More on Switching between Academic and Public Libraries

I want to be clear about something. I am interested in switching from academic to public libraries NOT because I am angry with or unsuited for academic librarianship. Just the opposite, in fact. I am well suited for that field. I am interested in making the switch because those same skills and dispositions that make me an excellent academic librarian ALSO make me an excellent public librarian.

It’s not one or the other, it’s BOTH.

Furthermore, it makes no sense to me that I should have to pick one track in librarianship. Together, public and academic librarianship make up approximately 80% of all library jobs. Why would I ever want to remove myself from half of those positions, intentionally? That makes no sense.

As I’ve been attempting to switch from academic to public libraries I looked for literature to help make the transition easier. What I’ve found has generally not been encouraging for someone going my direction. This is most notably represented by Annoyed Librarian‘s 2010 post Public to Academic, But Never the Other Way Around.

There are a very few more positive and helpful articles, however

That’s really about all I can find about moving from academic to public libraries that doesn’t concern “leadership” in terms of library directorships.

What advice might you have?

2 thoughts on “More on Switching between Academic and Public Libraries

    1. I was never able to make the change. There always seems to be this weird sticking point around programming. Not being an outreach librarian I’ve never had the opportunity to learn that sort of thing and the public libraries’ attitude seems to be that it’s impossible to learn on the job. When I wrote this post I was living in a city with a closed system. Jobs were mostly given to those in the “cool girls club” (my term). Being neither cool or a girl it was difficult for me to break in.


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