Q: I am blessed to have a great job in a suburban school as a SLMS. At my current placement, I have re-structured the entire program, am in charge of the budget, as well as serve 600+ students and 100+ faculty/ staff. After six years, I am strongly considering moving to Manhattan and applying for a manager position in a city library. What qualifications am I lacking as a school librarian as opposed to a manager position? What factors should I consider with this move?
SM: What incredible experience you have! It seems like you might be qualified for many different types of library management positions. I assume that by “city library” you mean public library, although you may want to also consider special or academic because your management skills are transferable and often highly sought-after. When applying for manager positions, you will need to emphasize your role as a manager in your current position (even if it isn’t in your title). After reviewing some of the job qualifications for library manager positions at NYPL (New York Public Library), the only qualification you seem to be missing (without reviewing your resume) is public library experience. Likewise, if you wanted to get an academic position, you may need to have academic librarian experience under your belt. Also, there are many independent/private schools in Manhattan that employ librarians. If living and working in Manhattan is your goal, then I recommend that you cast a wide net and see what’s out there, and what your skills and expertise qualify you for. If you have your heart set on working in public libraries, you should definitely apply for positions, and/or submit your resume for general consideration. You may also want to try to speak with public library managers (perhaps at your local public library) and get some feedback on what you can or should be doing to pump up your resume.
I wrote an article entitled “A Librarian’s Guide to Relocating to NYC” for METRO, which is an organization that you will find enormously useful as you look for jobs and get to know the city. Factors to think about when moving to, and looking for work in, Manhattan — other than the enormous variety of workplaces, are: cost of living, geography, transportation, networking, and using social media to help you connect with others. Best of luck!