Monday, May 19, 2008

Cover letters, the current one

Here's the cover letter I wrote for the job I currently have. As you can tell, it, along with my resume, netted me an interview where I nailed the job.

Dear Ms. ___________,

I am writing to apply for the position of Consultant with Southeatern Library Services. (Friend who knows my boss) referred this position to me. Currently, I am a Reference Librarian with the Westchester (IL) Public Library and a part-time Reference Librarian with the Tinley Park Public Library.

My experiences with these public libraries, along with working at the University of Illinois, have exposed me to issues affecting large and small libraries and public and academic institutions. I believe that librarianship is a field of constant learning. I have enjoyed continuing education opportunities with both the Metropolitan Library System, of which Westchester and Tinley Park Public Libraries are members, and the North Suburban Library System in Illinois. The ability to adapt is what will keep us relevant with the constant technological advances of our society. Having a strong support system, especially when working in a small library, is crucial.

I think that my familiarity with the Metropolitan Library System, along with the North Suburban Library System, gives me insights on what a strong library system can offer its member libraries. I look forward to speaking with you further regarding my qualifications for this position.

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Library cover letters, part deux

This is the cover letter I wrote for the job that I interviewed for the day before I interviewed for the job I currently have.

Dear Ms. __________,

I am writing to express my interest for consideration for the Librarian I – Adult Services position (#position) open at the __________ Branch of the __________ Public Library. I am currently a Reference Librarian with the Westchester (IL) Public Library, as well as a part-time Reference Librarian with the Tinley Park Public Library. I received my Masters of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In my position with the Westchester Public Library, I am able to participate in a wide variety of duties. I have gained experience in reference services, reader’s advisory, collection management of non-fiction, fiction, and audio-visual materials for adults, management of interlibrary loan functions, instruction of computer skills, and development of promotional material. I have also assisted with programming for adults and youth, grant management, and the assessment of the library’s strategic plan.

Due to the size of the Westchester Public Library, it is necessary for the departments to work in a highly collaborative environment. I have enjoyed the benefits of close working conditions both within my department and with other departments.

I have been interested in moving to (State of employment) for a number of years. When researching public library systems, I have encountered positive reviews of the ____________ Public Library from librarians in other systems and was pleased to note the position opening.

I look forward to speaking with you further on how my abilities and experiences can assist the Library’s Big Audacious Goal “to be the premier library system, recognized for delivering innovative services.”

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Cover Letter meme

It's not quite as good as having a whole database of Libraryland cover letters, but there are a few of us who are posting various cover letters we've written over the years. Check out Rikhei and Colleen for other examples. This is the earliest cover letter I could find when I was first hunting for a job in grad school. I know I had a couple more before this one, but they seem to be missing from my computer.

Overall, I don't think this was a bad cover letter, but it was written in early 2003 when the job market was especially tight due to a number of libraries downsizing at the time due to cuts in funding after the dot-com bust compounded by 9/11. At the time, from what I understand from people who were hiring at the time, it wasn't unlikely to have applicants numbering in the 3 figures for a position which the year before wouldn't have garnered more than 50.

Dear Ms. _____:

I am applying for the position of Reference Librarian – Science in the __(a university)___ Library. I will be graduating from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May. I am currently employed as a Graduate Assistant at the Veterinary Medicine Library and the Graduate School’s Instructional Technology Office.

I have long been interested in the sciences as I received my undergraduate degree in Anthropology, specializing in forensics, and minoring in Geology. I am currently taking the Science Reference course offered by the school, and taught by Linda C. Smith.

My work at the Veterinary Medicine Library has exposed me to various science-related databases, such as PubMed, CAB Abstracts, and BIOSIS. I have also staffed the reference desk for an average of 15 hours per week where I responsible for research assistance to students and faculty, library instruction for using the physical assets of the library and library web-based resources, and maintaining the library’s website. The Veterinary Medicine Library is a small 1.5 FTE Librarian staffed departmental library serving a specialized clientele. All employees are expected to assist where the need is, and I have been responsible at times throughout my tenure for circulation, processing of reserve material and serials, development of library policy, scheduling of staff resources, assisting with class instruction of new students on library resources, and assisting with student employee supervision. I have greatly enjoyed the large amount of time spent with users that this position has offered me.

The Instructional Technology Office position has afforded me the opportunity to work with users in a computer help desk environment. I have been responsible for technical support of distance education students in the LEEP program through real-time chat and bulletin board technologies and via telephone. I have developed a netiquette guide specific to the LEEP environment, and am currently developing a workshop on web page design with another graduate assistant to be delivered via audio and real-time chat. I have also taught workshops to students on Fireworks and web page design in a traditional classroom environment.

In my classes and assistantship, I have been exposed to collection development issues, and I look forward to learning more through reading current literature and speaking with other professionals.

I look forward to speaking with you further about how my experiences in reference and information technology in an educational environment can assist in the _________ Library’s mission of supporting the current and future instructional and research needs of the _________ University extended community.

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