Q:Okay, I'm a different anon. I've worked in a public library for the last two years and I'm about to graduate with my MLS. I'm currently just part-time so I would prefer something full-time. I'm also trying to relocate to a different state (change of scenery would do me good). I love my job a lot and would really like to stay in a public library. It's looking less and less likely though. Can you give me advice on how to approach the application process? Thanks I really appreciate it! :D
if you have the degree & good experience, why would this be so unlikely? but honestly public library application process is not my wheelhouse! in any application, though, the cover letter is key. write specifically to the job & library you’re hoping to work for. re: relocation, be sure to mention your eagerness to relocate so folks know that up front.
other public library tumblarians, can you help out?
one bit of good advice i got was to tell a story that sticks out in yr cover letter—make sure that whoever’s reading it will remember you. talk about that horrible customer interaction you had but how you turned it around and made everyone’s day a little brighter. make it personal and make sure that you shine through. the hiring manager i spoke to said that she wanted to know that i would fit in at the system and that she would like working with me.
also, it seemed like customer service was a big factor in all the places i applied. they were looking for library experience—but also customer service experience. knowing how to interact with people and being positive about it was pretty important.
and those are my two cents.
I’ve never had a public library interview where customer service wasn’t a focus. Use the experiences you’ve had in libraries to develop your own customer service perspective. Presenting yourself as an experienced customer service candidate helps. What are some good and bad examples of customer services you have experienced? What did you learn from them?
Not surprisingly ‘the community’ and your role as a librarian in the perspective community is also important. It would be a good idea to not only research the library system but also the community it serves. Who are these people? What is important to them? What makes this community (and the library system) unique?
As KT said, insert some personality into the cover letter and/or resume. Take something your passionate about and explain how you’ll turn that into something valuable for the library. I mentioned that I host trivia nights in my spare time and that I’d love to get a trivia event started at the library. Public librarians don’t have a strict work life/personal life separation that other professions might have. Personal hobbies and interests do have a place in a public library, so exploit that.
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