The best leads for library jobs


nbruce writes "I've been racking my brain about the best leads to library jobs, but realize my own experience is worthless.

First professional job: I was a graduate assistant and when I completed my MLS, I was hired into a faculty position in the same department.

Second professional job: the restrooms on the second floor were busy, so I went up to the fourth floor (University of Illinois Library) where the personnel librarian from Ohio State was interviewing.

All polls aside, what methods or suggestions do secure librarians have for the newbies and the "want-to-change" librarians?"


I would suggest ALA's website ( adsb/careerleadsonline.htm) and America's Job Bank ( It doesn't hurt to check the state library websites for whatever state the person is interested in working. Also just looking at major cities' public library websites can yield job listings. My suggestions for leads probably work best for those unafraid of uprooting.Networking with old library school colleagues is also a good way to find a job.

I quite like the listings at LISJobs. They even have an RSS feed so you can add it to your aggregator.
Ditto the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Those are the two I keep up with even when I'm not really looking for a job.
State library associations were already mentioned, I think, but they're a terrific idea, so I guess I'll second the motion.

I'll second LISJobs, and add, I think Sarah's been at it longer than anyone. My past jobs were found a variety of ways, newpaper ad, head hunter, an LISNewster told me about my OSU gig, and the latest one was just another newspaper ad.

Thanks for the plug, Blake - yes, it's been over 9 years and counting! And actually, anyone who searches the individual job ads or views the RSS feeds hosted at is using my site, too - Rachel and I combined our job ads at the end of 2003. We were getting most of the same ads, so it made sense. We alternate posting ads every week, and lately there have been a slew of them.

Shameless self-promotion alert: if you're interested in the subject, check out our book, The Information Professional's Guide to Career Development Online. We have three chapters related to library job hunting.

If you have even a rough idea of where you'd like to be geographically, some legwork pulling up the websites of all the major institutions in the area can be very helpful. Most libraries have job openings pages, and I've often found jobs posted locally that the big national sites miss. In fact that's how I got my current job--I knew where I wanted to be, monitored the openings, and applied for one that was relevant that I never saw listed anywhere else.

The AP makes a good point here. Another place to find some of these stealth job listings is on regional email lists (don't call them listservs!). I've noticed that a great many of the jobs I see in my email don't really show up on the web, except in list archives.

It took me 16 months to find a full time job - During the 16 months, I substituted in local public schools and substituted in public libraries - and looked everyday at these job web sites and applied at jobs daily. It is a very hard job market.

Best advice I can give - do not take it personally and try to think positive - very important because negativity will get across in resumes and in the few interviews you get. Do not quit a job during library school so that you can graduate earlier - better to put off graduating and dropping classes if an opening comes up that you want. Solicit advice from librarians that are in the jobs you want -
Be open geographically - Even if the job is not where you want to end up, get some years of work experience and then try to get a job back there.
As usual, timing is everything, but you cannot wait for a job to open in your area - you really need to get your own career schedule going.

Good Luck! Jobs come and go - what you learn in the job hunting process will be valuable - I think we are always in the job hunting process so you are not alone.

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