Job: Reference and Subject Librarian

2.24.17 –  Reference and Subject Librarian
Nazarbayev University Library, Astana, Kazakhstan

Sarah P’s comments:  As I commented in an earlier post NU is a fairly new university and I first saw an advert posted for librarians in 2011.  From what I hear the pay is low as compared to what faculty receive but it is an opportunity to gain international work experience helping to develop an academic library. For more information and to see the history of their listed positions please search by ‘Nazabayev’ on this blog.

NU has now been around long enough to garner some reviews which I would definitely read before deciding to apply:
Academic Job in Kazakhstan?
Glassdoor Reviews
Pol Sci Rumors  (some comments are culturally insensitive)

FYI: This is a line which I have not previously seen: Qualified candidates from Southeast Asia, and also from South Korea and Japan are highly encouraged to apply.

Nazarbayev University Library (NUL) invites applications for the position of Reference and Subject Librarian. NUL, as one of most progressive and dynamic libraries in Kazakhstan, is looking for energetic, creative, and service-oriented librarian to join our team.

The Library is part of Nazarbayev University — a vibrant, research-driven institution that offers undergraduate and post graduate degree programs in the field of Science and Technology, Engineering, Business, Public Policy, Social Sciences and Humanities, Medicine, and more. Apply now for a chance to have a memorably unique experience living and working in Astana, the exciting young capital of Kazakhstan.

Key Responsibilities:

As Reference Librarian

  •  Conduct reference interview to provide targeted research advice and resources
  •  Assist and instruct patrons to locate and use library print materials and e-resources
  •  Design training materials, develop and deliver seminars on database use, information literacy, and research
  •  Organize events and exhibits to promote reference services
  •  Develop and integrate new methods in reference service using Western technology and international library experience
  •  Manage the reference desk in accordance with library schedules (note that evening and weekend hours are included)
  •  Manage “Ask-a-Librarian” service, coordinating requests received and monitoring frequently asked questions
  •  Develop guidelines, rules, and instructions on the basic directions of activity
  •  Participate in evaluation of reference services effectiveness

As Subject Librarian

  • Collaborate with faculty members
  • Provide subject expertise for patrons in area of specialization (e.g. Chemistry, Education, Engineering)
  • Participate in collection development of print and electronic materials
  • Conduct research on patron needs and analyze effectiveness of subject-specific reference collection

Other responsibilities:

  •   Assist in other library work areas or committees as needed
  •   Participate in activities aimed at promoting library resources and user awareness
  •   Create and initiate projects in specialized areas of librarianship for further development of the library
  •   Provide mentoring for local staff
  •   Design and present workshops to share best practices to Kazakhstani librarians

Minimum Educational Requirements: Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from a University in the United States, Canada, Europe, or Southeast Asia. Applicants from a variety of academic backgrounds are welcome; however, applicants with a degree in Education, Business, Sciences, or Social Sciences, will be given preference.

Professional experience: At least two (2) years of relevant experience in  academic library and instructional support; and at least two (2) publications in Library and Information Studies. Experience in working, studying, or teaching abroad is an advantage.

Required professional knowledge and personal qualities:

  • Expertise in using databases, electronic, and print resources
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Effective instructional skills
  • Strong planning, organization, and analytical skills
  • Teaching or supervisory experience
  • Good interpersonal skills and ability to work with a team or independently

Language Proficiency: High level of proficiency in English language is required. Knowledge of Kazakh, Russian, or other major languages is an advantage.

Computer skills:

  • Advanced computer user in Windows, MS Office, and the internet
  • Experience using integrated library systems and library catalogs
  • Knowledge of electronic databases and advanced search techniques

Application Deadline: Open until filled

Please send your resume written in English with cover letter providing contact information and three references to NU Library Coordinator, Reysa Alenzuela at

Qualified candidates from Southeast Asia, and also from South Korea and Japan are highly encouraged to apply.  The NUL is committed to recruiting a diverse workforce. Only candidates who are shortlisted for interview will be contacted. Please share with interested and qualified colleagues and appropriate lists.


1 thought on “Job: Reference and Subject Librarian

  1. They’ve had high turnover among American and Canadian librarians, because the salaries aren’t that attractive ($2000-3000/month) for folks from high-earning academic librarian countries. I believe part of the pivot to attracting SE Asian librarians in 2017-2018 was the belief that you could get a similar caliber of librarian, with excellent English and an international worldview, for a lower cost–and that they might be more stable once they arrive.


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