If you’re looking outward to the rest of the world for library opportunities, I’d first encourage you to go for it! There are growing opportunities to work abroad as a librarian these days. We are living in a Global Village. You must do your best and prepare well to get an overseas job in this competitive world. In this article, my scope is limited to only school libraries, but you can apply the same criteria and conditions to other libraries.
With my experience working overseas for nearly 18 years in different School libraries, I can guide budding librarians or aspirants to get a job Overseas by following the guidelines below. Most International Schools are privately owned institutions and cater to the needs of the children of Diplomats, Business people, Embassy officials, Teachers, and other expatriates.
Students are multilingual, have lived in multiple countries, and usually plan to attend university in a western country after graduation. Librarians who work at these international schools come from different nationalities and must have relevant professional certifications from their home countries. Most faculty members have two-year contracts, which may be renewed if the employers are satisfied with their performance.
Conditions to get a job in Overseas Schools:
1. Good resume and covering letter:
You should have an impressive resume, including your passport details, educational/teaching objective, educational details, experience, workshops attended, professional bodies you are associated with, and references.
Depending on the school requirements, it will help if you customize your cover letters.
2. Education qualifications:
It would be best if you had a Master’s Degree in Library & Information Science from a recognized university. If you apply for a Teacher Librarian position, they may expect you to have a teaching qualification.
3. Experience in International Curriculum:
International schools have adopted either an international curriculum (such as the International Baccalaureate Programme) or the national curriculum of another country (for example, the Ontario Provincial Curriculum). For example, If you are applying to an International Baccalaureate (IB) Curriculum School, they expect you to have a minimum of two years of experience in that curriculum. Some schools follow Cambridge International Education Curriculum (CIE).
4. Professional Development:
It’s advantageous if you do some professional development courses in the curriculum you will apply. Membership in International Association You can have membership in International Library Association bodies like AASL, IASL or IFLA.
5. Language & Communication:
They see how proficient you are in speaking English. It’s an added advantage if you know the local language of that country. Do you know if people are comfortable communicating in English or their national languages of the country only? You may be surprised that many cosmopolitan cities today still hold tightly to their mother tongue languages. Cities with mother language emphasis are Shanghai (Chinese), Tokyo (Japanese), Mexico City (Spanish), Paris (French), and more.
How to apply?
1. Through International network bodies/ recruiting agencies
2. Through agents in that country
3. Through Indian librarians working in that country
4. Through job fairs
5. Directly through schools
How do you prepare for your relocation?
1. Transcripts from your university of study.
2. Original degree certificates.
3. Passport valid for six months,
4. No criminal record certificate
5. Birth certificate
6. Service certificate from your present employer
How do you prepare for your interview?
The interview phase is a crucial part of the recruitment process. Usually, your recruiters first conduct the interview either through Skype or Zoom. It would help if you learned the techniques to face the interviews. What kind of package can you expect?
You can generally expect the following:
1. Housing allowance or provide housing on their Campus
2. Competitive salary
3. Round-trip airfare to the employee
4. Free or discount tuition fees for their children
5. Sponsor employees to do professional development courses or Workshops
6. Plenty of Holidays. Usually, it is five days of work, Monday – Friday. Holidays during Christmas, Spring, and Summer.
7. Medical insurance
8. Performance bonus/ gratuity
Work environment and expectations from the Librarians:
Most international school libraries are purpose-built, centrally located and well resourced with good internet connectivity. Students from 6th-12th grades have Mac laptops, and all the staff are provided with laptops for teaching purposes.
Librarians are expected to take library lessons, arrange book week, and Collaborate with teachers to integrate information literacy into the curriculum. Take library orientation for teachers and students to explain how to use the library, manage library assistants, coordinate parent volunteers, organize extracurricular activities like book clubs, and maintain the collection and databases. Overall management and administration of the library.
Challenges you might face.
1. Working with other nationality staff and students
2. Food issues
3. Culture issues
4. Language issue
5. Climatic issue
6. Technical issues
It will be a new experience working in a foreign country. You’ll be richly rewarded for your work. We have one life, and we need to explore it. During holidays and weekends, you get an excellent opportunity to go to the travel spots in that country and enjoy your life with your family and colleagues.
, Head Librarian, Nord Anglia School, Guangzhou, Panyu, China.