Landing Your First Librarian Job: Apply for a Library Residency/Fellowship

Upon graduating from my MLS program, I was in a conundrum about how to get a job that required experience as a librarian when there were no entry-level positions available. After discussing this with other librarians and combing alumni forums I came across my answer: The Library Residency!

I think one of the keys to landing my first full time librarian position was a library residency. Library residencies allow individuals who are recently graduated a way to gain entry-level, cross-departmental, experience. The appointments can last anywhere from a semester to a few years. It is also a great opportunity to potentially land a permanent position.

There are several different ways to find out residencies that are available, here are a few:

Join a listserv: Listservs are automated email lists. I constantly get notified of jobs and residencies that are available in the library world through this avenue. Join a few that are based on a branch of librarianship that you are interested in. Also make sure to join your library program’s listserv if there is one available.

Create a Google Alert– You can set up your alert to notify you anytime the term “library residency” or “library fellowship” is mentioned on the Web.

Due to the limited number of residencies that are available it can be pretty competitive, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the first residency you apply/interview for. Stay resilient and keep trying! That’s what I did and it totally paid off. Focus on them as learning experiences. If you don’t get invited to interview, maybe try revamping your resume. If you don’t get the job after the interview, go to your alumni association and practice your interviewing skills. You could also look into volunteering for library organizations. I volunteered to start a library in Peru, before my library residency.

Here is a video of me discussing the library residency I was involved in at SBCC’s Luria Library: