Open Cover Letters is a new website I created that displays real anonymous cover letters from hired librarians (and archivists). I came up with the idea during my recent job search (which happily concluded last month!). I strongly believe that humans learn effectively from imitating and emulating exemplars. As a child I taught myself how to play drums in part by watching jazz drummers at live concerts. We all become more effective writers when we read and emulate high quality writing. As a job seeker and cover letter writer, I tried to find good example cover letters. Many websites offer generic advice, but cover letter expectations differ from industry to industry. What library search committees expect slightly differs from other fields.

Enter For the first time, library job seekers can get an idea of what library search committees and hiring managers expect. That’s because every single cover letter on that website was written by someone who got an interview and eventually won employment in a library.

The hiring process is unfortunately, but for legitimate reasons, shrouded in mystery. Nobody knows who their competition is. Nobody except the search committee knows why one candidate was favored over another. Open Cover Letters is my attempt to open up the process a little, and I hope it becomes useful to future librarians.


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