Linworth Libraries Unlimited

Taking Your MLIS Abroad

Getting and Succeeding in an International Library Job

by Lara Seven Phillips and Katherine G. Holvoet


If you'd like to work outside the United States but have many unanswered questions or are unsure even where to start, this guide to international library jobs is a must-read.

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Cover image for Taking Your MLIS Abroad

November 2016

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 250
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Librarianship: Philosophy, Values, and Issues/LIS Profession
  Librarianship: Philosophy, Values, and Issues/International and Comparative Librarianship

This book explains how and why to get an international library job, what to expect when you arrive in your host country, and how to overcome challenges in your new home.

For those who possess an ALA-accredited degree, there are opportunities to work in library settings around the world—and many of these attractive career options do not require non-English language skills or an EEC/Commonwealth citizenship. This guide to library work in countries outside the United States and Canada explains the benefits of taking on a library position in an international setting, how to find such a job, what to expect in working in a library outside of North America, and what strategies to employ to be successful and happy living and working in your host country.

This guide answers all the questions that a librarian considering a position abroad would have, and it also covers subjects and concerns that might not be as obvious. Based on the direct experiences of the authors as well as anecdotal accounts from other librarians who have worked around the world, the book informs readers about common cultural differences with the application and interview process; explains how workplaces and working assumptions can be different from American expectations; profiles the different procedures, collection scope, curricular support, and intellectual freedom policies of libraries outside the United States and Canada; and describes the unique experience of moving to another country and living as an expat.


  • Supplies potential expat librarians invaluable information about what to expect from libraries abroad, identifying differences, constraints, and obstacles as compared to U.S. norms
  • Describes the realities of moving and working abroad, thereby enabling readers to accurately assess if a foreign job would be a good fit
  • Guides librarians taking a job outside the United States and Canada through the intricacies of moving abroad, thriving in their new job, and building networks (professional and social)
  • Provides practical information suited to librarians with experience in academic, school, or special libraries as well as newly graduated librarians
Author Info

Lara Seven Phillips has more than two decades' experience in library work. Most recently, she was special collections librarian at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. Phillips has also been a reference librarian in public libraries in Tacoma, WA, and Worthington, OH; an adult services librarian at the NLS library in Seattle; and an academic librarian in the pre-Google days of CD-ROM database workstations.

Katherine G. Holvoet is associate professor and the electronic resources librarian (former learning commons supervisor) at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. She has held several academic library positions during the course of her career, including state and local documents librarian at Florida International University and international documents librarian/head of government documents/head of online services at the University of Utah.

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