Careers in Rare Books and Manuscripts: Frequently Asked Questions / Job Resources / Academic Library Experience
Academic Library Experience
I don’t have any experience working in an academic library. Can I still apply to positions in academic institutions?
If you are new to the library profession, you will find it easier to get a job in the rare book and manuscripts field if you already have experience working in a special collections library. However, it does not necessarily have to be in an "academic" library. Many special collections libraries are located within other types of institutions such as museums, historical societies, church archives, or other organizational archives.
If you are a professional librarian looking to change fields, look for ways to translate your skills from your existing job into a special collections job. A public librarian with experience in reference, for example, could have many good qualifications for a reference job in a rare book and manuscript library. You will still find it helpful, though, to have experience specific to the special collections field. To be a more competitive candidate, consider attending continuing education programs and volunteering or interning in a special collections library.