Hey, job seekers!
Welcome again to Brash Jobs, my series designed to help you get into the library profession. Are you looking for a library job? Read on! Looking for a job in general? Read on, many of the tips here will apply to any job hunt! Not looking for a job at all? Send it to a friend!
So, you’ve finally decided you’re ready to jump into the library profession! Now come some of the harder questions to help you narrow your search down:
- Where do you want to live?
If you’re happy with the town or city you’re in, by all means search locally. If you’ve always wanted to move or live somewhere else, librarians are fairly portable. (It’s hard finding a city or town that doesn’t have at least one library nearby.)
- What kind of library do you want to work in?
For the most part, libraries are divided between public libraries and academic. If you haven’t read my previous post on libraries 101, then PLEASE read it first and save yourself many questions. Everything you need or want to know about different libraries will be there! If it isn’t there, you can always post a question below!
- What area/field/department do you want to work in?
Are you more into reference and looking things up/helping people? Do you have a knack for computers/tablets/e-readers/devices in general and would like do the more gadget assistance? Maybe you’d like to work in Technical Services where all the behind-the-scenes stuff happens? If you’re in public libraries or elementary school libraries, working with teens or children are also options. This is the part where you have to be really honest with yourself and know what you want. If you can’t stand being around kids, don’t make the children’s librarian job your first choice.
Even if library work is not your exact cup of tea, there are plenty of other jobs available. Libraries still need people on the financial and administrative side as well! I’ve heard plenty of these.
“But I’m a receptionist/aid/assistant, what would a library do with me?”
Library directors need administrative assistants, the perfect fit for you!
“But I was a finance major, a library has no use for me.”
Wrong! Libraries spend lots of money, and they need somebody to keep track of finances and accounting. Where do you think all those books come from?
- Do you have a specialty?
Depending on what you have experience in, you can be can help guide your decision. This primarily applies to academic libraries which serve colleges and universities, their students, staff and faculty. Many academic librarians become specialists in an area of knowledge and can have faculty status. Larger institutions can contain several libraries on their campuses that cater to particular schools, including:
- Medical libraries (For those with a biology/chemistry/pharmacy background)
- Science libraries (Engineering, architecture, this one is pretty wide)
- Law Libraries (Paralegals, notaries, retired lawyers, etc)
- Business Libraries (Anyone with a business background)
- English/Drama libraries (English, fine arts, theater majors will be right at home)
Special skills and talents are also applicable to the public library sector as well. The majority of people who go into library science often went into something else first – in fact, it’s often a second career. Whether it’s the lady who has been in the corporate world for 20 years and is ready for a change, the guy who wanted to attend medical school but changed his mind, or even the 60-something who just isn’t ready to retire yet, we all have skills that we can apply to our library.
If you look at a library as just a company, it’s not different from many businesses. Both require a figurehead – you say CEO, we say library director. Middle management? Budget wars? Fiscal years? Finance department? Board of Directors to report to? IT support? Yup, we librarians have all that, too. A CEO with a million-dollar company and a library director with a million-dollar budget are the same in many ways.
“No way, Justin! Those are totally separate, you can’t compare them at all!”
Oh really? Prove it. Show me these differences. I’ve heard a few nay-sayers try to convince me otherwise, but I’ve yet to have anyone actually bring me something solid.
Still not enough for you? Speaking of million-dollar companies, Forbes magazine ranked librarians 8th place in the 2014 America’s Least Stressful Jobs Report with audiologists taking 1st place this year…who knew? I hope they’ve heard the good news (ba-dum tsk!)
That’s all for this episode of Brash Jobs! If you have questions/comments/observations between now and the next Brash Jobs, please post them below! I just LOVE when people ask questions.
Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian