Careers in Federal Libraries

All about Federal careers

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.

Great way to add to your resume …. and

Great way to add to your resume

…. and get involved in ALA as a student to staff leader. Free conference, housing and networking for students who work as staffers for a few hours a day.

And if you’re willing to work for a few hours over a couple of days, CIFL might be able to help with your transportation. Holler back if you’re interested!

What to ask in an outreach-related job interview

Great thinking on applying to an outreach job! Congrats, Outreach Librarian.

the outreach librarian

NYSSCPA-Mock-Interviews-300x213Job seekers might notice a surge in outreach-specific jobs and jobs with an outreach component in recent years. While outreach-specific jobs might not stay on the radar, you can be fairly certain that outreach as a job component will only increase. Which has led to folks asking their LibraryLand peers: what questions do I need to ask in such an interview?

The phone interview: the phone interview is designed to be short, sweet, and determine if chemistry exists between you and your perspective colleagues. It’s a bit like the coffee date: lower stakes than something more formal, low investment. You want to stick with 2-3 questions here. Some suggestions:

  • What do you like most about working here? (Hint: do they mention the people they serve? You can learn A LOT about potential colleagues, work environment, etc. from this seemingly innocuous question!)
  • What kind of support exists for outreach services? (If…

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Limited seating to practice your intervi

Limited seating to practice your interviewing skills Saturday Oct 12th UMD Shady Grove with SLA MD #internships #SLAMD #CIFL2013

Government Shutdown is here

It’s ridiculously difficult to get a job in Federal government. Once you’re a federal employee, there are stages of grief that you go through .. at least stages that I’ve gone through over the last few years.

“There will be no cost of living raise this year.”
I experienced denial. Seriously? There have been annual cost of living raises for the last few decades.

“Federal employees cannot attend conferences based on a handful of bad actors at one agency.”
I experienced anger. How does an agency let someone make such bad decisions to spend all that money so foolishly? It paints all Federal employees with the same brush.

“”There will be no funds for training this year.”
I found myself bargaining. If I can’t go to conferences and can’t do training, can I be given permission to pay my own way to attend an event?

“”Attending any meeting can be seen as a conference activity.”
I experienced depression: Wow, that means I can’t even participate on working groups.

“The Federal Government is being shut down.”
Oddly enough, I could accept this. It’s the trend for things to continue to retrench. Even though Federal employees might be experiencing a lack of support, the public thinks of members of Congress as a different, separate group. I can live with the bad times that the government is going through if I believe the public doesn’t blame the average Federal employee for the sad state of affairs.

What’s your furlough analogy?

Job Search Workshop Oct 12th SLA MD #int

Job Search Workshop Oct 12th SLA MD #internship #SLA #CIFL2013 Free registration available via email

All types of Federal opportunities that

All types of Federal opportunities that you’ll want to learn about October 12th from SLA MD #internships #SLAMD #CIFL2013

Clearinghouse for Virtual internships

Kim Dority,, has summarized what I consider to be THE conversation that all in the library community should be having.  

FACTOID 1: Library and iSchools include courses that students can register for to earn college credit called internships, practicums, field experiences, and independent studies.   There is no restriction on having the student work physically in a library to earn the credit; the projects can be performed anywhere just as most library work can be done these days.

FACTOID 2:  The economy is not turning around quickly, and jobs for those earning or newly graduated with an MLIS are few and far between.  Anything that can be done to enhance one’s resume should be done.  Students and graduates are eager for opportunities to do projects that will enhance their resumes. 

Now from my viewpoint, I would also add another factoid to state that President Obama released an executive memo last week requiring Federal agencies open up national service and volunteer opportunities.  A plan for doing just that across Federal government is due before the end of October 2013. 

So please chat, comment, volunteer, denegrate, support, or trash this idea.  Want to help write a grant do stand up a clearinghouse?  Want to work with Kim?

 Please converse and spread the idea.  Why not balance the playing field instead of having just a few schools cultivate virtual opportunities for their students?  Why not find ways to match projects and people so experience can be gained?  What do libraries have to lose? 

I know all parties have a lot to gain from having such a Clearinghouse for Virtual internships.  

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