This article updates a 2006 article.
Midlife Crisis? Becoming complacent in your job? Looking for a busperson’s holiday? Sounds like you need to do a Library Exchange!!
Start by considering the following questions….
- Where do you want to travel?
- Do you speak a second, third or fourth language?
- Will you need housing?
- Do you need to be paid while away?
- How long do you want to be away for?
- Would you like to work in a similar library as at home?
- Do you get homesick?
…and these websites:
ALA – Joint Committee on International Exchanges – International Relations Round Table (IRRT) – International Exchanges Committee This site has a wealth of information and would be a good place to start your research. The Committee’s purpose is to promote and disseminate information about international visits and exchanges – and it does a great job. Plenty of links to job bulletin boards, foundations and funding sources.
AALL – Clearinghouse for Internships & International Personnel Exchanges – Sponsored by the Foreign, Comparative & International Law Special Interest Section The AALL clearinghouse aims to facilitate exchanges and visits with law librarians from around the world. The positions offered varied from a stint at the Los Angeles County Law Library, to a 3 month position at the University of Melbourne Law School Library. Other potential destinations included Spain, Peru, Sweden and Uganda.
LIBEX – (Bureau for International Library Staff Exchange) – based in the UK and hosted on the CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals) LIBEX is not specifically geared towards law librarians. However, don’t let that deter you. After all, this is a temporary experience to broaden your horizons.
The site is updated regularly and it has a good selection of jobs/exchanges from around the world. You need to register to see the exchange listings (FREE if you are not based in the UK). To whet your appetite read some of these exchange reports.
CILIP maintains a hosts directory which, should you be pressed for time or need a library fix mid-vacation, lists colleagues all over the world willing to put up with you for a day or two. Consider adding yourself to the list!
University of Toronto – International and Community Outreach Coordinating Group (ICO) ICO provides coordination for library exchange programs. There’s a good number of recent visit reports and documents.
Bibliothek & Information International (BI-International) This organization, based in Germany, works to promote international professional exchanges by supporting librarian exchanges between Germany and other countries. There’s a GREAT list of recent exchange reports that will definitely get you travel surfing!!!
Conveniently, these organizations act as clearinghouses for library and information staff interested in arranging job exchanges with like-minded professionals in other countries.
Their services are free. In general, these groups do not arrange the exchanges themselves – this is done directly by the applicants.
However, they will gladly answer any of your questions or put you in touch with experienced ‘exchangees’. In fact, in the midst of writing this article I became a little sidetracked with all the potential offerings! Also, I was very impressed at the speed of response to my queries.
Although not job exchanges as such, fellowship opportunities may help to sate the wanderlust and research craving in you while working in a foreign land. It is best to query your local University to see what arrangements they may have with overseas institutions. Also, the ALA website has lots of info on this.
In my research I found two that looked interesting.
The NELLCO (New England Law Library Consortium) International Fellows Program will provide opportunities for member law librarians in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong to exchange information and share knowledge, and, this is big, funding is available.
Also, the Visiting Fellowship in Law Librarianship at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the University of London is prepared to consider applications in respect of any area of law librarianship. It welcomes projects which consider legal materials from the Commonwealth and the United States. Work periods are flexible with most between 2 to 6 months.
Consider Librarians Without Borders, a non-profit organization which strives to form partnerships with community organizations in developing regions. Guatemala and Ghana were top of list destinations at time of writing. In 2012 stipend money was available – so best to check regularly!
Do you have an idea about where you want to travel but no exchange prospects (as yet)? Consider, as an interim measure, a home/apartment swap. You can try any number of the house swap sites on the web. Some enable you to search keywords by profession. Or, try a specialized site such as Sabbatical Homes. Searching on term “librarian” may turn up like-minded souls.
So start you research now. Whichever way you go about arranging an exchange/swap it is guaranteed to be an amazing experience – not the least because you have managed to explore a new country and meet new colleagues!
ALA – Joint Committee on International Exchanges
AALL – Clearinghouse for Internships & International Personnel Exchanges
LIBEX – (Bureau for International Library Staff Exchange)
University of Toronto – International and Community Outreach Coordinating Group
Bibliothek & Information International (BI-International)
NELLCO ((New England Law Library Consortium) International Fellows Program
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies – University of London
Librarians Without Borders
American Library Association. 2007. International Job Exchange: Bibliography. http://www.ala.org/irrt/irrtcommittees/irrtintlexc/internationaljob (Accessed 24 May 2013)
Aznar, D., & Jost, R. 2010. Tale of Two Law Libraries, A. AALL Spectrum. 15: 20.
Ball, K. 2003. From Canada To Australia: Arranging a Library Work Exchange. http://www.cilip.org.uk/jobscareers/libex/kball.htm
(Accessed 24 May 2013)
Crosby, Connie. February 15, 2006. The Tao of Law Librarianship: Do-It-Yourself Professional Development, Part II. LLRX.com, 15 February 2006. http://www.llrx.com/columns/tao3.htm (accessed 23 May 2013)
Jannetta, V. 1997. Trading Places: Library Placement and Exchange Schemes. The Law Librarian 28:70-2.
Kidd, T and Karen Lawson. 1994. International staff exchanges for academic libraries. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 20: 295-299.
Knock, D. 2013. Letter from the CILIP International Library and Information Group: International Librarians’ Hosts Directory. Library Juice, 24 April 2013. http://libraryjuicepress.com/blog/?p=4002 (accessed 24 May 2013)
Wilson, A. 2007. Report on a two week visit to academic libraries in and around Berlin. http://www.bi-international.de/download/file/2007_Wilson_Berlin-AcadLibraries.pdf (accessed 24 May 2013)