Reflections on the End of Library School

by Zack Frazier

Like many here at Hack Library School, I’ve been super busy with finals and the stress of graduating (see my two previous posts from earlier this year). Now that I’ve passed through the crucible of my last term, I’ve found myself in another tricky spot: the job hunt. I’m fortunate in that I have a job and a place to live for the summer while I find myself gainful employment, but if I didn’t have those two things, I’d be up the creek. I thought I would offer some advice based on my experience and give you some great websites to look at before and during your own job hunt.

Any term is stressful, but oftentimes the last term is more so. I found myself taking some of the most difficult classes I’ve ever taken, in a leadership position in our student organization, and working nearly 45 hours a week. This is not a good environment to conduct a job hunt in. If your last term looks similar, apply for jobs, but just don’t be disappointed if you only are able to get out 1-2 applications a week. If you’re jobless at the end of it, don’t feel bad either. Most of my friends have found jobs, but it’s just taken them a bit after finishing. If you can’t avoid the hectic final term, try spending time thinking about a system you can use when you’re done to take on the job hunt. When you finish and give yourself a week to breath again, then dive in full bore.

To avoid the sand trap I found myself in, I highly recommend planning your library school experience so that your most difficult term is the term before your final term. Taking one of the most difficult classes in your program while working and trying to find a job isn’t any fun–trust me. If you plan it out right, your last term should have something interesting and a full helping of some form of practicum, but nothing that gives you grey hair like my databases class did.

In addition to the advice on course scheduling, I’d like to share some of the better websites I’ve found to help you with your job hunt.

I Need a Library Job is a favorite amongst the Hackers here. It’s a website listing job boards, resources, and postings of library jobs. In addition it also has articles on the job hunt and interviews with a variety of people, including some of us.

Hiring Librarians is essential reading for anyone who is engaged in a library job search. It’s not job postings, but it is interviews and data about what people are looking at and for when they see your application. It’s the best library-related job search website out there. However you conduct your job search, bookmark and regularly read this blog.

Letters to a Young Librarian is a blog I just discovered. It’s a really interesting blog aimed at people just entering the profession. The posts cover a variety of subjects but include things related to the job hunt.

Libgig is a searchable database of library jobs; it’s sort of a meta job search engine. I’m recommending it not so much for that key feature as for the articles that it frequently links to on its main page.

Check out this group post from In the Library with the Lead Pipe.

There’s also a great post on the job hunt complete with spreadsheet that Heidi posted way back at the start of this blog. I highly recommend checking out her post and using her sheet, which I used as the basis of a database I constructed for my job hunt but never used (I just like making databases).