3.31.16 – 5 Things to Know When Taking a Librarian Job Abroad
HLS (Hack Library School), guest post by Celia Emmelhainz, 5/2/2014
…After you’ve applied and started getting interviews, there are several things to keep in mind.
1. The Job Titles Aren’t the Same
I’ve covered this before on my blog: titles layer differently in Asia than in a western institution. A senior manager may sit at a desk and lend books like a student assistant would in an American library; a general director may manage the library director. I’d always recommend you submit an application first and ask questions later if they’re interested in you. You may want to inquire about the meaning and place of your title in the hierarchy, so that you don’t take an ‘assistant’ role that actually involves substantial team management, or a ‘management’ role with ten people who directly watch and give instructions to you!
2. The Workplace Culture is Different
Workplace culture, as I’ve suggested in other places, is a tricky concept. But I don’t find culture mostly in food or clothes – I see it in hidden assumptions about life in the library. Working in Kazakhstan, at times beliefs peek out from underneath a conversation, suggesting that professional women still need to have a child to be fulfilled; that everyone needs to be watched by a supervisor at all times; that long hours are more important than what you do with those hours; and sometimes that promoting local culture is a primary goal of libraries. If you work abroad you’ll be an “expat librarian,” and many of the frustrations we face come when we’re not prepared to deal with differences in implicit expectation, values, and beliefs. It’s helpful to come to work prepared to listen closely and accommodate your colleagues’ assumptions, as well as to share your own background assumptions about the library in a respectful way. Just because you learned an attitude towards work in library school in Chicago doesn’t mean it’s “right” for your new workplace in Shanghai.
3. Your Responsibilities May Differ
Here in Kazakhstan, a core part of the librarian’s role is sometimes to closely guard an inventory of books and ensure that no book is ever without your supervision. Libraries are silent places of study – I have fond memories of my former boss standing up to announce “shumno, rebyata!” (“quiet, kids!”) when whispering commenced among university coeds. In centers of library training like America, Europe, and Malaysia/Singapore, you may have learned to give specialized research or education support. When moving into places like the post-Soviet Union, you could find most of your time spent in counting books, or back-dating and filling out checkboxes on a form. Do go for the interview – but ask carefully about the responsibilities and what percentage of your time is likely to be spent on which tasks. Again I’d emphasize that it’s worth it to go abroad, but your career trajectory and tasks may be *different* from a US-only library career track.
4. Your Job is to Provide Training
Chances are, if you’ve been hired from a ‘developed’ country to work in a ‘developing’ country, part of your job is to provide professional development to local colleagues. This may be the case even if some of them have western MLS degrees and are just as experienced as you. Sometimes the argument that ‘locals need training’ is the only way management can be persuaded to hire foreigners that would add diversity to an already strong team. Most countries (including our own) have require incoming workers to be ‘highly skilled’ and have restrictions on hiring any skilled expatriate workers who could take a job from a local; showing you have some niche training that you can share with others may be of help.
5. Contracts and Benefits May Be Flexible – or Surprisingly Inflexible
It’s common in post-Soviet workplaces to have mandatory set hours: contracts may state that you’re working five or six days per week, 9:00am-6:30pm, with an hour and a half in there for lunch. However, the reality may be that you skip your lunch and stay until 7pm, you come in on the weekend for a Saturday spent raking the lawns, or everyone takes a leisurely breakfast and tea break during work – it’s hard to tell beforehand. Sometimes vacation days or bonuses can only be taken after the first year of work. A good question to ask in a Skype interview is whether they’ve had other expat librarians work with them, and if you can contact those people; or if there have been past misunderstandings with expats and what you could do to avoid that. A question like this may give you a good clue to likely areas of tension, and allow you to sign up for your first post-MLIS job aware of the cultural differences – and ready to enjoy life abroad!
Celia Emmelhainz has worked as a school and university librarian in Kazakhstan, a post-Soviet country located between Russia and China. She has an MA in anthropology, a BA in Russian & sociology, and is finishing up her MLIS this summer. She blogs at dumplingcart.org and enjoys sharing both stories and strategies for living abroad as a librarian in Eurasia.
Monthly Archives: March 2016
3.31.16 – 5 Things to Know When Taking a Librarian Job Abroad
3.30.16 – Volunteer School Librarian
Haven of Peace Academy (HOPAC), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Sarah P’s comments: This institution advertises this position every December however they have just re-advertised so I assume they have not yet found a candidate.
The mission of Haven of Peace Academy (HOPAC) is to provide an excellent, Christ-centred, international education that meets western academic standards and equips students to live out a biblical worldview in all areas of life to the glory of God.
Haven of Peace Academy is seeking a Librarian for the 2016/2017 school year. School year: August – June with classes Monday to Friday. HOPAC follows the Cambridge curriculum.
HOPAC, founded in 1994, is an international Christian K-12 school with over 300 students from 33 different countries and a variety of religious backgrounds including Christian, Muslim and Hindu. While the majority of students come from families of missionaries and the non-profit and international business community, one third are Tanzanian.
HOPAC teachers must be committed Christian, 55 years of age or younger with Bachelor degree, at least 3 years of teaching experience and fluency in English. HOPAC expects teaching staff to be supported spiritually and financially through a mission organization or home church. The school provides volunteer staff assistance in the form of a monthly living allowance that covers a significant portion of monthly in-country expenses.
– Bachelors Degree
– Evangelical Christian
– 3+ years experience
3.29.16 – Librarian Intern
HELP Center, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Sarah P’s comments: They list this as an internship but it could also come under the category of volunteer. Nice that travel, housing and living expenses are provided. I would love to do this opp however note that both English and French (or Creole) are required. I think this will be a popular posting but you might try applying anyway (and quickly studying French) if you have the required KOHA experience because they need someone fairly quickly.
Location: HELP Center, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Department: Student Affairs
Supervisor: Deputy Country Director
Duration: Eight weeks during the summer of 2016
Overview of the Position : HELP is seeking a French or Haitian-Creole speaking Library Science student or graduate who would supervise the overall classification of the HELP library. The focus is on migrating the entire library (approximately 3000 books) from an Excel spreadsheet to a Koha Integrated Library System (ILS). The HELP Library is a major service provided to students that allows them to have the necessary materials they need for their university classes and related research. By establishing a professional ILS (Koha), HELP staff and students will be able to more efficiently use the library resources.
Summary of Responsibilities : Below are the major responsibilities and tasks, in order of priority, related to this position. Please note that this summary is not exhaustive.
A- Establish a systematic process for cataloguing all the books in the HELP library and those used by the HELP Academic Department into Koha
B- Train and supervise HELP student interns focusing on ILS data entry.
C- Provide general library management training to select HELP staff and students.
D- Provide recommendations to HELP for other library resources that would be useful for our students and staff and ideas on how those might be integrated into HELPs existing systems.
Minimum Qualifications :
– Education: Current MLS/MLIS/MSIS student or graduate..
– Work experience: Experience with data entry for Cataloging with an Integrated Library Systems (Koha experience preferred). You should be familiar with copy of records from other systems as well as creating new ones where no other accessible system has the book. Note: this library will be organized using Dewey Decimal.
– Essential skills: Ability to teach and supervise others. Strong organizational and interpersonal skills. Ability to stay focused on task with many interesting distractions in close proximity.
– Language(s): English and either French or Haitian Creole are required.
Duration: The maximum length of this assignment is 2 months (preferably June and July 2016), however for the right candidate it is possible this could be a shorter commitment. The intern can end at either the end of two month or after the key goals have been met and the staff feels able to take over.
Benefits: HELP will provide airfare to and from Haiti, housing near its office in Pacot, Port-au-Prince, and a $600/mo stipend to help cover other expenses.
3.28.16 – Librarian Supervisor NF-1410-04
Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS), Iwakuni, Japan
Sarah P’s comments: USA Citizens only. This is actually a long application window for USAJobs. If interested and eligible you need to apply ASAP because you first have to create a profile and this step can take 2-3 days to be processed and approved. Only then can you apply for the position. For more information about applying for international US Government positions please see the Chapter 7 Resources of my Traveling Librarian book.
Closes Friday 4/8/2016
Salary Range: $49,000 to $54,000 / Per Year
Series & Grade: NF-1410-04/04
Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) is looking for the best and brightest to join our Team! MCCS is a comprehensive program that supports and enhances the quality of life for Marines, their families, and others in the Marine Corps Community. We offer a team oriented environment comprised of military personnel, civilian employees, contractors and volunteers who keep the organization functioning smoothly and effectively. As a service-oriented organization, we never waver in our commitment to our Corps.
SPECIAL NOTE: This position is an overseas assignment tour of duty which may include the following benefits: Transportation Agreement, LQA/ BOQ, Post Allowance, Annual Leave, and Sick Leave, 401 K) Retirement Plan, Medical, Dental and Life Insurance.
NAF Pension Plan that is portable to other qualified government agencies. (may be eligible to buy back military service time)
International medical and dental insurance (on/off base)
Short Term Disability Insurance up to 60% of your salary.
Up to $ 10,000 a year for tuition Assistance up to graduate level.
Leave Donation Program for life’s emergencies.
Professional training and development curriculum in technology and leadership
MAJOR DUTIES: Responsible for oversight of the professional functions of the library system; children’s services, reference, and technical services. Accomplished through performance and/or supervision of the professional staff. Responsible for developing new library mission to support academic, education and professional military education of Marines. Responsible for planning and conducting base-wide library services programming for children and teens. Selects new and replacement resources for children’s collections in order to develop libraries that meet the needs of children and their parents. Maintains effective working partnerships with other children’s librarians in the area, and selecting resources for providing technical support to a librarian by performing a wide variety of tasks, which furnish direct services to the public as well as indirect technical services. Checks library materials in and out at the main circulation desk. Verifies that customers are authorized to use the facility. Registers new customers, issues library cards, and files applications. Explains library rules, regulations, circulation procedures, and entitlements to library customers. Accepts payments for lost or damaged materials and makes appropriate entries in accountability log, and prepares receipts. Takes requests for reserves and inter/intra library loans, and periodically checks to see that requests are filled. Keeps current record of overdue materials in either a manual or automated system and may contact borrowers by telephoning or by issuing overdue notices. Accurately compiles and records statistics on library usage such as book circulation, attendance, computer searches, reference questions, etc. Assists customers in locating and utilizing library departments, catalogs, directories, indexes, files, and standard reference materials. Locates items through the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) system and requests materials for library customers. Assist librarian with cataloging duties.
The incumbent acts in the absence of the Lifelong Learning Branch Manager to approve leave of all Branch employees and attend meetings on behalf of the manager. Performs a variety of general office and clerical tasks in support of library operation. Types reports, overdue notices, letters, bills, book orders, in accordance with specific instructions. Arranges and files items in subject and chronological order where file coding is readily clear. Picks up, sorts, and distributes mail accurately and within established time frames.
Plans, organizes work, and manages internal procedures and resources to ensure maximum productivity and economies. Prepares internal office financial plans and related records and reports, and exercises authority on approved budget. Monitors programs on a regular basis, and initiates corrective action to ensure support of operating programs of MCCS. Manages new property resources and may provide direction on facility renovations and improvements. Develops long range plans in conjunction with internal operating directives. Must be alert to substance abuse and take appropriate action. Effectively supports the Marine Corps Equal Employment Opportunity and Sexual Harassment policies, and ensures compliance with fire, safety, and other environmental issues and programs. Maintains and enforces security of funds, merchandise, supplies and equipment to preclude or minimize the potential for fraud, waste and abuse.
Provides World Class Customer Service with an emphasis on courtesy. Assists customers and communicates positively in a friendly manner. Takes action to solve problems quickly. Alerts the higher-level supervisor, or proper point of contact for help when problems arise. Adheres to safety regulations and standards. Promptly reports any observed workplace hazards, and any injury, occupational illness, and/or property damage resulting from workplace mishaps to the immediate supervisor. Adheres to established standards of actively supporting the principles of the EEO program and prevention of sexual harassment.
- Masters degree in Library Science (MLS) or Masters in Information and Library Science (MLIS) from an ALA accredited program.
- Professional knowledge of librarianship including the performance or supervision or administration of a major functional area.
- Must have knowledge of the print and non-print resources associated with the field of military arts and sciences.
- Must have knowledge of the provisions of the National Interlibrary Loan Code and familiarity with the Copyright Act of 1976 affecting interlibrary loans for the purpose of obtaining materials not held by the library.
- Must have a high level of computer literacy and knowledge of and skill with integrated library systems, computer operating systems and database management.
- Must be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
3.25.16 – Media/Video Archivist
Virgin Islands Public Broadcasting System, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Sarah P’s comments: An interesting and never-before seen opportunity, at least since I have been looking. However, I don’t know what the salary range would be as an MLIS is not required. Also, they do not say which nationalities can apply but here is some general information:
Americans: If you are an American citizen you do not need any new documents in terms of work visas or papers. American citizens can freely travel and work in the U.S.V.I. Social Security cards are needed, passports are a good idea, other identification papers like drivers license and a birth certificate should be carried.
Not American: If you are not an American then you will be required to secure a resident alien status, work visa, student visa and/or temporary visa – as you would have to do in order to live and work in the United States mainland. The same federal immigration regulations that exist in the US mainland are in use in the Virgin Islands.
Virgin Islands Public Broadcasting System has an opening for a Media/Video Archivist on St. Thomas. The successful candidate will be responsible for the physical media and the digital assets of the station.
Duties and Responsibilities:
* Collect, record, and maintain files, documents and photographs;
* Maintain and enhance current storage practices for physical media;
* Evaluate media/video content for preservation and retention;
* Ingest, record, and evaluate analog video content of historical importance; identify content that will provide long-term value to WTJX and transcode the content into digital format;
* Perform cataloging, retrieving, tracking and distributing of digital/ physical inventory;
*Respond to telephonic, email and written inquiries regarding media collection;
*Make duplicates of media content for sale and/or distribution among internal and external clients;
*Maintain knowledge and information on current trends and changes in the industry;
*Assist with developing and updating the online catalog of WTJX’s media collection; and
*Assist with developing long-term conservation, preservation and restoration strategies for WTJX’s media/video library.
*High school diploma or its equivalent;
* Three (3) years of experience in managing video assets and written records; or any equivalent combination of experience and training that provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the job;
* Ability to demonstrate working knowledge of cataloging, librarian technology, standardize cataloging maintenance, archival practices and procedures;
* Familiar with organized video library, conservation and preservation of media and documents;
* Ability to demonstrate working knowledge of basic operational use of video recorders, DVD duplicator/recorder and video playback servers;
* Excellent written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills; and
* Computer literate in Microsoft Office applications, desktop publishing and word processing.
*Ability to work flexible hours;
*Ability to drive with a valid VI Driver’s License;
*Ability to lift 30 pounds; and
*Ability to work with minimal supervision.
Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume and three (3) current professional letters of recommendation by April 6, 2016, to:
Diane C. Richardson, PHR, SHRM-CP
Human Resources Director
Virgin Islands Public Broadcasting System
P.O. Box 7879
St. Thomas, VI 00801
3.24.16 – Couldn’t resist sharing this one…
3.24.16 – Foreign Service Information Management Specialist
US Foreign Service, Worldwide
Sarah P’s comments: For US librarians with IT skills and/or a degree this position could be a good entrance into the foreign service. Librarians are generally hired as Information Resource Officers but there are only about 30 of those positions worldwide whereas there are IT management positions everywhere thus both the chance of being hired and the upward mobility is better. (For example, this position was posted twice last year whereas the Info Resource Officer was last posted in 2012). For more information see Chapter 6 in my book and/or the Book Resources section of the blog.
Position Title: Foreign Service Office Management Specialist – Administrative Assistant
Open Period: March 23, 2016 – April 5, 2016
Series/Grade: FP – 0318 07
Salary: $35,364 – $51,933
Promotion Potential: FP-03
Position Information: Permanent after tenure granted by a Foreign Service Specialist (FSS) Tenure Board.
Hiring Agency: U.S. Department of State
Duty Locations: MANY Vacancies throughout the World
The U.S. Department of State, our country’s lead foreign policy agency, provides a rich international experience whether at home or abroad, and opportunities to become responsible leaders.
Each day, our employees make a difference as they contribute to our global society and defend and advance our country’s interests and values. They work on the business of diplomacy and high priority issues that impact the safety, security, and prosperity of our world – human rights, environment, energy, food security, public health, and technology – all while experiencing a unique career.
Our talented workforce reflects and champions all of our strengths and diversity – personal, professional, and educational. We offer a workplace that values and rewards leadership, collaboration and innovation, and personal and professional development.
Foreign Service Information Management Specialists (IMS) are responsible for the Department’s Information Resource Management programs and information technology (IT) systems world-wide.
To find out more specifics about the qualifications required for an IMS, please click here for the IMS Career Track Quiz: http://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/specialist/career-track-quiz/ims
The Department of State is developing a rank-order list of eligible hires for a limited number of FSS vacancies based on the needs of the Department.
To learn more about the Department of State and a career as an FSS, please visit us at http://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/specialist/career-tracks
3.23.16 – Reminder about the upcoming webinar tomorrow…
Intro to IFLA 2016: International Congress Comes to Columbus- Webinar, March 24 , 3:00pm Eastern (2:00 Central, 1:00 Mountain, Noon Pacific)
Are you interested in attending an international library conference at home?
This year’s International Federation of Library Association and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress offers you the chance to interact with global library community in Columbus, OH, August 13–19.
This free webinar will provide you with an introduction to IFLA, details about the Congress, and all that wonderful opportunities that colleagues in Columbus have put in place for you and the other 3,500 delegates from 120 countries.
To Register for the free webinar, click the blue register link in Event Status at:
The webinar will be recorded if you can’t attend in person. Those who register will be sent the link to the recording automatically.
International and Chapter Relations Offices
American Library Association
50 E Huron St
Chicago, IL, USA
p +1 800-545-2433 ext 3200
f +1 312-280-4392
3.22.16 – Head of Libraries
Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research (KUSTAR), Abu Dhabi, UAE
Sarah P’s comments: There are an abundance of universities in the UAE, some good, some not so good. KUSTAR does have good reviews to date and I am including a link to an article which mentions them in their discussion of the pros and cons of working in the Middle East. The article is from 2012 but the information is still accurate and the author shares some insights which you should be aware of if you are considering working in the region.
The Middle East Option by William Roden, Inside Higher Ed, 2/8/12.
The University actively develops an international network of partners, faculty members, and research programs to advance regionally relevant research and innovation in the UAE and the region at large.
About the Department:
The Library provides information resources and services responsive to the teaching, learning, and productivity of students, faculty, and researchers. The Library’s main functions and responsibilities are:
- To provide and facilitate access to quality resources and services for excellence in innovation, research, teaching and learning;
- To provide leadership and expertise in navigating an increasingly complex and diverse information environment;
- To develop education and training programs to equip faculty and students with the skills for lifelong learning and to satisfy the information and research needs of these clients;
- To foster library staff to become innovative information specialists, skilled in providing exceptional service;
- To contribute to the development and enhancement of the University’s goals and objectives.
The position is responsible for administration of the libraries and their staffing, resources, services, and budget. About the Role:
- Plans space and equipment for effective utilization
- Plans and manages staffing to provide effective services including circulation, acquisitions, cataloging, instruction, reference, document delivery, data management
- Plans for systems implementations and effective use of technology, including LMS, digital repository, visualization and productivity software,
- Promotes development of new information and innovation through provision of productivity tools
- Prepares and administers budget
- Sets collection policies and monitors acquisitions
- Negotiates contracts for electronic resources and services
- Provides high-level instruction and research service for faculty and graduate students
- Encourages staff development to stay current with library trends
- Represents library in university and beyond
- Serves on eFADA (UAE library consortium) Board
About The Person:
- Master of Science in Library and Information Science from an ALA-accredited institution. PhD preferred. Masters in science or engineering preferred.
- Minimum five years experience as professional librarian in science/engineering academic libraries required. Experience with data management preferred.
About Other Requirements:
- Demonstrated interest in academic research and teaching environment;
- Demonstrated knowledge of resources and information-seeking skills in the sci/tech disciplines;
- Demonstrated ability to be an effective team leader and team participant
- Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing, with students, faculty, and librarian peers;
- Demonstrated positive interpersonal skills and client service orientation;
- Demonstrated ability to organize and manage projects, work under stress and meet deadlines;
- Demonstrated flexibility, skill at multi-tasking, taking initiative, being creative;
- Demonstrated potential to contribute to profession through research, publishing, teaching, or professional service.
Note: you will be required to attach the following:
2. Passport-size photograph
Closing date: 6.30.16
Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research (KUSTAR)