Job Hunters’ Resource Round-Up

Florence LaDue,ca.1910-1915There are a lot of great resources out there for library and archives job hunters. The list of my favorites has been steadily growing as I’ve met people through this blog.  I thought I’d take today to share them with you, and to ask you to contribute the ones you use.

General Resources

Many of you probably already know about I Need A Library Job. In fact, chances are they sent you here in the first place. Started by Rutgers students Naomi House and Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ offers a huge digest of job postings, articles with career hunting tips, and interviews with hired librarians (as well as jobhunting librarians like me!).  They are on LinkedIn (some good discussions!) Facebook and Twitter as well. One of my favorite things Naomi does is to post a congratulations tweet to INALJ community members when they get hired.

LISJobs was started in 1996! It offers a job board, career Q & A, and resume posting/browsing. It does look like the job listings will move to INALJ.  LibGig also provides job listings, career Q & A, and community profiles. Some of the more library-focused career advice seems to be no longer updated, but the job board is active.

LISCareer takes more of a long view approach.  This is the place to visit if you are thinking about your career, rather than just your job hunt (although there is job search advice too).  They publish articles by a wide variety of information professionals on topics such as Leadership, Networking, Publishing and Presenting, and Work/Life Balance.  It’s a great place to go when you are finding your feet in the library world. For example, I just started working as a substitute librarian, so I found A Substitute Librarian’s Survival Guide by Laura Miller incredibly useful.

Hired Librarians (Open Access Job Hunting)

This is my favorite emerging genre of job hunting sites.  The first site I know of to apply this concept is Stephen X. Flynn’s Open Cover Letters.  Here’s how it works: hired librarians send in the cover letter that got them the job, Steve  redacts any identifying information and publishes it.  Library job seekers can access a rich and highly relevant resource in order to learn to write better cover letters. Simple, elegant, and mind-blowingly helpful.

Over at Librarian Hire Fashion, Jill is looking to use the same concept to resolve that thorny issue of what to wear to your interview. She’s just starting out, so she needs your help.  If you were recently hired for a library job or know someone who was, submit a photo!

Job Boards

Perhaps the most venerable job board is ALA’s JobList.  It provides listings for all types of library jobs, throughout the US and Canada.

But sometimes you need a more focused job board. If you’re a specialist, associations often have their own boards. In this category are library associations, such as the Medical Library Association, and associations of the larger field or industry, such as the National Association of Independent Schools.

If you’re interested certain geographic opportunities, a regional or state-focused job board can be very helpful.  For example I use the job board of the Pacific Northwest Library Association, because I wouldn’t mind moving to a place where I could buy artisanal light bulbs, as well as Library Jobs in California, because I do like where I am now. Andrew Beymer runs Indiana Library Jobs and has some great advice for using job-hunting resources:

It’s important to highlight that no one job resource is going to be good enough for someone looking to find a job. Just browsing ALA Joblist or your local state library listings will only catch a fraction of the jobs that are out there.

 If a person is serious about finding a job then they need to consider other resources like Career Builder or Indeed. They need to spotlight institutions that they want to work for, bookmark their HR page, and check it every couple of days to see if there are any new openings. Consider gaining experience in nontraditional areas. For-profit colleges, for example, are really big right now and have the potential to pay well but a lot of people overlook them because they have their own HR pages and never send job listings to the traditional library hiring lists.


Listservs are another very important place to catch postings. I have an email account solely dedicated to my listservs. They are not only great places to learn about problems of practice and hot issues, but they are sometimes the sole repository for very exciting opportunities.  There is a big  list of ALA sponsored Listservs here. There are some great ones run through schools too though, for example the reference focused LIBREF-L

The Library Literature

Just like we learned in library school, we can consult the literature.  I’m ashamed to say that this is a strategy that never even occurred to me until I was contacted by Megan Hodge and Nicole Spoor, who wrote a fantastic article entitled “Congratulations! You’ve landed an interview: What do hiring committees really want?” (DOI:10.1108/03074801211218534).  They present the results of an extensive and scholarly survey of individuals who Hire Librarians.  It is very useful. I’m hoping to have them do a guest post within the next month or two.

In the Library with the Lead Pipe pointed me to “Job Advertisements for Recent Graduates: Advising, Curriculum, and Job-seeking Implications” by Robert K. Reeves and Trudi Bellardo Hahn. They present their findings after analyzing over 1000 library job ads in the Spring of 2009.  Although their intended readers are library school administrators, the information is also useful for students and job seekers looking to find out what steps to take to make themselves more attractive candidates.

Teresa Neely has edited a book that provides a comprehensive overview for academic library hopefuls: How to Stay Afloat in the Academic Library Job Pool  Chapters include: “”Entry-Level Jobs in Academic Libraries”, “Compiling an Application Packet That Doesn’t Make the Search Committee Want to Kill You”, and “Your Presentation: It Should Not Be Ridiculous”.

And finally, the editors of LISCareer have several books, including the forthcoming What Do Employers Want? A Guide for Library Science Students, which includes discussion of that pesky issue, do employers want you to have experience in a library?

Your Favorites

Now that I’ve shared my list, won’t you help by contributing your favorites?  The comments are open, and waiting for your top library job hunting resources.
Thanks for reading!


Filed under News and Administration

5 responses to “Job Hunters’ Resource Round-Up

  1. Thank you for the mention!

    I’ve been lazy about adding some of these sites to my RSS feed or bookmarks and then I forget about them. You prompted me to go ahead and do it now.

    I want to second the suggestion to check Indeed and private school sites. Indeed can be annoying because it includes irrelevant results and the limiters need improvement, but I have found some jobs listed there that weren’t on the other lists I regularly check. If you want to work in a public library or correctional facility, it is also helpful to check each county or city website – sometimes these jobs are listed on the ESC site and sometimes not, but seldom are they on any library job board, at least in this state.


  2. Dan Robinson

    Emily, I didn’t see the Ask A Manager blog. . It is fascinating reading and has good advice for the job hunter and the manager. The email discussion lists seem to be an overlooked resource. I check a number of them daily for libraries across the spectrum.


  3. Receive emails tailored to your interests/stay abreast of Colorado library jobs (and others!) w/ (from the Library Research Service/Colorado State Library). On twitter, @libraryjobline.


  4. Don’t forget SLA ( for special library jobs.


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