Librarian Job Search Tips

A librarian job search, is a bit different from other professions. This is a specialized role, with a lot of diverse forms of employment within the one basic category.

Librarian Job Search Online

Fortunately for librarians, the job title is enough to get a reliable search result. The problems start when it’s a matter of career choice and vacancies in a particular field. Librarian jobs are segmented into types of library, and that has a significant effect on job hunting.

The main employment markets for librarian jobs segment into quite different types of work:

  • Academic
  • Archive
  • Corporate
  • Law
  • Medical
  • Media
  • Government agencies
  • Digital
  • Military

These are very different jobs. They all have a lot of different systems, different procedures, and in many cases statutory obligations. To work with a government archive library, you need a wide range of qualifications and experience. As a medical librarian, your skills are based on requirements of different practical requirements of the hospital. For example, in a teaching hospital, the library needs to meet student requirements. In a research hospital, the entire form of library material will be quite different.

This means that librarian job search has to be geared to specific types of work. You need to search “librarian + medical” etc. This will find the right type of work, and the result of the search will also greatly reduce the number of hits.

Issues with Librarian Job Hunting

Librarian jobs aren’t high turnover jobs, and this isn’t a big employment market. Job availability is limited, and getting a job can require some patience. The best way to approach this limited job availability is to prepare for several options:

You may need to consider working in other locations if job availability is poor in your area. Usually availability of jobs is much better in major cities. Alternatively, you can consider generalist library jobs. Generalist library work is always a working option for qualified librarian. These jobs also provide promotional opportunities which are useful in career progression.

Many generalist librarian jobs, particularly in large organizations like hospitals and government agencies also provide relief opportunities in specialist areas, and can assist in further training and qualifications using their training schemes. If you’re at entry level, some types of general library jobs are very good for building experience in particular roles and systems. 

Other Librarian Job Search Options

Cold canvassing: The online search is a guide, but not the whole story. The advantage of online searches is in finding prospective employers in your field of interest, as much as in finding actual jobs. This is a very useful result, because you can contact the employers directly.

Local libraries are likely to be receptive and at least informative if you approach them. This is a good way of getting firsthand information about hiring practices, and you’ll also find out about the local job market for librarians. Some of the local librarians may also be aware of other regional libraries you can try.

Training options: If you’re appropriately qualified, you can also look at work training librarians, or doing prerequisite courses in community colleges.  If you’re a specialist, you’ll find a range of options in these fields. This greatly widens your range of job prospects, too.