Starting your career
Well, well, well! Looks like you've decided that a career in libraries and information management is right for you. Congrats! But, what now?!
If you're serious about the library and information sector then the first thing you want to do is Get qualified. Having a formal qualification will make you more employable and provides you with solid knowledge and an introduction to the profession. It is also essential if you want to ultimately end up in a library management role.
And to succeed in anything, you're going to have to make a plan. Knowing where you want your career to take you will make your life a lot easier. So, take the time to figure out what is you want and how you plan on getting there! For instance, consider the following:
- What sector(s) are you interested in working in?
- Where would you like to work - are you tied to your current location or would you be happy to move for the right job? Write down places you would and wouldn’t move to.
- Who is your dream employer? Make a list or libraries or organisations you would like to work for, get in touch with them and let them know you are looking for work. Offer to do volunteer/work experience.
Once you’ve decide where you might like to work it'll be easier for you to get a sense of what kinds of jobs are out there, who's hiring and what skill sets they are looking for. We can always help you out with any q's you might have...
Now that you're all skilled up it's time to Build professional networks.
The people you meet and connections you make within the library and information profession can be instrumental in your library career helping you get where you want to be. Here are some great ways to easily build your professional networks.
- Join LIANZA
Joining LIANZA or another professional association will help you to network and establish yourself within the library and information community. Joining your local regional committee or attending regional meetings and events is a great way to meet people, build relationships, hear about upcoming jobs and find a mentor.
(Sneaky hint: Joining while still a student will mean cheaper membership rates!)
- Get registered
Professional Registration is one of the most important things you can do when starting your career in the library and information profession - for reals. It's the ideal way to show your potential employer you are committed to ongoing personal development and the profession. Visit our Professional Registration pages to find out more about it.
- Find a mentor
Developing a strong mentoring relationship with other library and information professionals will be instrumental in moving your career ahead. Mentors can support and guide you, helping you identify learning opportunities, and will provide you with contacts and resources.
A mentor is available to you as part of your professional registration process - which is just another great reason to get registered!
Hungry? Time to make the monies, therefore, you better Check job listings.
LIANZA vacancies page: The LIANZA website has a job vacancies page and is an important site to keep watch on...
NZ Libs – Jobs: Sign up to the NZ Libs – Jobs electronic discussion list for postings about jobs in NZ libraries and information services, for example: job advertisements, job exchanges, and librarians seeking work.
Meanwhile, why not Volunteer? It'll help tick off number 2 in this list...
Volunteering is not just about doing the work to help you get your dream job… volunteering is an extremely rewarding and fun way to establish relationships, learn new skills and grow on a personal and professional level.
Volunteering for committee, working group or project for LIANZA at a regional or national level is a fantastic way to learn more about the library and information sector, library practices, policies and procedures and develop your professional profile and skills.
Working collaboratively with other LIANZA volunteers on committees and projects allows you to build relationships with members of the profession who can help and support you. This is also a great way to establish informal mentoring relationships with experienced members of the profession.
Work experience in libraries
Employers want new staff who know how libraries work from personal experience and can hit the ground running so one of the best things you can do is gain some work experience in libraries. If you can get a foot in the door by volunteering you’ll have an advantage when a position comes available.
When looking for volunteer work, try your library of choice first and then work back. Enquire at larger libraries first as they will be more likely to need volunteers and you’ll be supported in your learning by experienced staff. Explain to the person you approach about your qualification and that you need work experience to begin your library career.If they don't have anything for you at that time leave your CV and contact details with them and ask when you should check back in with them.
You will be able to add the work experience to your CV along with a referee and contact in the library industry.
Keep your finger on the pulse by connecting with the people in the industry you love so much! No matter how you personally feel about the pros and cons of social media, it's pretty much here to stay, and if you wnat to stay in the loop of what's happening in the sector then you're going to have build up your "virtual" profile! Make sure your social media profiles are up to date and reflect the emerging professional you are as prospective employers may search for you. Now, join in the convos!
- Twitter – a great way to build networks, hear the latest news and get exposure to leaders in the library and information field.
- Facebook – there are plenty of great Facebook pages and groups where you can keep up to date with the latest library news and join in discussions with other librarians. Eg. LIANZA Facebook page, PUBSIG Facebook, LIANZA Conference, Research SIG
- LinkedIn – there are a number of library groups you can join and it’s is a great forum to discuss topical subjects that anyone can participate in.
- Listservs – there is a wide range of library and information discussion lists available and these are great way to keep up with industry news and conversations. A full list of New Zealand library and information lists is available on the ITSIG Wiki
- Blogs – are a great informal way to learn about the ins and outs of libraries from members of the profession.
Here are a couple of blogs to get you started:
The Issues Desk is new to the scene and is run by a group of young, rogue librarians who voice their thoughts annonymously. A must read!
Finding Heroes is the brain child of Sally Pewhairangi, a veryu well-known and outspoken librarian!
The Room of Infinite Diligence by Librarians for Librarians, apparently!
KiwiLibrarian – Cath Sheard's blog on her experiences as a librarian. If you don't know Cath already, she's a powerhouse in the sector, so start chatting with her!
Library Chat – This is Corin Haines' blog, and it's seriously worth a read. Corin works at the National Library and he's our most recent past president. A great raconteur, this blog is one of NZ's best.
Happy Days Librarian - Julia DeRuiter and Lorna Smith have started to put together this blog on social media and librarires. It's just starting out, but both of these women are well connected, so reach out and get in touch.
It’s really important to keep your professional knowledge current throughout your career, especially in an industry where information is so important! Dedicate some of your precious time to do some research into what professional development courses are available.
LIANZA offers a range of professional development options to help you up-skill for a career in libraries.We offer face-to-face workshops throughout the year, a suite of self-paced online learning courses and free online training videos. If you don't have the time or the money for courses, then turn to reading! You're a librarian so you love reading, right? Have a look at the following journals and magazines so you can see what's going on in the sector!
- LIANZA Careers Survey Report 2013 (PDF, 7.2MB) - A rich source of information about career choices, qualifications including advice from practitioners at different stages of their careers.
- The New Zealand Library and Information Management Journal - A research journal focussing on library and information management issues relevant to New Zealand published by LIANZA.
- Library Life – A monthly industry magazine for the library and information sector published by LIANZA.