Are You Local? Academic Library Hiring Prior to and During COVID-19 in the United States

How to Cite

Quinn, A. (2023). Are You Local? Academic Library Hiring Prior to and During COVID-19 in the United States. International Journal of Librarianship, 8(3), 42–59.
Received 2023-03-28
Accepted 2023-07-17
Published 2023-09-16


Using only limited information, job candidates must assess academic libraries as prospective workplaces, while search committee members at academic libraries must make hiring decisions. Highlighting challenges that the pandemic posed to job seekers and search committee members, such as further limiting opportunities to gather information, this study compares a group of individuals hired by U.S. academic libraries before COVID-19 to a group of individuals hired by academic libraries during COVID-19. Results have implications for job seekers and hiring institutions, as they indicate that academic libraries hire more individuals with pre-existing ties to the state or region of the hiring institution and that the pandemic strengthened this tendency.


Allard, S. (2020, October). Placements and salaries: Salaries and full-time employment are up, but so are unemployment and the gender gap; 2019 graduates faced a mixed job market even before the pandemic. Library Journal, 145(10), 27–28

Allard, S. (2021, October). Careers during COVID: 2020 LIS graduates faced a dip in salary, an increase in remote work, and a drop in satisfaction, but not a major rise in unemployment. Library Journal, 146(10), 32–37

Arnold, J. D., Van Iddekinge, C.H., Campion, M. C., Bauer, T. N., & Campion, M. A. (2021). Welcome back? Job performance and turnover of boomerang employees compared to internal and external hires. Journal of Management, 47(8), 2198–2225.

Blackmore, J., & Rahimi, M. (2019). How ‘best fit’ excludes international graduates from employment in Australia: A Bourdeusian perspective. Journal of Education and Work, 32(5), 436–448.

Brodock, K., & Massam, G. (2016). How and why to hire a diverse workforce: What you need to know. Strategic HR Review, 15(5), 208–213.

Chen, H.-L., & Zhang, Y. (2017). Educating data management professionals: A content analysis of job descriptions. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 43(1), 18–24.

Defa, D. R. (2012). Recruitment of employees in academic libraries: Advice from the HR perspective. Library Leadership & Management, 26(3/4), 1–10.

Eckard, M., Rosener, A. & Scripps-Hoekstra, L. (2014). Factors that increase the probability of a successful academic library job search. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 40(2), 107–115.

Farkas, M. (2019, June). Is ‘fit’ a bad fit? American Libraries, 50(6), 78.

Fletcher, L. M., Grandy, R., Thurman, F., & Whitney, R. (2022). Pandemic transitions: The impact of COVID-19 on hiring and onboarding in academic libraries. UConn Library Presentations, 61.

Ford, A. (2018, November 1). Underrepresented, underemployed: In the library-job search, some face special barriers. American Libraries Magazine.

Ford, A. (2021, May 3). The library employment landscape. American Libraries.

Gaspar, D. B., & Brown, A. K. G. (2015). Hiring in an academic library: Fit is essential. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 22 (3-4), 374–386.

Graves, L. M., & Powell, G. N. (1996). Sex similarity, quality of the employment interview and recruiters’ evaluation of actual applicants. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 69(3), 243–261.

Green, A. (2022). Post Covid-19: Expectations for academic library collections, remote work, and resource description and discovery staffing. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 48(4).

Hadlock, C. J., & Pierce, J. R. (2021). Hiring your friends: Evidence from the market for financial economists. ILR Review, 74(4), 977–1007.

Hosoi, M., Reiter, L. & Zabel, D. (2021). Reshaping perspectives on flexible work: The impact of COVID-19 on academic library management. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 21(4), 695-713. 10.1353/pla.2021.0038

Houser, K. A. (2019, August 30). Can AI solve the diversity problem in the tech industry? Mitigating noise and bias in employment decision-making. Stanford Technology Law Review, 22, 290-354.

Jackson, S. E., Brett, J. F., Sessa, V. I, Cooper, D. M, Julin, J. A., & Peyronnin, K. (1991). Some differences make a difference: Individual dissimilarity and group heterogeneity as correlates of recruitment, promotions, and turnover. Journal of Applied Psychology, 76(5), 675–689.

Joshi, A., Bloom, D. A., Spencer, A., Gaetke-Udager, K., & Cohan, R. H. (2020). Video interviewing: A review and recommendations for implementation in the era of COVID-19 and beyond. Academic Radiology, 27(9), 1316–1322.

Kniffin, K. M., Narayanan, J., Anseel, F., Antonakis, J., Ashford, S. P., Bakker, A. B., Bamberger, P., Bapuji, H., Bhave, D. P., Choi, V. K., Creary, S. J., Demerouti, E., Flynn, F. J., Gelfand, M. J., Greer, L. L., Johns, G., Kesebir, S., Klein, P. G., Lee, S. Y., ….van Vugt, M. (2021). COVID-19 and the workplace: Implications, issues, and insights for future research and action. American Psychologist, 76(1), 63–77.

Leske, L. (2016, November 30). How search committees can see bias in themselves. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Levine, J. (2021, August 16). Summary: July 2021 core e-forum, ‘job hunting and hiring during the pandemic.’ American Library Association Core News.

Library Research Service. (2019, July 16). Library jobline posts a record 815 jobs in 2018.

Marsden, P. V., & Gorman, E. H. (2001). Social networks, job changes, and recruitment. In I. Berg & A. L. Kalleberg (Eds.), Sourcebook of labor markets: Evolving structures and processes (pp. 467–502). Springer.

Martin, M. (2021, March). Strategically virtual: Effective job search support in the time of COVID. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University.

McCarthy, J. M., & Cheng, B. H. (2014). Through the looking glass: Employment interviews from the lens of job candidates. In U.-C. Klehe & E. van Hooft (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of job loss and job search (pp. 329–58). Oxford University Press.

McCarthy, J. M., Truxillo, D. M., Bauer, T. N., Erdogan, B., Shao, Y., Wang, M., Liff, J., & Gardner, C. (2021). Distressed and distracted by COVID-19 during high-stakes virtual interviews: The role of job interview anxiety on performance and reactions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 106(8), 1103–1117.

Michalak, R., & Rysavy, M. D. T. (2022). Conducting effective online interviews in an academic library. Journal of Library Administration, 62(1), 101–109.

Noon, M. (2018). Pointless diversity training: Unconscious bias, new racism and agency. Work, Employment and Society, 32(1), 198-209.

Oliver, A., & Prosser, E. (2018). Academic librarianship without the degree: Examining the characteristics and motivations of academic library professionals. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 44(5), 613–619.

Pike, J. C., Bateman, P. J., & Butler, B. S. (2018). Information from social networking sites: Context collapse and ambiguity in the hiring process. Information Systems Journal, 28(4), 729–758.

Purohit, M., Gollapudi, S., & Raghavan, M. (2019). Hiring under uncertainty. Proceedings of the 36th International Conference on Machine Learning, 97, 5181–5189. PMLR.

Reynolds, T., Zhu, L., Aquino, K., & Strejcek, B. (2021). Dual pathways to bias: Evaluators’ ideology and ressentiment independently predict racial discrimination in hiring contexts. Journal of Applied Psychology, 106(4), 624–641.

Rivera, L. A. (2012). Hiring as cultural matching: The case of elite professional service firms. American Sociological Review, 77(6), 999–1022.

Soto-Luna, I. (2022). Job search during COVID: A new librarian navigating a new normal. College & Research Libraries News, 83(3), 125–128.

SJSU School of Information. (2022). MLIS skills at work: A snapshot of job postings spring 2022.

Tewell, E. C. (2012). Employment opportunities for new academic librarians: Assessing the availability of entry level jobs. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 12(4), 407–423.

Torres, J., Gold, N., & Donnelly, J. (2022). Challenges, opportunities, and progress in librarianship since the Great Recession: An examination of graduate ALA-accredited curricula, the workforce, and professional development trends. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-Journal), 12(4): 1–20.

United States Department of Health and Human Services. (2023, May 9). Fact sheet: End of the

COVID-19 public health emergency.

Wilkie, D. (2017, April 25). Hidden bias more subtle and difficult to recognize than bias of decades past. HR News.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2023 International Journal of Librarianship


Download data is not yet available.