Nothing Happens Unless First a Dream: Demystifying the Academic Library Job Search and Acing the Application Process

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elizabeth Skene Harper, Special and Digital Collections Librarian (Creator)
Whitney Jordan, Acquisitions Librarian (Creator)
Scottie Kapel, Scholarly Communication Librarian (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:

Abstract: Academic library positions can be highly desirable for both new librarians and experienced librarians interested in transitioning into a different setting. Yet for both novice and experienced librarians alike, landing an interview for an academic librarian position can feel intimidating and overwhelming. Applicants may have difficulty understanding tenure track requirements, no academic library experience, no coursework in relevant areas, and may be competing with a large pool of qualified candidates. When academic job openings ask for years of academic library experience and library school specializations suggest that the path you pick is the path you keep until retirement, it begins to feel as though finding a position in an academic library is an insurmountable endeavor. As three librarians who have successfully made the move into an academic setting, we can attest that although the way may be unclear, this goal is not impossible to achieve. This paper will explain some of the facets unique to the academic setting with which applicants might not be familiar, how to tailor application materials to an academic position and why this is crucial for success, and how to acclimate to new responsibilities and expectations.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
academic libraries, tenure, job search

Email this document to