Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Find LibraryThing a Programmer, win $1,000 in books.

LibraryThing is growing. We’ve long devoted a sizable hunk of our resources to our products for traditional libraries (LibraryThing for Libraries). That business is growing fast, as more and more libraries are discovering the value of our tools.

So it’s time to reap the benefits, and fund LibraryThing.com development.

And we need your help to get the word out.

We need to find a kick-ass PHP programmer, so we’re offering $1,000 worth of books to the person who finds them. Think of it. $1,000 in books. What would you buy? Everything.

Rules! You get a $1,000 gift certificate to the local, chain or online bookseller of your choice.

To qualify, you need to connect us to someone. Either you introduce them to us—and they follow up by applying themselves—or they mention your name in their email (“So-and-so told me about this”). You can recommend yourself, but if you found out about it from someone else, we hope you’ll do the right thing and make them the beneficiary.

Small print: Our decision is final, incontestable, irreversible and completely dictatorial. It only applies when an employee is hired full-time, not part-time, contract or for a trial period. If we don’t hire someone for the job, we don’t pay. The contact must happen in the next month. If we’ve already been in touch with the candidate, it doesn’t count. Void where prohibited. You pay taxes, and the insidious hidden tax of shelving. Employees and their families are eligible to win, provided they aren’t work contacts. Tim is not.

Here’s the job post:

What we want: LibraryThing is looking for a kick-ass programmer (coder, hacker, engineer, etc.) to join the team, working mostly on LibraryThing.com.


  • You can be anywhere. LibraryThing is headquartered in Portland, Maine, but most technology employees are remote.
  • If you’re not local, we’d expect you to visit the office for team meetings from time to time.


  • Necessary. LibraryThing is made with in non-OO PHP. You should be a sure-footed, experienced, secure and rapid PHP coder.
  • Core. JavaScript (with JQuery, Prototype), CSS, MySQL.
  • Bonus. Mobile development (native or not), Python, Solr, book- and library technologies, systems skills, design or UX chops.

Take the Quiz:

Want to work for us? We have a simple quiz, developed back in 2011. If you can do it in under five minutes, you should apply for the job!

» The LibraryThing Programming Test

Do it in your best language the first time. If you also want to do it in PHP, we won’t object.


  • Creativity, diligence, optimism, and outspokenness are favored.
  • We like to hire people who care about books, and believe in a open and humane vision of the future of reading.
  • We like LibraryThing members, and people who should be LibraryThing members. Be sure to check out What Makes LibraryThing LibraryThing?
  • Working on LibraryThing.com means understanding and working with its members. Staff and members develop and refine ideas together. LibraryThing is for those members, and most of what makes LibraryThing great is created by members, so—in a way—you are their servant. That can be great, and it can (occasionally) suck. You need to want that dynamic.
  • Working on LibraryThing.com means working with Tim. A lot. Don’t worry, he’s really very nice.
  • LibraryThing is an informal, high-pressure and high-energy environment. This puts a premium on speed and reliability, communication and responsibility.
  • Working remotely gives you freedom, but also requires discipline and internal motivation.


Salary plus gold-plated health and dental insurance. We find the best programmers keep regular hours, but we are both understanding and flexible.


  • We are not looking for part-timers.
  • We are not looking for companies.
  • We do not discriminate on any irrational basis, such as age, race, sex or religion, but you should probably use a Mac.

How to Apply:

Send an email and resume to jobs@librarything.com.

Skip the cover letter, and go through the blog post in your email, responding to the tangibles and intangibles bullet-by-bullet.

Also include your solution to the quiz, and how long it took you. Anything under five minutes is fine. If it takes you longer than five minutes, we won’t know. But if you make it to interviews, they’ll involve some live coding of this sort, and will be painful for you.

Labels: jobs


  1. derda says:

    Does the job offer extend to beyond the US?

    Although it is somewhat implied, I’m not sure it does and wanted to make sure…


  2. pinkozcat says:

    The faster you get a new programmer the better. My home page is totally stuffed up, I can’t find any of the threads I was following and there are useless recommendations for books I never want to read.

    Where is my old home page ?????????

  3. Peter says:

    Can you give an indication of salary please? I’d love to work for LibraryThing, but as a job applicant it sucks to apply for jobs only to find out after doing it all the salary is $30k when I’m looking to match my current income.

  4. kmtar says:

    I’d recommend one of my sons but you would have lost him at the ‘probably should use a Mac’ comment.

  5. Princess says:

    Is the job offer applicable outside US?

  6. Daniel Smith says:

    Consider posting this on the 37Signals Job Board. (Just google it.) Lots of high-end programmers get jobs and gigs there.

  7. Drezbee says:

    Has this position been filled yet? I have someone in mind who is a programmer and a bookworm at heart.

  8. Moira says:

    How long will this ad be on the home page? Getting tired of seeing it every time I log in.

  9. Awesome opportunity to associate book passions with php-development

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