Careers in Federal Libraries

All about Federal careers

Monthly Archives: November 2013

Leave No Rock Unturned in Your Job Search

Are you a new library student with no prior library experience looking to build your resume (like me)? Or you are finished with school and looking to launch your career? If you answered yes to either of these, then you probably spend a decent portion of your time each week searching for a job or internship.

If you aren’t having the best luck landing the ideal position, you just might find a gem hiding in a place you never thought to look. It’s easy to get stuck looking on the same websites. Though you are limited to to apply to federal positions, you can find opportunities in unexpected places that will help you build your resume to start your career with the federal government.  I recently came across two wonderful opportunities at times when I did not have my job searching goggles on.

1. My Local Flier. My county distributes a flier every Thursday, and every Friday I usually read the first few pages (most importantly the crime report) as I eat breakfast. I was randomly reading the volunteer section when I saw that the county’s historical society needed help. Specifically, they needed help with the sort of tasks that I am going to school for.  An e-mail, a meeting, and a week later, I was helping the historical society catalog the same newspaper where I saw their ad. Not only has volunteering been a great way to get out of the house (and away from my schoolwork!) for a few hours each week and meet new people, but this opportunity was just what I needed to fill my resume with library and information science related skills and experience in order to eventually get my first paid position in the field.

2. A Classmate. During a break from class, I started chatting with the student in front of me. He is in his second year in the program and has had a few library positions. As we chatted, I shared my fear that my lack of formal library experience is preventing me from even getting interviews for the part-time student positions I have been applying for. He told me that his library would be hiring in a few weeks and I should apply because it would be the perfect position for me. I told him I would be on the lookout for the position positing on the listserv. It just so happens that he was in charge of posting the position, and he even sent out the posting the next day. I sent a resume and cover letter right away. I had an interview by the end of the week. This experience underscores the importance of developing relationships with your peers during school and keeping in-touch after graduation. What’s more, do not wait until after graduation to use these connections and remember that they will come in handy in moments you might never expect, so always be on your best behavior 🙂

Do not get stuck in the trap of looking in the same place for open positions. Always be on the lookout for an employment page on websites, take a few moments to browse through your local newspapers, and make friends with the people in your classes.


Apply for ALA Scholarships!

The ALA is now accepting applications for scholarships for the Fall 2014 academic year. Make sure to apply by the March 1, 2014 deadline!

In addition to a slew of general scholarships, the ALA offers a $1,500 scholarship to students who are interested in working in a Federal library. Click here to apply for the Federal Librarians Cicely Phippen Marks Scholarship.

5 Things to Know About The Library of Congress

On Thursday, October 31, I went with a group of 14 other University of Maryland graduate students on a tour of the Library of Congress. It was my first visit despite living in the DC area my entire life. Below are a few things that I thought would be of interest to anyone who is in interested in a career at the LOC but has never had the chance to visit.

1) There are 3 Library of Congress buildings on Capitol Hill: the Jefferson, Madison, and Adams. All three are connected by underground tunnels- so you don’t even need to go outside to go between each building. Even cooler fact: there’s a coffee bar in the tunnel between the Jefferson and Madison building.

Jefferson Building

2) The Jefferson Building (above) is extremely opulent. No corner of the building is a wasted opportunity for decorative art. You will find odes to intellectuals from all fields of knowledge. Even the bathrooms are marble!


3) Those who work at the LOC enjoy talking about the film National Treasurer 2: Book of Secrets. The librarian who gave us the tour made sure to show us the staircase (pictured right) Nicholas Cage runs down in one scene filmed at the LOC.

4) They still have a card catalog! Pictured below is one row of the card catalog room, where there are 22,000 drawers and 22,000,000 cards. Cards have not been added to the catalog since 1980.

5) The LOC houses the largest comic book collection in the world! My group found this tidbit out while visiting the The Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room in the Madison Building.

LOC Card Catalog

The LOC  website is a great way to learn more about the library and its collection, as well as  visitor information, the online catalog, and lots of resources for researchers

Introducing CIFL’s New Manager

Hello CIFL readers! My name is Kelsey and I am excited to be the newest contributor to the CIFL blog! I am a brand new library science student at the University of Maryland, where I earned my B.A. in 2011.

Like many of you, I am interested in the various avenues available for library and information science professionals. As a central Maryland native, I have been surrounded by federal employees and agencies my entire life. This makes federal libraries one of the most intriguing venues. It is my hope that I can engage CIFL readers in topics I come across in my studies as well as through my exploration of the industry.

Please do not hesitate to comment on posts or e-mail me directly at if you want to know more about my posts or have any questions.

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