Recruiting From Retail: University of Chicago Library Acquisitions Department Experience

Session Description

Over the past couple of years, the University of Chicago Library acquisitions department experienced a significant amount of clerical and supervisory staff turnover. This turnover was the result of retirements, career advancements, and career changes. We viewed this period of change as an opportunity to recruit a highly skilled and diverse staff which will help poise and sustain the department for the future. To accomplish this, we knew that we had to think differently about what skills we needed and what skills would be transferable from industries outside the library or academe into the library.

This talk will provide an outline of the potential benefits of non-library industry hiring by exploring the following topics:

  • What types of skills are needed for work in the department, not just currently, but in the future?
  • What types of non-industry candidates could be well-suited for a job in the library?
  • How to satisfy current departmental needs and anticipate future industry developments and changes through hiring, and why considering applicants new to the Library may address each of those challenges
  • Reframing requisitions and interviews to focus on transferable/soft skills, in the absence of relevant library experience
  • Casting a wider net can sometimes yield unexpected, but fruitful results in a job search
  • Initial training and development to acclimate new hires into library work

The session will be comprised of short panel sections focused on a targeted topic during which we will have interactive polls, a matching game, and take questions from the attendees. Panelists will include a mix of staff: librarians, supervisors, and clerical staff.


Susan Martin, Head, Acquisitions Services, University of Chicago

Susan Martin
Susan Martin is currently Associate Professor and the Chair of Collection Development and Management at the James E. Walker Library at Middle Tennessee State University. Until March 2020, she served as the Head of Acquisitions Services at The University of Chicago Library. Prior to this position, she served as the Acquisitions Librarian at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas. Her other experience includes writing and editing for an internet start-up and working as a professional librarian in a variety of departments: acquisitions, cataloging, circulation, and reference.

Susan holds an A.B. in American Studies and French from Mount Holyoke College and an M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons College. In her spare time she enjoys traditional librarian pursuits, such as book collecting, knitting, and cats.

Tina Erikson, Receiving and Rapid Cataloging Supervisor, University of Chicago

Tina Erikson
Tina Erikson is the Supervisor for the Receiving and Rapid Cataloging unit in the Acquisitions department at The University of Chicago Library. Before coming to the library, she was general manager for Argo Tea, a Chicago-based tea company. Other experience includes teaching ESL in South Korea as well as teaching Spanish language and literature courses at the University of Chicago.

Tina holds a B.A. in Spanish and Religion from Ashland University and an M.A. in Romance Languages and Literature from The University of Chicago. She loves playing Dungeons and Dragons and spending time with her husband, 1 year old son, and 2 cats.

Jessica Glomb, Library Orders Supervisor, University of Chicago

Jessica Glomb
Jessica Glomb is the Monographic Orders Supervisor at the University of Chicago Library. Her first experience with the book industry was as a buyer in the Lifestyle Department for Whole Foods Market in Wheaton, IL, where she worked exclusively with Baker and Taylor to procure and sell books on all things health and foodie related, among other fantastic products. She is ecstatic to have the opportunity to expand her horizons in the book trade and serve the community in a library setting.

She holds a BA in Psychology from Indiana University. In her spare time she stays up far too late reading about world history, industry and politics, and paints and cooks a little. With a background in nutrition sales, she dabbles in fitness, too!

Max Maller, Principal Orders Assistant, University of Chicago

Max Maller
Max Maller is Principal Monographic Ordering Assistant at the University of Chicago Library. Prior to holding this position, he has worked as a translator, editor, and journalist with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Chicago Reader, Jewish Currents, Chicago Review, and other publications. For two years, he was a sales clerk and buying specialist at Powell’s Books Chicago.

Max holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chinese Literature and Language from Reed College and an MA from the University of Chicago.

Philip Stefani, Receiving Assistant, University of Chicago

Philip Stefani
Philip Stefani is a Receiving and Rapid Cataloging Assistant at the University of Chicago. He first worked in the Penrose Library at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington where he was a Circulation Assistant, worked in the archives, and was a student research assistant. He has also worked as an English teacher in China and a commercial fisherman in Alaska. Before coming to UChicago, Philip was a collection and circulation clerk at Odd Obsession Movies, one of the last video rental shops on the planet.

He earned a B.A. in Art History and Visual Culture Studies from Whitman College. Outside of work, Philip enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time in the sun.

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