AALL Spectrum

AALL Spectrum | July/August 2016 | Volume 20, Number 6

AALL Spectrum / Published by American Association of Law Libraries

Issue link: http://epubs.aallnet.org/i/695274

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Page 29 of 63

28 AALL SPECTRUM | WWW.AALLNET.ORG responsibilities, is it necessary for so many law library sta members to have one? It may be enlightening to unmask the real reason behind this apparently calculated push to require a JD degree of applicants for so many law library positions today. Diversity in the Ranks e points listed above dance around other insidious and very harmful ways of keeping dierent candidates from joining the ranks. I refer to gender, race, color, ethnicity, status, religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation— several characteristics which have been aorded protection under the law. Diversity of thought and ideas can only come about when vision is stretched beyond an accepted outlook or opinion of a specic group of peo- ple. e popularity of candidates like Sanders or Trump or Obama, whether you agree with their ideas or not, is a bold signal for a change of direction. Guarding against insularity in hir- ing and promotion is important but arguably goes against human nature. It requires constant vigilance. Do we recognize it when it is happening at our own organizations? Are a hand- ful of people always responsible for writing job descriptions, reviewing resumes, and selecting candidates that "t"? Are similar candidates wooed over and over again? If the members of these hiring groups are homogenous or have gone through the same search routine many times, a good outside candidate with an unorthodox background who has the desired qualities, when looked at overall, may never see the light of day. at is a truly dismal prospect. When hiring decisions are made, one would hope that the leadership of the organization—a managing partner, dean, or search committee—considers the growth and breadth of the organi- zation over the natural tendency for seeking similarly situated individuals. As an example, in its accreditation stan- dards for American law schools, the American Bar Association has made a strong case that law students need, among other things, more practice- oriented learning. Has this translated into diversifying the hiring of faculty and librarians to include candidates who can help the law school achieve these outcomes, even if their experience in delivery of these skills falls outside of traditional academic methods? When candidates interview for a position, the two most important qualities to glean from an individual are honesty and authenticity. ese characteristics are never written into a job description, but carry enormous weight. Library experience is transfer- able from one environment to another. Overreliance and minute attention to specic words matching from a resume to a job description is counter-produc- tive and can easily stie the identica- tion of emerging talent. While Human Resources may rely on this approach, in large part because of the sheer number of responses they receive and the so- ware program that sorts and lters the applications, a search committee, library committee, or managing partner should strive to look at all resumes with an open mind. is is one of the attributes that dierentiates our profession from the production of widgets. Best Practices Research is changing, libraries are changing, and jobs within libraries are changing, despite many attempts at limiting entry into the career of law librarianship to only those who t an outdated career-trajectory model. Opening one's horizons to the positive possibilities that an unconventional, outside, even insurgent candidate may have to an organization is more than noble—it keeps the profession fresh and moving forward. 1. Avoid rigidity. Compose job descriptions that are meaningful and open-ended where possible. Try to stay nimble by not using the same job descriptions over and over again. 2. Remain open-minded. Look at the qualications of all candidates who can bring something to the table, whether or not the resume ts neatly into predetermined categories. Try not to harbor preconceived notions as to the ideal candidate. 3. Spend time with interviewees. Ask candidates how they can bring some- thing to the stakeholders that may be dierent but valuable, especially if their credentials are not an exact match to your job description. 4. Stay involved. Don't cede all responsibility for initial interviewing or nal decision making to Human Resources or a search committee. 5. Consider the stakeholders. In the end, candidates are hired to serve, whether they are serving students, fac- ulty, lawyers, judges, the public, a gov- ernment agency, or anyone else. e fulllment of the stakeholders' needs, not the interviewer's personal prefer- ences, ultimately should determine the best hire for the organization. Is there anything positive to be gained by adding a dierent viewpoint to an organization? Are law librari- ans so dened by their specic work environments, degrees, and other individual qualities that they cannot successfully work together for the betterment of their students, faculties, lawyers, members, judges, and society as a whole? If you believe that inclusion is a better option than exclusion, then the outside, insurgent candidate apply- ing for a position at your organization may well deserve a second look. ¢ AALL 2016 ALERT Don't miss "Partnering with Consultants: New Ways to Accomplish More," Monday, July 18 from 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. For more information visit bit.ly/AALL16Partner. AALL2go EXTRA Watch the "Why Libraries Matter: A Conversation with John Palfrey" webinar at bit.ly/AALL2go0116. CHRISTINE M. STOUFFER DIRECTOR OF LIBRARY SERVICES Thompson Hine LLP Cleveland, OH Christine.Stouffer@thompsonhine.com © 2016 BY CHRISTINE M. STOUFFER

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