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Career Options for Librarians in Federal Libraries

November 13, 2012

Last night Drexel's ALA student chapter was proud to host two speaker's who work in libraries for the federal government. Nancy Gomez Faget and Betsy Jayasuriya were in Philly for the day to share their personal career stories with MSLIS students - and how *you too* can pursue library-related opportunities with the federal government. Here is a webcam recording of their talk.
  • Stand out advice I heard included:
    • Consider job titles that go beyond those with the word 'librarian' in the title, such as content manager, taxonomist, knowledge manager, program analyst, technical information specialist, etc.
    • Keep up with the 'Hack Library School' blog.
    • Federal employment 'pathways' program, aka Pathways for Students and Recent Graduates
    • Presidential Management Fellows Program - fast track for recent graduates.
    • Focus on getting a foot in the door with any federal library job, then consider options for transferring within the system.
    • Every single resume must be customized - copy and paste the job requirements from the job posting into your resume so you can get past the automated screening! Otherwise you won't make the first cut.
    • Include experience that shows what you've done, a project or internship - and even better if the output of your internship is a clickable link that the employer can see on the web.
    • Demonstrate that you can apply what you have learned in library school and are prepared to cross functional boundaries!
    • Sharepoint in particular is hugely popular in the federal system.
    • If you have ideas, you will have the opportunity to take on projects that you might never have expected!
    • They are 'standing up' a microtasking platform of project/practicum options that include options for virtual participation by online students. See links below or contact them directly!
Several recommended links: @careersfedlib I also heard that the ALA and SLA student chapters are going to work on figuring out a tour option for visiting the Pentagon Library as an example of a federal library. And there is additional talk about a Sharepoint peer-tutoring group - email DUSLA and SCALA for more information, or me at siftar at drexel dot edu. Enjoy!