Hiring the Best for Our Colleges

By Alison Steinberg Gurganus, San Diego Mesa College & Dan Crump, American River College

Many colleges now have the opportunity to hire more faculty and staff than has been possible in the recent past (read “Pandemic”).  This also gives us the chance to look at hiring and retention activities with a new lens.

One of the four CCL Strategic Goals is to “collaborate with libraries, districts and other entities in the work needed to support social justice, dismantle structural racism, and promote anti-racism in California’s Community Colleges.” And one of the strategies to achieve this goal is to “encourage the recruitment, hiring and retention of librarians and library staff from diverse backgrounds.”

This was also a topic of discussion at the recent CCL Board Retreat (July 31-August 2) and there were many suggestions on how to work on this goal and strategy, including:

  • Advertise in a broader range of publications and organizations, not just the CCC Registry and CLA and ALA, but also groups like library schools, LinkedIn, ExLibris, ELUNA
  • When advertising to association such as ALA, widen your net to a more diverse pool of associations within ALA such as the ALA Black Caucus, the Asian/Pacific American Library Association, and REFORMA, among others. 
  • Zoom webinars to inform prospective candidates of what the position actually requires and what it is about.
  • Mentoring and coaching of prospective candidates (especially classified staff already at library)
  • Adding unnecessary requirements to a job description reduces the pool, including the potential diversity of the pool. For example, a job description that requires academic library experience may eliminate public librarians who bring valuable skills and are generally a more diverse pool.
  • General job titles (e.g. Librarian vs OER Librarian) may encourage more applicants.
  • Internship Fairs
  • Job Fairs---local/regional/state
  • Be mindful of the verbiage used in the “desired qualifications” section of your posting and in the interview questions themselves.

At the same time, the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges has put together (with the teamwork of system partners, including faculty and human resources leadership) an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) 10-Point Plan for Faculty Diversity Hiring–that can help guide colleges to recruit and select the best-possible faculty and staff to benefit the students of the California Community Colleges. 

The 10-Point Plan includes strategies in the following categories:


•Intentional Review and Adaptation of Policy & Practices

•Intentional Trainings 

•Intentional Outreach & Recruitment


•Search Committee Composition

•Student Participation on Committees 

•Cluster Hiring Initiative


•Inclusive Comprehensive Onboarding

•Intentional Mentoring

•Campus Climate & Professional Learning Opportunities


•Collaboration with The Larger Institution

In the end, it is important to expand the hiring net to pools that may have previously gone untapped and look for potential recruits in every arena possible. Diverse librarian voices are essential in order to meet the needs of our distinct student populations. It is essential that our work is intentional and collaborative.