Q: How easy is it to move between different types of libraries? I’m a full-time elementary school librarian and an adjunct reference librarian at a community college. I’m moving May and I’d really like to try for an academic library, but I’m nervous that my experience won’t align with minimum qualifications for academic librarians.
CNW: Since you have already worked in an academic library as an adjunct, and you already have full-time experience as a librarian, I think you would be an appealing candidate for many academic librarian roles. The key in your case will be to articulate how your skills align with the minimum qualifications. For example, if you acquired Skill X in a setting other than an academic library, state clearly and simply why this is relevant in your cover letter. Focus on transferable skills more than where you gained the experience.
If you haven’t already been applying for jobs in the new location, start now. Academic libraries can take months to respond to job applicants. Some have a hiring “season” in the early part of the year. Those jobs may already be well into the interview process, so pay attention to any deadlines you see posted in the job descriptions. The only thing you will accomplish by applying to jobs that are past the deadlines is to waste your time. Also keep in mind that the academic library market is competitive, so it may take you some time to find a good opportunity. It might be a good idea to keep an eye on the school and public library job markets in case the academic route doesn’t work out.
Be patient and confident in your skills and experience, and you should be able to find work in your preferred field with time.