The Road to Federal Librarianship (2009 Update)

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Information about The Road to Federal Librarianship (2009 Update)

Published on July 14, 2009

Author: zemogogog



Helen Sherman presentation to educate job seekers and library school students about federal librarianship. Presented Friday, July 10, 2009, at the Chicago Public Harold Washington Library Center.

2009 Careers in Federal Libraries The Road to Federal Librarianship 2009 Update Helen Q. Sherman ALA Annual Pre-Conference Event July 10, 2009

Do you want to be a Fed?  Welcome! You are on the right path!  Federal libraries & information centers need talented, enthusiastic librarians.  Prediction that 1/3 of federal employees are eligible to retire by 2012. Federal Civilian Workforce Statistics: The Fact Book, 2005 ed.

Roles of Federal Librarians  Reference  Instruction and Database Training  Database Development  Acquisitions  Cataloging  Indexing  Web Page Development  Systems  Library Services for Agency Personnel  Marketing  Management and Administration …and that’s just at one agency! (Defense Technical Information Center)

Main Types of Federal Libraries  Academic Libraries  Family “Public” Type Libraries  School Libraries  Special Libraries

Variety of Federal Locations  Academic Libraries – Academies (4-year Degrees) – Service Universities (Graduate Degrees)  Family Libraries – E.g., Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps  School Libraries (Department of Defense) – Overseas and limited areas in U.S.  Special Libraries – Agency and Foreign Service Libraries – Medical Libraries – Law Libraries – Museums & Historical Centers – Scientific & Technical Libraries & Information Centers

Goal of Federal Job Process Employer Applicant Federal Employee

Agency’s Typical Path to Federal Recruitment  Establishment of Appropriate Series for Job  Analysis of Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) Required for Job  Determination of Position Level and Salary Range  Recruitment with Public Announcement of Position  Screening of Applications  Referral List to Selecting Official  Interviews  Queries to References  Selection  Patience!

Establishment of Appropriate Series for Job • Job Analysis: Description of work to be done • Series: Four-digit code that represents a particular job function • Grade: Level of employment that determines the salary • General Services (GS) Examples: • GS-1410-09 (straight 09) • GS-1410-09/11 (promotion potential) • GS-1412-15 (highest GS level)

Position Classification Standards for Each Series GS Examples:  *1410 – Librarian Series  1411 – Library Technician Series  1412 – Technical Information Specialist Series  1420 – Archivist Series  1421 – Archives Technician Series  1499 – Library & Archives Student Trainee  Other possibilities, depending on individual’s related education and work experience for a series Tip: Review the job requirements to determine if you are qualified before applying.

Position Classification Standard for Librarian Series, GS-1410

Librarian, Supervisory Librarian, or Reference Librarian, etc.

Position Description (PD) Tip: The Position Description (PD) summarized in a job announcement is based on factor levels for the position.

Differences in Factor Levels from Entry Level to Experienced Librarian  Factor 1, Knowledge Required by Position  Level 1-6 950 Points: – “The librarian provides reference services where needs are relatively easy to determine from client interviews or written requests, and the bibliographic source materials are readily accessible…”  Level 1-8 1550 Points – “The librarian serves as an expert…;” – “…an interagency or federal expert…” – “…a senior staff librarian for a library system…”

Differences in Levels for Supervisory Experience  Factor 2, Supervisory Controls  Level 2-3 275 Points: – “The supervisor defines the librarian's scope of responsibility and the objectives, priorities, and deadlines.”  Level 2-5 650 Points – “The supervisor and higher-level authorities consider the work as technically authoritative and normally accept the librarian’s recommendations without significant change.” Tip: Do not submit the same resume for all job applications. Review each announcement carefully; prepare application to highlight your qualifications for the job.

KSAs  Knowledge: Organized body of information, usually of factual or procedural nature, which, if applied, makes adequate performance on the job possible.  Skills: Proficient manual, verbal, or mental manipulation of data, people, or things. Observable, quantifiable, measurable.  Abilities: Power to perform an activity at the present time.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) Required - Essays  Sample Essay Questions – “ Knowledge of principles, concepts, and techniques of library science.” – “Ability to plan and manage a program for a library’s _______(Reference Services, Document Delivery, Cataloging, etc.) – “Ability to lead and supervise a diverse workforce.” – “Ability to communicate effectively in writing.” – “Ability to communicate effectively other than in writing.” Tip: Submit well-written, truthful essays with specific and relevant examples.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) Required – Questionnaire  Multiple Choice Questions – E.g.; ‘I have performed the job of ______________  Never  Occasionally  As a regular part of my job with supervision  As a major part of my job, usually independently and without review by supervisor  To review the work of personnel under my supervision  As a recognized expert in the field, to train other divisions or the federal community  Combination of Questions & Essays Tip: Answer the questions honestly. They may be used as the basis for your interview or queries to your references.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) Required –Announcement  Expected Coverage of KSAs in Application & Resume – Note Job Description & Specific Duties in Announcement – Note Qualifications and Evaluations  Education Requirement  Specialized Experience  E.g.; “Specialized experience is experience in information management/sciences; evaluation of technologies to acquire, apply, search, communicate, generate, and utilize information resources; and program/project management and supervisory experience.” Tip: Use relevant terminology in your resume. It will be reviewed by a personnel specialist or computer.

KSA Guidelines Suggested Method for KSA Answers:  Context: Describe the situation.  Challenge: Describe what needed to be done.  Action: Describe your role & specifically what you did.  Results: Describe outcome in concrete, verifiable terms. Tips:  Use concrete, action verbs, and specific nouns.  Use numbers, statistics, and specific time periods.  Quote relevant phrases from awards.  Use relevant terms from job announcement.

Determination of Position Level and Salary Range  General Schedule (GS) – E.g., E.g., GS-1412-09/11, GS-1410-11  Majority of federal workforce paid according to GS pay scale  Each position given a specific rating based on amount of education and experience required for the job

General Schedule (GS) and Locality Pay Tables

GS Base Pay Showing Steps for Each Grade

GS Salary Table with Locality Pay

GS Steps  Within-Grade Increases (WGIs) or Step Increases − Periodic increases in General Schedule (GS) employee's rate of basic pay from one step of the grade of the position to the next higher step of that grade; e.g., GS-11-01 to GS-11-02  Required Waiting Period for WGI – WGI is effective on the first day of the first pay period beginning on or after the completion of the required waiting period. – Steps Waiting Period – 2, 3 and 4 52 calendar weeks (one year) – 5, 6 and 7 104 calendar weeks (two years) – 8, 9 and 10 156 calendar weeks (three years)

Future Possibility for Employee  Quality Step Increase (QSI) – Faster-than-normal WGI may be used to reward GS employees who demonstrate sustained performance of highest quality – Management decision per employee; not standard award – Does not apply to incoming personnel

Pay Plan, Series & Grade: GS-1410-11 Librarian

Determination of Position Level and Salary Range  General Schedule (GS) – E.g., GS-1412-09/11, GS-1410-11  Pay Banding or Performance Based Systems – Government Accountability Office (GAO) E.g., PT-2210-03/03 Information Technology Specialist (ITS) – National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) E.g., ZP-2210-01/05 ITS – Department of Defense (DoD): National Security Personnel System (NSPS) E.g., YC-1410-02/02 Supervisory Librarian and YA-1410-02/02 Librarian

Pay Plan: YC-1410/02-02 Supervisory Librarian and YA-1410/02-02 Librarian

DoD NSPS Worldwide Pay Table

Recruitment with Public Announcement of Positions  * USAJOBS TIP: Bookmark other agency sites for announcements. (Examples)  Army:  DOT:  DTIC: (Includes USAJOBS link to DTIC search results)  FBI: (Includes USAJOBS link to FBI search results)  GAO:  GPO:  LC:  NIST:

USAJOBS: Official Job Site of U.S. Federal Government

Postings in College Bulletins or Listserv Announcements Sent: Mon Jun 08 11:18:54 2009 Subject: [dcla-l] VACANCY - REFERENCE LIBRARIAN - AF GERMANY - CLOSES JUNE30TH Greetings! The Air Force Base Library at Vogelweh (near Ramstein) Germany is recruiting for a Reference Librarian YA-1410-02. The Reference Librarian will also act as Assistant Librarian to the Library Director. This position is GS-09 equivalent and is a possible entry level job for recent MLS graduates. CPO vets the applicants. For more information about Vogelweh (listed as Kapaun in the announcement) go to and search ‘Your Local Library’ tab. The Vogelweh library is currently under complete renovation and should open to the public this Fall. The library is in a temporary location, but providing full services to customers. To apply for the position go to (Vacancy Announcement number AFPC263138YA-1410-02/02FS) use "advanced search tab" select GERMANY – OA – KAISERLAUTERN, GERMANY with occupational series 1410. PCS costs are authorized. The position closes June 30th.

FEDLIB List FEDLIB: Federal Librarians Discussion List  Moderated mailing list for staff of libraries and information centers in US federal government  Other subscribers welcome to join for the information  Postings include FLICC/FEDLINK* news, meeting announcements, and job announcements from the federal community *Federal Library and Information Center Committee/Federal Library and Information Network Tip: Join FEDLIB for a heads-up on federal job openings posted by members. Note: This is not a discussion list for your questions about employment.

Key Requirements of Position  U.S. Citizenship – Required for most federal jobs – Specified on announcement  Proof of Education – Required official transcript – sometimes as attachment, mailed separately, or requested later – Announcement will specify level of degree for series and instructions

Other Requirements of Position  Other Possible Requirements – Security Investigation – Secret or Top Secret Clearance – Drug Test – Polygraph – Mandatory Emergency Essential Status – Travel

Location of Position  Announcement includes location of job.  Moving expenses are usually NOT provided.  Announcement states if Permanent Change of Station (PCS) costs are covered.  Tip: If you can be flexible and mobile, you can expand your opportunities and have an interesting career.

Status  Review Eligibility for Position – Are you a current or former Federal civilian employee who holds or held a non-temporary appointment?  Announcement Designations – Status (current or former career or career-conditional Federal employees) – Public – U.S. Citizens and Status – All Sources Tip: If you have no prior federal service, look for Public, U.S. Citizen, or All Sources.

Search by Applicant Eligibility TIP: This USAJOBS question located at the bottom of the Agency, Series, and Advanced search pages affects the results of your search.

USAJOBS: Keyword, Agency, Series, and Advanced Searches

USAJOBS: Basic Search with Browse

Refine Your Search; Select Public or Status for Eligibility TIP: Use this to refine your results when using the Basic Search.

Status Candidate Defined

Terms  WHO MAY BE CONSIDERED: Federal Career/Career-Conditional employees, Transfer, Reinstatement Eligibles, 30% Disabled Veterans, Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA) and other individuals eligible under special appointment authorities.

Career & Career-Conditional



Veterans’ Preference

Job Summary: Who May Apply

Detailed View TIP: The position might have two listings to show that it is open to both Public and Status candidates.

Overview: Who May Be Considered (Cross-reference for announcement)

Other Terms  Competitive Service: classified* service, classified competitive service, or classified civil service  Excepted Service: Unclassified service, unclassified civil service, or positions outside the competitive service – E.g., Career fields with unique skills, i.e., lawyers, doctors, or engineers * Note: Refers to determination of qualification standards for a position in an occupational series – NOT to information with controlled access.

Permanent: Full Time

Multiple: Pool of Applicants

Ongoing Recruitment for Potential Vacancies

Open Period (Important!) Tip: Observe the closing date (Eastern time) and allow extra time for system problems with the online resume.

Screening of Applications  Evaluation of your application against the position’s qualification requirements  Review by Agency Human Resources Specialist and/or Automated System (NOT a Career Librarian)  Ranking relative to the other candidates (for some agencies)  Tip: Use specific, relevant language to explain your KSAs. Avoid acronyms, abbreviations, special characters, and library jargon. Do not assume a person (or machine) will understand your experiences.

Referral List to Selecting Official  List of Highly Qualified Candidates or Most Highly Qualified Candidates issued by Human Resources Office to Selecting Official  Agency Review by Panel or Selecting Official  TIP: Remember that there is competition for the position. Being Qualified does not guarantee that you will be interviewed or selected for the job.

Interview  Most agencies conduct interviews of top candidates only  Interview by panel or selecting official  Interview in person or by telephone (Trip not provided)  One or two rounds of interviews  Writing samples of relevant work may be required  Same questions for ALL applicants - to be fair & equal  Maybe a thought-provoking or situational question  Officials take notes and evaluate the responses  Usually, opportunity provided for candidate to ask question(s) about the job at the end

Queries to References  Usually by telephone and/or email  Standard questions for all candidates from the group  Reference sometimes offers to send additional material  TIP: Do not submit an application without references, title, and current contact information. Inform former supervisors and ask references in advance so that they are expecting a call.

Selection  Selecting official submits first (and possibly alternate choice) to Human Resources.  Human Resources (NOT Selecting Official) contacts selectee with job offer and salary.  Specific time designated for response.  Many positions dependent upon Security Clearance.  Report date determined by agency and HR. Tip: Do not quit your other job while waiting for a clearance. A Security Clearance can take a year (or more).

Patience!  Agency is also waiting for the selectee’s report date.  Agency position might be vacant for months during the recruitment process.  Duties and responsibilities for the position continue. TIP: If a security clearance is required, complete your paperwork promptly.

Applicant’s Road Map to Federal Job  Agency Job Announcements  Eligibility for Position  Qualifications for Targeted Position  Winning Application and Resume  Verifiable Education and Experience  Successful Interview  Positive References  Job Offer  Patience!

Agency Job Announcements  Search USAJOBS and agency Web sites.  Set up email alerts for new jobs.  Join professional organizations (at student rate, if applicable).  Join professional listservs (as allowed.  Check campus bulletins.  Investigate intern programs.  Consider positions with contractors.  Network with librarians & other federal employees. TIP: PRINT each job announcement to file with your application for future reference. The online announcement will disappear after the deadline.

Eligibility for Position  Review complete announcement.  Determine if Status, Public, Veteran, etc.  Consider mobility for a different location.  Contact the Human Resource person listed on the job announcement if you have questions about your eligibility. Tip: When you are eligible for a series, start applying. You should expect to apply for more than one job.

Qualifications for Targeted Position  Complete your degree; relate your education and projects to the qualifications.  Consider an internship or practicum for practical experience in a library or information center.  Take additional training or attend seminars in your field when possible.  Join professional organizations; attend their programs or view the online presentations.  Read current literature about librarianship.  Determine and explain which skills from your former job(s) pertain to the library position; e.g., teaching, managing projects, writing, etc.  Be marketable.

Winning Application and Resume  Create an account on USAJOBS and build your resume.  Write information in advance and save separate text files according to required sections for future editing.  Check the word count before copying and pasting sections to your resume.  Include awards, certifications, and special skills that pertain to this career field.  Be specific about computer training, systems, and databases. (Do NOT use a generic statement, such as “Proficient in computer skills.”)

Required Personal Information

Required Work Experience

Multiple Applications & Resumes  Target each application for the specific announcement.  Always update your information as appropriate and use relevant details when creating a new resume.  Include ALL required information, e.g., dates, degrees, references, etc.  Save each resume according to the application you submitted.  Edit saved text to create applications for other online systems. Tip: Track your deadlines and allow lots of time to prepare an online application! Your time ends at midnight (Eastern) prior to the closing date.

“My USAJOBS” Account for Online Resume, Applications, and Job Alerts Tip: Create a USAJOBS account and receive automated job alerts.

Search Results: 1410 Series Librarian

Search Results: 1412 Series Technical Information Specialist

Job Summary TIP: Review each job summary carefully and apply for positions based on your eligibility, education, and experience.

Tabs for Navigation Through Announcement (Print!)

Verifiable Education and Experience Proof of Education and Experience  Required official transcript – sometimes as attachment, mailed separately, or requested later  Applicant’s responsibility  Specific instructions on announcement Tip: Do NOT send attachments unless they are specified. Announcement will specify if documentation should be submitted with the resume or if applicants will be contacted for additional documentation. Additional documents may be required later by Human Resources or the agency during the interview.

Successful Interview  Prepare!  Review your printed copy of the job announcement and your submitted application.  Write down building, room #, and time.  Check directions to the location in advance.  Be on time.  Have the contact number with you in case of an emergency.  Dress professionally.  Relax! You are considered a highly qualified candidate.  Send brief thank-you message - nice gesture & memorable.

Positive References  Notify your references in advance so that they will expect queries about you.  You may request that agencies should not notify your current employer unless you are a final candidate.  Before final selection, your current employer should be contacted.

Job Offer Example Procedure:  Call received from agency’s HR office  Job offer with salary and starting date  Acceptance  Security Clearance Check (Process explained & started if necessary)  Submission of proof of current salary Tip: If starting salary is lower than existing salary, you may request consideration of a higher step prior to acceptance. (Not guaranteed. Agency must follow regulations. If any variation is allowed, it requires justification and approval by agency.)  Permanent Change of Station (PCS) paid by new employee (unless advertised otherwise)  Position subject to probationary period (usually one year)

Patience!  Don’t give up.  Apply for more than one job.  Process may take months.  There are many opportunities for qualified librarians.  Good luck with your job search!

Reminder  This overview is only meant to provide a starting point for your job search and cannot include all of the details about the recruitment process for a federal position. Personnel systems vary by agency, and some are in the process of changing.  Always read each job announcement carefully and print it for future reference. The information will not be available after the closing date.  Call the Point of Contact listed on the job announcement if you have any questions about the application process.

The Road to Federal Librarianship 2009 Update Helen Q. Sherman Director, User Services Defense Technical Information Center

Disclaimer of Endorsement Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.

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