The time has come for me to say goodbye to both you and this blog, at least for now. As many of you know this has been a completely volunteer effort with the goal being to encourage librarians from everywhere to travel and work beyond their borders. I spent fourteen years of my life doing just that and it enriched and expanded me both personally and professionally. While I still completely believe in this mission, it is time for me to focus on other goals in my life, although I am not yet clear exactly what will be next…
This blog will continue to be hosted and available as searching the archives can be useful when researching potential positions. I will also continue to update my book: How to Become a Traveling Librarian as well as the Book Resources page.
I wish everyone, as always, safe travels.
Kind regards, Sarah P.
Category Archives: Comments
Note: I have been traveling and working more this year (so far) but this is not the reason I have been posting less. It has simply been because there are fewer jobs to post. The world economy, along with oil, has been depressed the last few years. However, don’t lose heart as this business is cyclical and overall, in the twenty plus years I have been watching this market, the number of international librarian jobs overall has grown significantly.
What can you do? Wait it out, decide to volunteer in order to gain some experience (short-term or long), go and get your school media certification or archivist credential, work for a NGO, arrange for an exchange…these are some examples and more choices are listed in my book. Gaining international experience takes dedication, planning, and yes, some luck. Any expat will tell you, it’s a strange combination of events that usually lands you the position.
On a positive note, I just received an e-mail from someone saying that they located a job via this blog…a circumstance which helps make the effort worthwhile.
Safe travels, Sarah P.
Dear Readers: I have received an information request from someone who is considering working for the Qatar National Library. I have, in the past, corresponded with a few folks with experience there. If you are willing to privately share information and advice, please comment on the blog and/or contact me confidentially.
Thanks, Sarah P.
3.19.16 – Does anyone have any information or know anyone at The British School in Kiev (BISU)?
There is a librarian position open at this school but the general (ISR) reviews are not good. If you, or anyone you know has any knowledge of this school, comments would be greatly appreciated. You may publicly comment or privately send me an e-mail. Part of the reason for this blog is to help us all make positive career choices and help each other out!
Thank you, Sarah P.
10/10/14 – Librarian
Royal Thimphu College, Bhutan
Whenever possible I check my network to see what folks know. Some feedback I just received is that the salary is still low and housing is substandard. Also, like in many places, local things are cheap but ‘foreign’ items are expensive. This doesn’t mean don’t apply…just make sure to ask questions if you are interviewed.
10/8/14 – I have received some e-mails from folks who are concerned about ageism, particularly regarding school library work. So I thought it might help to post my experience and opinion on this issue.
Ageism can be a concern but I personally know several people currently teaching overseas who are over 60: a colleague who had to leave Dubai last year because she is 65 is now in Senegal, a couple who is 64 and 62 are in Singapore, and another friend who didn’t think she was going overseas again was hired late and just left for Cameroon.
What is comes down to, in my opinion, is what the employer needs, how flexible you are in regards to location, and your health.
Employer needs – how essential is your position? Librarians have traditionally been hard to find which has always been good for me! Is the school facing an impending accreditation? This is the time they will usually pay for a good and experienced librarian, if you have accreditation experience all the better.
Flexiblity – some schools do have age restrictions because of visa rules for their country. Kazakhstan is 60 and UAE 62 for example. I personally do not know of any country that restricts below 60 and it is usually fine if you apply at 59. I know of several situations where the visa was extended beyond the age limit but this only happens in cases where the institution can prove a need and it costs time and money so you must be worth it. Anyway, the point is you will need to think a bit wider geographically if you are approaching 60.
Health – this is a huge cost and concern. If you act and look healthy and can prove it by passing the physical for the visa then this should not be an issue. Make sure you have a great-looking photo and/or video. If you have minor health concerns that is OK, much depends on location. Health was a big discussion when we were in the Marshall Islands, much less so when we were in Abu Dhabi because of the facilities available in the country.
Here is an excerpt from my book where I discuss opportunities based on where you are in your career:
Ageism is a reality in international work and some countries, particularly those in the Middle East, will not generally issue visas to anyone over 60. However, as I approach the latter half of my career and am naturally focusing on this issue, I am happy to report that there are still opportunities for librarians who have waited a lifetime to have the freedom to explore the world.
Some examples include school libraries (I know a librarian who is over 60 and thus having to leave Dubai who has just signed a contract with a school in Senegal. She is happy to try a new place and they are happy to have her experience.) Other opportunities include Semester at Sea for those with academic experience, and finally the Peace Corps who does not have an upper age limit.
You can also join IREX’s list of traveling ‘experts’ and check out the Fulbright Specialist program. For a fee, you can travel as an ambassador with People to People (they are currently offering a trip for librarians to India) or do a volunteer vacation. (See Book Resources for links).
And, finally here is a thread from the International Schools Review blog:
Ageism in International Schools: