You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! Our volunteer Agents are on the job! Here’s what they have to say this week….
Question: I’m about to get my MLS. I’ve been working part time as a Youth Services Coordinator for the past two years but I am going to start looking for a Full-Time, big kid library job. Any advice?
Carrie (Tulare County Library) says:
1. Realize you will have more ideas than time. You can’t do all the projects. Keep a backburner idea log whenever you get a great idea for a program that you don’t have the time or resources for at the moment. It will happen—eventually. Keep an eye out for those grants that can make your ideas possible, and those volunteers that can free up your time.
2. Switching from part-time to full-time can be daunting because you feel like you have so much more time and thus want to plan so many more projects—but as a full-timer, you also have a bunch of behind-the-scenes housekeeping you may not have had to deal with as a part-timer. Every job is different of course, but it was a real shift for me from having to ask for things to do from my supervisor to being the person that relies on staff and volunteers to offer awesome library services.
3. Be nice to yourself—adjusting to the full-time schedule is tough at first. Take your breaks, even when you feel swamped. ESPECIALLY when you feel swamped. Hey, that’s not easy to do, and I’m going on my fifth year as a full time librarian. When you love your job, it is sometimes hard to remember your very important first job of taking care of yourself. =)
4. When it comes to programs and services, start off modestly and build. Chances are, patrons will love your new ideas. And if you start a program, they are going to want more of it. Or something else. It’s like what happens when you give a mouse a cookie, lol. Introduce new programs slowly, and make sure you’ve got the balance right before introducing more.
5. Ask many questions and take copious notes.
6. In terms of job searching—just get to know a lot of local librarians/libraries and see where your style and personality would fit in and complement the community and staff. Seriously, good co-workers and bosses are one of the most important things to consider when looking for a new job. If you are open to moving, before you pack your bags and relocate, make sure you’ll like the new area. Re the library, make unannounced visits and see what the atmosphere is like.)
Kim (Akron-Summit County Public Library) says:
First of all, congrats! When I was applying for library jobs, the biggest takeaway was to be flexible. Be open to a variety of positions (even less-than-ideal ones) to get your foot in the door and be willing to relocate if you can. Second, make sure your resume is up-to-date and your cover letter is strong. Try to reference specific points from the job postings in your letter to show you’ve paid full attention to the details of the position. Also, one thing I like to as a bonus is to show off my abilities through a portfolio. I’ve used physical portfolio binders in the past that I bring with me to interviews. Recently, I discovered Wix, which is a site where you can create an e-portfolio for free. It allows me to include the cool things I’ve done that won’t fit on my resume. Lastly, it can seem sometimes like the library job market is so difficult to break into, so don’t give up. Good luck!
Thanks to our volunteer agents for the awesome answers. If you have a question about anything teen services related ask it here! Your question will be featured on the blog with answers from our agent volunteers or TSU team members. If you’d liked to be a volunteer agent, please submit your info here.