The whole question of library jobs and library job interviews is one I’m seriously considering right now,because I’d like to transition from my information professional job into a mix of part-time library work and part time information work. After 14 years, I need a change, but library work doesn’t pay as well as information work, so it can only be a partial change at this point.
In considering the kind of work I would both be good a (and thus of value to my employers) and would enjoy, I’ve been gravitating toward academic libraries. I prefer working with slightly older people and I get along best with the 20-30 age group that is usually in those libraries. My knowledge of English would be a real asset as would my command of computer applications, social media, cataloging skills, and history of teaching college-age students, and my ability to think on my feet and learn quickly wouldn’t hurt.
The big thing I’m missing, which is a must in an academic library, is knowledge of the Aleph (Ex Libris) system.
Which is where volunteering comes in. This summer I volunteered to create and catalog a music collection in a public library, which gave me an opportunity to learn issues involved in cataloging special collections, music, keywords, quick searches for information to add to the records, and a very thorough intro to the proclivities of the Agron system. Lots of that can carry over to Aleph, but it’s not enough.
Last week I had my pre-semester meeting with my faculty. She was joking with me that I work too hard and ought to take time off, read a book. “I don’t read books, I catalog them,” I said, and when she laughed, I told her that I was serious, that I spent my summer vacation cataloging and that I wanted to apply for academic jobs but have neither the certificate (well, duh — that’s why I’m in school) nor that one crucial qualification.
Long story short, my schedule was rearranged so at the end of this school year I’ll be able to have my government certification as a librarian (and spend the last year getting the information certificate) and they are arranging for me to volunteer, with supervision, in an academic library, so that within a few months I can start applying for jobs and be able to say that I have the proper qualifications or as near enough as does not matter.
Volunteering works — it’s often the only way to get the experience needed to get a job, And tooting your own horn, in a modest fashion, works wonders, too.
By this time next year I expect I’ll have at least a part time library job, mainly due to volunteering. And I’ll blog about it when I do.