A Guide To Library & Information Science Jobs Abroad
If you are one of those people who has fallen so in love with books that you’ve went through the hoops of earning a degree in library information science, and now are searching for a job abroad, then you have come to the right place! You may or may not know, but librarian jobs can be found at every corner of the world (in places you wouldn’t even imagine!). With a variety of opportunities, such as library service manager, supervisory librarian, business librarian for business colleges, or even head librarian, there’s never been a better time to find library information science jobs abroad!
Now that we’ve broadened the list of opportunities, let’s check out some popular locations that might spark your interest. If you’re worried about strong cultural differences, do a quick research on the subject and pick a country whose culture attracts you more. Any English-speaking country is always a great choice, like the United Kingdom or Australia, but what about the countries whose first language isn’t English? Oh, don’t scratch them off the list yet!
China offers quite a wide range of librarian job opportunities in cities like Beijing or Shanghai, as an elementary or high school librarian at local schools—or why not head librarian at a private international school? And although most jobs don’t require it, some basic Chinese language skills will definitely set you apart from the crowd.
Italy. A modern flourishing country, with beautiful historical architecture, breathtaking art and fashion, Italy houses the most English-language libraries in cities like Rome and Florence. The Harold Acton Library in Florence is actually the largest English-language library in continental Europe, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy the weekly meetups on Wednesdays; we hear they are a lot of fun!
Germany. The number of international schools in Germany has increased in the past couple of years (thus increasing the demand for English-speaking librarians) in cities like Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich, or Rammstein. If you’re a person passionate about world history, this is the perfect destination for your curious mind, with free access to rare historical editions. Also, check out the Department of Defense schools around army bases, where community libraries are always hiring.
You may be wondering, why go abroad when you can find a similar job right here at home? Well, sure, you can get a job right where you are, but where’s the challenge and excitement in that? So, let’s check out some benefits a librarian information science job abroad can bring.
Different workplace culture. Working abroad means having the unique experience of discovering different cultures, and not just in terms of food or clothes and language, but behavior, body language and workplace culture. You will quickly learn how to adapt to a different culture and a different work environment. Hey, maybe not all libraries in the world have the silence rule. You won’t know unless you see it yourself.
Different responsibilities. Your job responsibilities will differ depending on the library you work in, as well as your tools and skills. Some libraries put an emphasis on keeping a close eye on the inventory, ensuring that no book goes missing; others are strict about the organizational look of the library; and for others, the library is a silent place to study for students, your job being to ensure a quiet environment . There are also libraries in Europe, America, or Asia that specialize in research or educational support. Whatever path you may choose, you will constantly be learning and improving.
Enjoy a different day on the job and get out of your daily routine. When you work abroad you will become an early riser, because you won’t want to miss all that the country you’re in has to offer. Even though you’ll have a busy schedule with helping people get access to information and gain knowledge, from old historical records to new science research, you’ll still find some time to learn a language and make new friends.
There will be times when you will feel overwhelmed, and that’s alright—it’s normal! But you will get used to the new work culture so fast that you won’t even realize that you’ve embraced it (and probably love it, too). And you’ve just gained a deeper understanding of the culture, country and its people.
Network! Don’t forget that there are real people outside those books, so if your library has events, get involved and get social. You might get a good reference and be one step away from a position at the British Library. Whoop-whoop!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you really can’t solve it by yourself or don’t understand something, just ask a colleague, or even have them show you, and take notes.
If you ever thought being a librarian was boring, you better think again. With great job opportunities all over the world, a career in library information science is challenging, stimulating and rewarding. Share your passion for books with people all over the world, and most importantly, discover the truth behind each culture right from the core of the country. For where there are books, there is knowledge, and knowledge is power.
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