian offers room for some unforgettable achievements? Can you change the world, working as the librarian? Well, you can not, at least not when you look at things from a typical perspective of 21st century.

But you can definitely have some impact. You can have an impact on every single visitor, on their experience in the library. And this is what you should focus on in your answer.

Say that you will try to make a library a better place, say that you will try to ensure that every patron leaves the place satisfied with your services, and will happily come back. Without realizing it, you are changing the world. Even as a librarian. Or in any other position you may have in your life…

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

One of the few drawbacks of a job in a library is that it offers very limited options for career growth. The only higher position you can reach is the library director (administrator), or assistant director. And even this journey typically takes ten years or more.

Try to ensure the interviewers that they can count with you in a long run. Say that you will be happy to have the same job in five years time, but hope to do it better. Alternatively you can focus on the goals you try to reach in your personal life–starting a family, learning a new skill, quitting smoking, etc.

How would you deal with an angry customer? (How would you deal with a customer who doesn’t respect the rules?)

Most people you’ll meet in a library will be nice, and friendly. They will be quiet, they will obey the rules, and it will be a pleasure to work with them. But there will be some black sheep, just like in any other job where one deals with people. Are you ready to deal with them?

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The key is to show the interviewers that you will do your best to ensure the patrons respect the rules, and, at the same time, you’ll do your best to satisfy the needs of each individual customer.

For example you can say that you will explain the rules in a calm and cheerful way, trying to motivate the offender to change their behavior. If it does not work, however, you’ll not hesitate to take them out of the library. Or you will call a security guard if they are aggressive.

Some other questions you may deal with in your library clerk interview

  • Why do you want to work at this library, and not at another one?
  • What is the last book you read. Will you recommend this book to the readers? Try to describe it in less than twenty words.
  • What do you consider the most challenging aspect of this job?
  • Why did you leave your last job/Why do you plan to leave your present job?
  • What are your expectation on the administrators of this library?
  • How would you describe an ideal boss?
  • What do you consider your greatest strength?
  • Why should we hire you, and not one of the other applicants for this job?
  • Describe a conflict you had with one of your colleagues (classmates). How did you handle the situation?
  • Describe a time when you went above and beyond for the customer.

Conclusion and next steps

Generally speaking, job interview for a library clerk position belongs to easier interviews. You won’t compete with many other applicants, and you won’t deal with difficult technical questions, or personality tests (exception just proves the rule in this case).

Nevertheless, you will have to demonstrate right attitude to work and to the world of books, and you will have to convince the interviewers of your motivation, and honest desire to do a great job as a librarian.

Ready to do it after reading this article? Not yet? Continue your preparation with InterviewPenguin.com – Your best job interview coach since 2011:

  • Body language in an interview – What do your gestures and movements say about you? Can we control our non-verbal communication? It is not only what you say, but also how you say it…
  • Interview Success Package – Brilliant answers to thirty most common interview questions, and a guide on how to impress your interviewers.
  • Interview attire tips – Some ideas for the brave, and for people who like to experiment with their clothes.
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Matthew Chulaw

Matthew has been working in international recruitment since 2008. He helps job seekers from all walks of life to pursue their career goals, and to prepare for their interviews. He is the founder of InterviewPenguin.com website.

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    FAQs

    How should I prepare for a librarian interview? ›

    Prepare for questions meant to assess strengths and weaknesses, problem-solving, critical thinking, knowledge of the profession, self-awareness, leadership, initiative, and collaboration. Be sure you are familiar with the organization and how the position for which you are interviewing meets an organization need.

    What are the 10 most common interview questions and answers sample? ›

    10 most common interview questions and answers
    • Tell me about yourself.
    • What attracted you to our company?
    • Tell me about your strengths.
    • Tell me about your strengths.
    • Where do you see yourself in five years?
    • Tell me about a time where you encountered a business challenge?

    How do you introduce yourself in a librarian interview? ›

    Some of who I am can be gleaned from my name and my appearance. Other aspects of myself, like the fact that I'm a new academic librarian that was a student just a few months ago, I would need to explicitly share. Usually, you gradually share yourself as you get to know someone better.

    What are the roles of librarian? ›

    The librarian takes care of the library and its resources. The typical job of a librarian includes managing collection development and acquisitions, cataloging, collections management, circulation, and providing a range of services, such as reference, information, instruction, and training services, etc.

    What is your greatest strength for librarian? ›

    Answer: One of the key skills I consider most relevant is excellent communication skills. As a librarian, I have to communicate with many types of people. That communication, whether it is written or verbal, has to be easily understood by the person I am communicating with.

    What makes you a good librarian? ›

    Because of this, major characteristics of a librarian include passion and a strong commitment to their careers and the work they do. The best librarians are disciplined and keep on top of various tasks, such as re-shelving books, keeping catalogs updated and more. Librarians are a dedicated group of people.

    Why do you want to work at library? ›

    Answer: Books and knowledge are my passion. This role would allow me the chance to share that passion with others, to encourage them to be passionate about books and knowledge. I enjoy helping people, and I see this role as an opportunity to help library users.

    What skills are required to be a librarian? ›

    Because librarians work with library users and staff regularly, they need to possess the following characteristics:
    • Communication skills.
    • Interpersonal skills.
    • Analytical skills.
    • Technological skills.
    • Organizational skills.
    • Creativity.
    • Interest in research.
    • Persuasion skills.

    What are 15 good interview questions? ›

    15 tricky job interview questions — and how to nail them
    • Can you tell me a little about yourself?
    • How did you hear about the position?
    • What do you know about the company?
    • What are your greatest professional strengths?
    • What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
    • What is your greatest professional achievement?

    What are 50 common interview questions and answers? ›

    50+ most common job interview questions
    • Tell me about yourself.
    • Walk me through your resume.
    • How did you hear about this position?
    • Why do you want to work at this company?
    • Why do you want this job?
    • Why should we hire you?
    • What can you bring to the company?
    • What are your greatest strengths?
    2 Sept 2022

    What are the 5 hardest interview questions? ›

    The most difficult interview questions (and answers)
    • What is your greatest weakness?
    • Why should we hire you?
    • What's something that you didn't like about your last job?
    • Why do you want this job?
    • How do you deal with conflict with a co-worker?
    • Here's an answer for you.

    How would you maintain discipline in the library? ›

    General Rules
    1. Strict silence, decorum and discipline must be maintained in the library. ...
    2. Smoking, eating, sleeping and talking loudly are strictly prohibited in the library.
    3. Documents taken out of the shelves must be left on the table.

    What are good questions to ask at the end of an interview? ›

    Questions to ask at the end of a job interview
    • How would you describe the company's culture? ...
    • What is your favorite thing about working for this company? ...
    • How do you see this company evolving over the next five years? ...
    • How would the person in this role contribute to this vision?

    What are the preparation for interview? ›

    Preparing for an interview
    1. Carefully examine the job description. ...
    2. Consider why you are interviewing and your qualifications. ...
    3. Perform research on the company and role. ...
    4. Consider your answers to common interview questions. ...
    5. Practice your speaking voice and body language. ...
    6. Prepare thoughtful questions for the interviewer.

    How many types of library are there? ›

    There are four major types of libraries: Academic libraries serve colleges and universities. Public libraries serve cities and towns of all types. School libraries serve students from Kindergarten to grade 12.

    What's another name for a librarian? ›

    In this page you can discover 18 synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic expressions, and related words for librarian, like: bibliothecary, curator, custodian, bibliognost, officer in charge of the library, bibliothec, bibliosoph, archivist, cataloguer, keeper and caretaker.

    Who looks after a library? ›

    A librarian is a person who works professionally in a library providing access to information, and sometimes social or technical programming, or instruction on information literacy to users.

    Why are you interested in this position? ›

    I see this opportunity as a way to contribute to an exciting/forward-thinking/fast-moving company/industry, and I feel I can do so by/with my …” “I feel my skills are particularly well-suited to this position because …” “I believe I have the type of knowledge to succeed in this role and at the company because …”

    How can a librarian positively impact their community? ›

    Reimagining the Librarian

    They help local people figure out the complexities of life, from navigating the health system to helping those with housing needs. This “go-to” role has influenced library programming and events, with libraries providing advice and connections to health, housing, literacy, and other areas.

    What are your career goals Where do you see yourself in 5 years? ›

    In five years, I want to complete the internal training program for my position. I've read about it on your website, and I think it's a fabulous program. Not only would I get all the training for my role, but I would be on the fast track to becoming a project manager. That's my top career goal.

    Why library skills are so important? ›

    Library skills support for academic programmes or modules

    Students with library research skills are better placed to produce high quality academic work and to fully benefit from a research-based education. Library skills incorporates the skills needed to effectively find, evaluate, manage and use information.

    What are the sections of library? ›

    • Different Sections in the Library. ...
    • Circulation Section. ...
    • Acquisition Section. ...
    • Classification Section. ...
    • Catalogue Section. ...
    • Periodicals Section. ...
    • Information Technology Section. ...
    • Reference Section.

    Why I like to be a librarian? ›

    “I love being a librarian because I find pleasure in being a part of that unique sense of comfort the library provides. Either in their need for knowledge, resources or the facilities, to connect with the community and exact the effort to fulfill all these always generate a feeling of content in self.”

    Why do you like library? ›

    Libraries are there for everyone and have something for everyone. In an age were diversity and difference is embraced more than ever, where better to find diversity that in a library? Forget reading lists and being told what books you need to work your way through or study.

    Can you tell us a bit about yourself? ›

    A simple formula for answering “Tell me about yourself”

    Present: Talk a little bit about what your current role is, the scope of it, and perhaps a big recent accomplishment. Past: Tell the interviewer how you got there and/or mention previous experience that's relevant to the job and company you're applying for.

    What is an ideal library? ›

    “An ideal library puts users at the heart of everything. Good collaboration with academics will enable the library to offer a connected and interactive environment to support teaching and learning. “The library isacentre of information for the university community.

    What do librarians do everyday? ›

    Some duties of a librarian include: Managing books, periodicals, audio and video recordings and digital resources including cataloging, organization and storage. Aiding individuals with research, including locating appropriate databases or books and overseeing the use of those materials.

    What are the top 20 interview questions? ›

    Here are the rest of the top 20 interview questions hiring managers might ask:
    • Tell me about a time you worked with a difficult coworker.
    • How do you stay motivated?
    • What skills are you hoping to develop?
    • Why are you looking for a new role?
    • How do you manage your stress levels?

    What are the 10 most common interview questions PDF? ›

    Top 10 Interview Questions and Best Answers
    • Tell Me About Yourself. ...
    • Why Are You the Best Person for the Job? ...
    • Why Do You Want This Job? ...
    • How Has Your Experience Prepared You for This Role? ...
    • Why Are You Leaving (or Have Left) Your Job? ...
    • What Is Your Greatest Strength? ...
    • What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
    17 Feb 2022

    What are the 23 most common interview questions and answers? ›

    Correct Answers to 23 Common Interview Questions
    • Can you tell me a little about yourself? ...
    • Why are you interested in working here? ...
    • What do you know about the company? ...
    • Tell me about your previous experience. ...
    • What are your strengths? ...
    • What do you still need to work on? ...
    • How would your previous employer describe you?
    1 Oct 2019

    What are the top 100 interview questions? ›

    Basic Interview Questions:
    • Tell me about yourself.
    • What are your strengths?
    • What are your weaknesses?
    • Why do you want this job?
    • Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
    • What's your ideal company?
    • What attracted you to this company?
    • Why should we hire you?

    What are the 7 most common interview questions and answers pdf? ›

    7 most common interview questions
    1. Where do you see yourself in five years? ...
    2. What are your strengths/weaknesses? ...
    3. Why should we hire you? ...
    4. Tell me about yourself / your past work experience. ...
    5. Why do you want to work for us? ...
    6. What are your salary expectations? ...
    7. What skills or experience will help you succeed in this role?

    How do you handle stress and pressure? ›

    Taking steps to manage stress
    1. Track your stressors. Keep a journal for a week or two to identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them. ...
    2. Develop healthy responses. ...
    3. Establish boundaries. ...
    4. Take time to recharge. ...
    5. Learn how to relax. ...
    6. Talk to your supervisor. ...
    7. Get some support.
    1 Jul 2014

    What are the general rules of library? ›

    LIBRARY RULES

    Keep your personal belongings at the Property Counter. Institute ID –Cards is must for Library transaction. Use of mobile phones is not permitted in the library. Please maintain decorum, peace and silence within the premises of library.

    Which rule should we follow while we are in library? ›

    I Card should be compulsory for entering into the library. Books Borrowed should be protected from RAIN, DUST, INSECT, etc. Books removed from the shelves, if not required futher, should be kept on the book trolley/ table nearest to them. Please do not try to shelve them yourself.

    How should you behave in a library? ›

    7 Library Etiquette Tips
    1. Never talk at full volume. Whisper – it's a no-brainer. ...
    2. Don't forget to plug in your headphones. ...
    3. Do build a book tower beside you… ...
    4. 4. … ...
    5. Try not to stare at other people. ...
    6. Avoid crunchy snacks. ...
    7. Keep the small talk to a minimum.
    12 Aug 2019

    What should you say at the end of an interview? ›

    Finish with a polite conclusion

    "I am grateful for interviewing with you today. You have given me a clear overview of the position. I think my experience and accomplishments can provide value to the organization. Is there anything else you need to confirm if I am the right candidate for this position?"

    How do I end an interview as the interviewer? ›

    How to end an interview
    1. Ask specific and well-thought-out questions about the position and company. ...
    2. Reiterate your qualifications for the job. ...
    3. Inquire if the interviewer needs any additional information or documentation. ...
    4. Address any issues. ...
    5. Restate your interest in the position.

    Why do you want to work for us? ›

    Express confidence about your ability to succeed and grow in the role. Use phrases like “Given my experience in X, I can see myself succeeding…,” “I look forward to using my skills to…,” and “I think I will contribute by….” The key is to describe how your previous experience has prepared you to hit the ground running.

    What are the 6 tips for your first interview? ›

    We spoke to some career professionals to see what words of wisdom they would share with anyone headed into their first interview.
    • Do your Homework. The best way to keep those nerves in check is to be prepared. ...
    • Practice Your Answers. ...
    • Stay Genuine. ...
    • Be Prepared. ...
    • Ask Questions. ...
    • Don't Let Nerves Get the Best of You.
    9 Sept 2020

    How do you introduce yourself in an interview? ›

    Begin by Greeting the Interviewer

    First, greet the interviewer with a big smile and go for a handshake. Describe yourself stating your full name and a brief introduction. Just give a small detail about your family. Always keep your body relaxed with confident body language.

    What qualities are essential for a librarian? ›

    5 Key Librarian Characteristics
    • A Love for Reading.
    • Highly Organized and Detail-Oriented.
    • Keep Up with Tech Trends.
    • Good Researcher.
    • Strong Commitment and Self-Discipline.

    Why do you want to work at the library answer? ›

    Answer: Books and knowledge are my passion. This role would allow me the chance to share that passion with others, to encourage them to be passionate about books and knowledge. I enjoy helping people, and I see this role as an opportunity to help library users.

    What skills are required to be a librarian? ›

    Because librarians work with library users and staff regularly, they need to possess the following characteristics:
    • Communication skills.
    • Interpersonal skills.
    • Analytical skills.
    • Technological skills.
    • Organizational skills.
    • Creativity.
    • Interest in research.
    • Persuasion skills.

    What makes you suitable for the post you have applied for librarian? ›

    To answer this question you can say something like: "I value my readers deeply. Providing customer service means helping them with valuable resources and resolve their problems. A library can flourish only if it assists its readers well in procuring and locating the resources. This requires a lot of patience.

    How many types of library are there? ›

    There are four major types of libraries: Academic libraries serve colleges and universities. Public libraries serve cities and towns of all types. School libraries serve students from Kindergarten to grade 12.

    What kind of person is a librarian? ›

    Librarians tend to be predominantly conventional individuals, meaning that they are usually detail-oriented and organized, and like working in a structured environment. They also tend to be social, meaning that they thrive in situations where they can interact with, persuade, or help people.

    Why library skills are so important? ›

    Library skills support for academic programmes or modules

    Students with library research skills are better placed to produce high quality academic work and to fully benefit from a research-based education. Library skills incorporates the skills needed to effectively find, evaluate, manage and use information.

    Can you tell us a bit about yourself? ›

    A simple formula for answering “Tell me about yourself”

    Present: Talk a little bit about what your current role is, the scope of it, and perhaps a big recent accomplishment. Past: Tell the interviewer how you got there and/or mention previous experience that's relevant to the job and company you're applying for.

    How would you maintain discipline in the library? ›

    General Rules
    1. Strict silence, decorum and discipline must be maintained in the library. ...
    2. Smoking, eating, sleeping and talking loudly are strictly prohibited in the library.
    3. Documents taken out of the shelves must be left on the table.

    How would you make the library welcoming environment? ›

    Make acceptable behaviors clear and post them where all can clearly see. Create welcoming signage. Make it clear to patrons that all patrons are welcomed in the library. Make this clear in explicit ways – signage, policies – and implicit ways – by creating diverse marketing materials, displays and collections.

    Why do you choose to be a librarian? ›

    “I love being a librarian because I have the power to be the doctor of knowledge, to share the information to all the people, to push them to study or read more books, articles, journals, educational websites. Librarians can share the academic research to the whole world.”

    What are librarians called now? ›

    Consequently, librarians, often called information professionals, combine traditional duties with tasks involving quickly changing technology. Librarians help people find information and use it effectively for personal and professional purposes.

    Why are you interested in this position? ›

    I see this opportunity as a way to contribute to an exciting/forward-thinking/fast-moving company/industry, and I feel I can do so by/with my …” “I feel my skills are particularly well-suited to this position because …” “I believe I have the type of knowledge to succeed in this role and at the company because …”

    How can a librarian positively impact their community? ›

    Reimagining the Librarian

    They help local people figure out the complexities of life, from navigating the health system to helping those with housing needs. This “go-to” role has influenced library programming and events, with libraries providing advice and connections to health, housing, literacy, and other areas.

    What are good questions to ask at the end of an interview? ›

    Questions to ask at the end of a job interview
    • How would you describe the company's culture? ...
    • What is your favorite thing about working for this company? ...
    • How do you see this company evolving over the next five years? ...
    • How would the person in this role contribute to this vision?

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