Q: Hi there. I am an MLIS student at Syracuse University’s iSchool. I was wondering if you have encountered any questions regarding the Librarian 1 civil service exam. It would be great to have clarification on the exam’s requirements, such as: What counts as an internship? For example, what is the difference between volunteer and internship experience?
There used to be advisers for the exam but due to restructuring they no longer exist at the state level. Clarification of the exam or recommendations for who to contact to get some answers about the test content would be much appreciated. Thanks very much, and I look forward to hearing from you!
SM: First, as I’m sure you are aware, you will fill out an application for examination which should be available with, or linked from, the job description. This is where you provide information on your experience (including volunteer experience). One application that I viewed states “Describe here all relevant experience (including volunteer or military).”
From this wording, I would definitely list internship experience, or any unpaid work that you have done that is related to the duties of the job. Of course, it is ultimately up to the reviewers of the application to determine if your experience meets the actual requirements of the job.
The following is common wording from county government sites, about the civil service exam for Librarians:
There will be no written or oral test for this examination. Candidates who meet the minimum qualifications, will receive a rating based upon an evaluation of their training and experience against the duties of the position being tested.
Candidates must first complete an examination application and return it to the XXX County Department of Human Resources.
Approved candidates will be sent a notice containing directions to a secure website address at the XXX State Department of Civil Service to complete a Training and Experience Questionnaire.
Many civil service examinations are held periodically, such as once a year. But several exams (including for many Librarian positions) are held on a continuous recruitment basis.
For more information about the exam (or the application), you will need to contact the civil service office/commission/department of the county you want to work in. If you want to work as a public librarian (in many counties across the U.S.), you will need to possess a graduate library degree from an accredited institution, a valid public librarians’ professional certificate, meet the requirements of the job (which may include residency in the county), and complete the required civil service forms so you can be put on a list of eligible candidates. Good luck!
Here are some New York county sites that may be useful to you: