How do I change from public to academic library?

Meredith Lavine,
If you are looking to make a change to a different sort of librarianship, we suggest coming at it from a few different angles.

Set up introductions and ask for an informational interview or the opportunity to job shadow or even propose the idea of an “externship”, to volunteer a few hours a week in that environment for the purposes of gaining experience and getting to know the environment. We also suggest taking supplemental coursework or CEUs and attending professional association conferences to enhance your subject matter and technical knowledge and make new contacts.

While there is no guarantee that these techniques will secure a position, you will be making the right contacts and getting a foothold in the industry. Definitely include this experience on your resume, and continue making connections and looking for open positions.

Kathleen Schmidt, Recruiter, LAC:
Apply for positions in an academic library with job responsibilities similar to that of the job you currently have in the public library. Seek first to make a lateral move, then, once you have proven yourself as a strong employee, grow within the academic library by being enthusiastic and asking your supervisor to assume additional responsibilities. Take full advantage of any and all opportunities for training, especially tuition reimbursement for additional classes.

You alone are responsible for gaining new skill sets and keeping those you already have current. Remember that statistically, people will change jobs and even careers several times before they retire. Employment is at-will so it will behoove you to begin with the end in mind. Make it a win-win wherever your are employed by working hard and providing value for your organization while building your knowledge, skills and abilities so that you are well-prepared to pursue new career opportunities when you are ready .

Remember that career success is not just about getting the job-it is about finding a healthy working environment that will challenge and inspire you to achieve your personal best.