Federal Librarian Winter 2009

Careers in Federal Libraries Conference Pre-Session

by Michelle Chronister

The average annual salary for all librarians in the Federal Government in non-supervisory, supervisory, and managerial positions was $80,873 in 2007.

Armed with this knowledge and the desire to learn more about an exciting career with the opportunity to serve citizens in meaningful ways, approximately 125 participants attended the “Careers in Federal Libraries” pre-conference session at Annual in Anaheim. The interactive day of events was sponsored by the Federal and Armed Forces Libraries Round Table (FAFLRT), Federal Library and Information Center Committee (FLICC), Louisiana State University School of Library and Information Science, Library Associates Inc., New Member Round Table, and the ALA Placement Office.

Roberta I. Shaffer, Executive Director of FLICC, welcomed participants and introduced Helen Sherman, Director, User Services for the Defense Technical Information Center, who presented a talk on the “Road to Federal Librarianship.” Sherman provided a detailed overview of the federal job application process from an employers’ perspective. She also offered valuable tips for job seekers on how to read and decipher job descriptions, as well as effectively work through the process. Sherman also reviewed and explained salary tables for government positions.

After the general overview of federal jobs, librarians from a wide range of government agencies sat on a panel discussion where participants asked questions about specific topics of interest. Panelists included Doria Grimes, librarian at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Central Library; Sandra Jensen, Public Librarian at the Camp Pendleton libraries; Steven Kerchoff, Foreign Service Information Resource Officer, U.S. Department of State; Greta Marlatt, Academic Librarian at the Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library; Deborah Schwarz, CEO of Library Associates, Inc.; Carla Southers, School Librarian at the Department of Defense Education Activity; and Bill Tuceling, Reference Librarian, Government Accountability Office.

The panel was followed by a short talk from Margie J. Thomas of the LSU School of Library and Information Science about the value of obtaining internships, practicums, and field experiences when looking toward federal positions. Library Associates then provided lunch and participants networked with each other as well as the panelists and other speakers. The day concluded with Vicki Burger facilitating a workshop on interviewing strategies sponsored by the ALA Placement Office.

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