четверг, 17 июля 2008 г.

Zapiski of Russian Librarian expatriate

I would like to share some general observations of being expatriate librarian in America.
Many Russian librarians and library technicians are applying for and some are gaining positions in U.S. Based on my experience and conversations with my friends it is not an easy process. I will not compare this ordeal with obstacles that Russian doctors have to face when they immigrate to U.S. and want to continue their careers, but the road is much longer compare to IT specialists.
Most employers will ask for ALA-accredited MLS degree. ALA policy stated: "The master's degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association (or from a master's level program in library and information studies accredited or recognized by the appropriate national body of another country) is the appropriate professional degree for librarians." So some hiring managers post adds that said :"ALA accredited degree or its foreign equivalent". However, most of them, especially when job market is tough or there is surplus of librarians, set limits to schools that have received ALA accreditation. There is no exam or a special programs that you are able to take in order to certify your diploma. If you have graduated from University of Culture and Arts with Diploma in Library Science, most of certification agencies will evaluate your education in Russia is equivalent to the U.S. degree of Bachelor of Science. See this useful ALA site:
Foreign Credentials/Degrees Evaluation Assistance for Job Seekers in the U.S.People who want to be more marketable need to go back to school and earn MLS degree. There are no schools in U.S. which will transfer the credits that you earned in foreign college, rarely you will receive credits for work experience, so be prepared for 34-42 credit hours, two years of schooling. I know somebody who had PhD.D in Library Science from Moscow University of Culture and still went to local library school to earn "ALA-accredited" MLS.

In my next postings I'll try to outline the challenges and rewards of applying skills gained in Russian library schools to the tough world of foreign employment. Topics like bringing your skills to a new environment, management styles, the challenge of librarianship when English is your second language, the culturally sensitive librarian, learning the rules and the expatriate lifestyle.

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