Dear Readers,

The time has come for me to say goodbye to both you and this blog, at least for now.  As many of you know this has been a completely volunteer effort with the goal being to encourage librarians from everywhere to travel and work beyond their borders.  I spent fourteen years of my life doing just that and it enriched and expanded me both personally and professionally. While I still completely believe in this mission, it is time for me to focus on other goals in my life, although I am not yet clear exactly what will be next…

This blog will continue to be hosted and available as searching the archives can be useful when researching potential positions. I will also continue to update my book: How to Become a Traveling Librarian as well as the Book Resources page.

I wish everyone, as always, safe travels.

Kind regards, Sarah P.


Spotlight: Recruiting Agency CIS

11.16.16 – Council of International Schools (CIS)
The Netherlands & New York, USA

The international school recruiting season is in full swing with more positions being posted almost daily on either The International Educator (TIE) or TesJobs.  TIE is American-based but offers a wide range of international school jobs while TesJobs is British-based and tends to represent schools who offer either the British National Curriculum and/or IB.

In my book, I discuss the pros and cons as well as the cost of the various agencies, however here is a short blurb and the link to CIS (Council of International Schools), one of the better known and established agencies who recruit staff for international schools including librarians. Also included are some answers to questions about the agency from Tanja Janjic, one of their Career & Recruitment Services Administrators

CIS was formed in 2003 as a spin-off from ECIS (European Council of Schools) and handles both the accreditation of schools and the Teacher Placement service. It is a world-wide organization however due to its origin is still heavily European and British-based and is the service the majority of teachers from these regions recruit through. CIS holds one recruitment fair in January in London where they claim that 50% of the interviews for open positions take place. The remainder are recruited via online interviews or independent in-person meetings. The fee for registration and membership, lasting three years is €180.


  1. Why choose CIS rather than another recruitment agency?

CIS Career & Recruitment Services can connect candidates with more than 700 high-quality, reputable member schools located throughout the world that are expressly committed to continuous improvement and preparing students to become active global citizens. We support our candidates in their career development and finding the position that will benefit both candidates and the school, resulting in a successful international experience. Being a CIS-Approved candidate is an indication of quality that our member schools recognise and value. The application process is thorough, ensuring that we represent candidates and their skills in the most competitive and effective way. We are committed to supporting our candidates throughout their career in international education through our events, resources and other professional development opportunities.

  1. CIS traditionally focused on European Schools, how worldwide is the focus and coverage now?

CIS has a truly global network, currently including 706 member schools in 112 countries and all Member Schools are accredited. (530 schools are outside of Europe.)

  1. Are librarians from countries other than US/UK/Canada/Europe able to obtain positions (if they have the credentials)?

As long as they meet the CIS criteria, candidates from any country are welcomed to apply. In the last couple of years, we had 97 librarian vacancies available in CIS member schools in 32 countries. CIS-Approved Educators come from different cultural backgrounds and nationalities.

  1. Is it still worth the expense of attending a hiring fair?

The CIS Career & Recruitment Fair does more than bring together leaders from more than 100 Member Schools in one venue to facilitate the job interview process. Past attendees have stated that in addition to finding positions, the CIS Educator Recruitment Fair helped them gain confidence, learn interview techniques and how to present to schools, learn about the diverse range of opportunities to teach internationally, build a network with other educators and advance their careers. We have a variety of workshops for candidates in different stages of their careers.

Spotlight: Meet International Librarian Joan Petit

6.18.16 –  Here is news about one of the panelists participating in the upcoming Leaning Internatonal IRRT Program which is part of ALA 2016 . We are creating a list so we can all learn a little about each other and to help connect before, during, and after the program. However this information is for all librarians everywhere so feel free to connect via the blog or write me an e-mail.

Petit2016Joan Petit is the Communications and Outreach Librarian at Portland State University in Oregon. She coordinates communications for the library and serves as the liaison to Black Studies. Before joining Portland State, she lived in Egypt for two years and worked as Instruction and Reference Librarian at the American University in Cairo, from 2007-2009 (before the Egyptian Revolution). She wrote about her family’s experience in Cairo for the Oregon Library Association Quarterly.
In the upcoming academic year, Joan will be on sabbatical from Portland State (a great privilege after earning tenure last year!). In September, Joan, her family, and their dog will travel to Ethiopia, where she’ll be serving as a Fulbright Scholar in the Information Science department at Jimma University for ten months.
Joan holds MSLS and BA degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as an MA in English from Western Carolina University. And she really can’t believe her good luck and fortune.

Spotlight: Meet International Librarian Brenda Hahn

6.21.16 – Here is news about one of the attendees of the upcoming Leaning International IRRT Program which is part of ALA 2016 . We are creating a list so we can all learn a little about each other and to help connect before, during, and after the program. However this information is for all librarians everywhere so feel free to connect via the blog or write me an e-mail.

Brenda Hahn PhotoBrenda M. Hahn, MLS

Why the IRRT? My work history includes two years working in a library at an IB school in the Middle East. Working with classroom teachers and students, with a global curriculum, inspired me to model this higher-level 21st century life-long learning skill set, and I have never looked back. This experience brought home to me the value of creating a global perspective at the center of academic and enrichment-based life-long learning—no matter what library I am in.

Over the past 13 years, I have worked in schools and public libraries, with a range of patron demographics. My school experiences include IB and Title I programs; and I have implemented grades K-12 curricula. I have been a Family & Youth Librarian in a public library, implementing enrichment-based programming. Over time, I combined the best of my academic and enrichment library work into a transferable skill set that allows me to move between school and public libraries.

In the last year, I took time to complete my graduate degree, splitting my MLS program between school and public libraries. My undergraduate degree in Business has been put to excellent use, as I have opened three libraries (two elementary and one high school), including managing substantial budgets, researching vendors and technology, and holistic planning. I have revamped several library spaces as well. I opened my first library while completing my undergrad—this happened because I had an amazing library mentor and a perceptive administrator, who both saw my skill sets, knew my work ethic, and who trusted me to get the job done.

Exploring global learning in all its forms is what I do, because that’s what my patrons explore and want to be prepared for. I look forward to making new friends at the ALA Conference in Orlando; at IRRT—where I just know there will be fellow librarians who will share new perspectives and ideas, adding another layer to my quest for all things global in libraries.

Spotlight: Meet International Librarian Sara Rizzo

6.10.16 – Here is news about one of the attendees of the upcoming Leaning International IRRT Program which is part of ALA 2016 . We are creating a list so we can all learn a little about each other and to help connect before, during, and after the program. However this information is for all librarians everywhere so feel free to connect via the blog or write me an e-mail.

(FYI: For more information about working for Nazarbayev University please search ‘Nazarbayev’ in the blog.)


srizzo.jpgSarah Rizzo: After finishing my MLIS in 2013, I accepted a job  at Nazarbayev University Library (NUL) in Astana, Kazakhstan. I started in the Patron Services department, but later moved to the Reference Department. Additionally, I served as the subject librarian for the School of Humanities & Social Sciences (SHSS). During my time working there, I spearheaded many successful outreach programs and initiatives. When I started, SHSS faculty and students were among the lowest populations of library users, but by the time I left they couldn’t get enough of our services. I also taught several training sessions and workshops for librarians in the region so they could start similar projects in their own libraries. My last few months at NUL were spent on electronic resources management and ILL. After two years there, I decided it was time to come back NJ. I returned August 2015 and am currently the Electronic Resources/Serials Management Librarian at Caldwell University in Caldwell, NJ.

Spotlight: Meet International Librarian Meggan Houlihan

6.2.16 –  Here is news about one of the panelists participating in the upcoming Leaning Internatonal IRRT Program which is part of ALA 2016 . We are creating a list so we can all learn a little about each other and to help connect before, during, and after the program. However this information is for all librarians everywhere so feel free to connect via the blog or write me an e-mail.

MegganMeggan Houlihan is the First-Year Experience and Instruction Librarian at New York University in Abu Dhabi.  In this role Meggan collaborates with the Office of First-Year Students, Writing Program, and Writing Center to equip freshman with basic information literacy skills.  She is a former Coordinator of Instruction at The American University of Cairo, where she handled instructional activity, assessment, and outreach. She is currently serving on the Information Literacy Network of the Gulf’s Steering and Professional Development Committee, LIRT Conference Planning Committee, and IRRT Conference Planning Committee. She is the former Coordinator of Professional Development for the American International Consortium of Academic Libraries. She is a graduate of Indiana University (MLS), the University of Reading, UK (MA Modern History), and Eastern Illinois University (BA History).Her research interests include information literacy in the Middle East, library outreach, and student learning.

Meggan enjoys running, yoga, reading, and traveling. At the time of publication, she has explored thirty-five countries. Only 161 more countries to go!

Impressions of her first year…
My first year in Cairo was wild!  When I landed at the Cairo International Airport, there was a porter with a sign for “Mr. Meggan Houlihan.”  I think that sign set the tone for my four years in Cairo–so many random unexplainable things happened, but I put a smile on my face and kept moving forward.  I learned to adjust, haggle, and navigate the maze commonly know as Cairo.  I immersed myself in the culture and the city. Then the Egyptian Revolution happened and things went from crazy to insane. It was incredible. Overall, my first year in Cairo was one of the most memorable years of my life, and Cairo will always feel like home to me.
How she found her first international position…
I found my first international job on ALAjoblist.  Most Western-style institutions will advertise on ALAjoblist or the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Why she wanted to work overseas…
I’ve been consumed by wanderlust since I was sixteen. After studying abroad in Wales and attending graduate school in England, I knew I wanted to get back out into the world. AUC gave me that opportunity.
Advice for others who would like to do it…
When I received my initial offer from AUC, I contacted my library school mentor to discuss the details of my contract.  My offer was lower than expected. (What?! I was under the impression that international librarians made a lot of money. I thought I would be able to tell Sallie Mae to get lost and spend my time eating cheese in exotic locations. It turns out this is not the case.) I was bummed. We discussed everything in detail, and then she finally asked, “What does your heart of hearts say?”  My heart of hearts said go to Cairo. Live. Travel. Eat (cheap) cheese in exotic locations. So that’s what I did.
My advice? Follow your heart of hearts…

Spotlight: Meet International Librarian Elana Grayson

5.27.16 –  Here is news about one of the panelists participating in the upcoming Leaning Internatonal IRRT Program which is part of ALA 2016 . We are creating a list so we can all learn a little about each other and to help connect before, during, and after the program. However this information is for all librarians everywhere so feel free to connect via the blog or write me an e-mail.


View photo in messageElana Grayson just completed her first year as the Middle School Librarian at Korea International School, Jeju Campus, a for-profit Nursery-12 American-style school on Jeju Island, South Korea. She currently provides services to just over 200, mostly Korean, middle school students and 40 international faculty. Previously, she was the only Librarian at The British International School of New York, a Nursery-8 for-profit independent International Baccalaureate school in Manhattan. She holds a Master in Library and Information Science degree from Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus.


I have always wanted to live and work abroad and recall making a list in high school of all the cities in which I hoped to live. During one of my library student teaching experiences, the Librarian told me about a friend of hers who worked in a DODEA library and I was hooked on the idea of international librarianship. I was lucky enough to land a US based international school job as my first full time position, which allowed me to put both international and IB experience on my resume.


After consulting with a few coworkers, I opted to sign up with Search Associates for my international job search. Overall, I was pleased with their system and will use them again for my next job hunt. However, I did not attend any Search fairs because they assigned me to one that had no library openings. Instead, I went to the Queen’s University fair where I was offered two positions, neither of which I took because I was offered my current position via Skype that same weekend.


I ended up in a place I’d never heard of in a country I never considered with no regrets. I love living abroad and have no plans to return to the US anytime soon. It finally feels like I’ve found my people. They understand the perpetual need to wander and all say they left previous positions “because it was time to move on.” They get it. I would recommend this experience to everyone though not every location fits every person. I have learned that while escaping from a city lifestyle is relaxing, there needs to be a certain amount of urban excitement for me to feel whole. But that is OK and I can’t wait to see where this career takes me next…

Spotlight: Meet International Librarian Sam Crawford

5.10.15 –  In the upcoming weeks I am going to be spotlighting librarians with international experience who are planning on attending ALA 2016 and the Leaning Internatonal IRRT Program.  We are creating a list so we can all learn a little about each other and to help connect before, during, and after the program. However this information is for all librarians everywhere so feel free to connect via the blog or write me an e-mail.

Sam CrawfordSam Crawford, MLIS
Academic Librarian at Northern Marianas College (NMC)
Saipan Island, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)

Since January, I’ve been working as the Academic Librarian at Northern Marianas College (NMC) on the island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).  I’m still learning “how things work” on the island and within the College itself, but I’m continuing to dig into this opportunity, full force, and I am thrilled beyond measure to be here. 

Broadly, I would describe myself as a musician and self-proclaimed “library nerd” with a bent towards the creative.  I earned degrees in music from East Tennessee State University (B.M., Vocal Music Education, ’09) and New York University (M.M., Music Composition and Theory, ’11).  More recently, I completed a Master’s in library and information science at the University of Tennessee’s School of Information Sciences, where my studies focused on academic librarianship (specifically related to music and the humanities), archives and records management, and digital curation.  

I have provided information services for a variety of both federal and academic institutions, including the Library of Congress, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the University of Tennessee.  Before coming to NMC, I served as the interim K-12 Instructional Librarian at the University School of Nashville, in Nashville, Tennessee.”

I have very high hopes of attending this year’s ALA meeting in Orlando.  For me, the chance to personally meet you and others involved with the IRRT would be a tremendous opportunity to share and discuss alternative views of information work, connect with some like-minded professionals, and expand and strengthen myriad professional networks in the spirit of simply sharing information and learning / growing together.”

Spotlight: Meet International Librarian Ray Pun

2/3/15 –  Throughout my travels and writing about traveling librarians I have met a number of really interesting people and, as one of the goals of this blog is to connect people as well as share information, I am today introducing an interview feature.  I hope this will prove to be both helpful and interesting.
Sarah P.

Meet International Librarian Ray Pun…

Raymond Pun is currently a reference and research services librarian at New York Ray Pun Photo copyUniversity Shanghai where he provides research, instructional and digital services and support to the NYU Shanghai and NYU global community. Previously he was a librarian at the New York Public Library providing research support in the humanities, social sciences and East Asian studies. His research interests include digital scholarship and G.I.S services, virtual cultures and global librarianship. Along with Scott Collard and Justin Parrott, he is the co-editor of the volume entitled, The Future of U.S. Academic Libraries Abroad: Creating Vision and Strategy For Building Global Campus Libraries to be published by ACRL Publications (Forthcoming, Fall 2015).You can see his blog here for more of his travels:

Why and how did you decide to try living and working overseas?
I’ve always wanted to work abroad for various reasons. I grew up in New York City so I have been exposed to many cultures and ideas but wondered what life is/was like for my friends/relatives back in their home countries. When this position opened up, I was encouraged to apply by many people because they knew about my interest to work abroad and my skills and experiences that I can bring to this role. It was also a very hard decision at the same time because I was deeply engaged with the projects at the New York Public Library (my former employer) but I knew that this opportunity was really once in a life time. I took this position knowing that I would be facing incredible challenges that would test my comfort zone and allow me to better understand my profession as a librarian and my life. It has been a very unique and rewarding experience working in a start-up culture abroad and I have so many stories, experiences and adventures to share as a result!

What have been your biggest challenges so far, both personally and professionally?
There are so many challenges when you work abroad. Initially, I thought I would have a very difficult time gaining professional development opportunities but in fact it has been quite the opposite. Working in Shanghai has allowed me to attend conferences in Asia and also be more proactive in building those networks. I have also taken advantage of the various library-related webinars and free MOOC programs such as Coursera offered in various disciplines from GIS to Intro to Psychology and this has allowed me to stay on top of my PD. But for those who aren’t familiar with these tools, it can be difficult to develop professionally. I recommend people to plan on building their skill sets carefully because that can make your work abroad much more meaningful and for your next transition, much more helpful! Personally, it has been difficult to not be able to see my friends and family members and to be missing important weddings, engagements, and celebrations but that’s the challenge when you live/work on the other side of the world.

What advice would you offer a librarian who wished to try working overseas?
Most of the libraries in other countries are still developing their digital programs: they might have a lot of “books” or “technology equipment” but these resources aren’t updated, sophisticated or heavily used as I’ve noticed. I think for someone from the U.S. who is interested in working abroad, it’s important to stay top of the trend, scholarship and technology. You might want to read articles from the Library Journal, INALJ, METRO or ACRL sites to stay on top of that. It also depends on what kind of library you are interested in working in: school media, academic, public or special? Those positions are all very different and adding the foreign culture layer to it makes it more challenging. I would say someone with a strong background in teaching, in emerging technology and in organizational management may find these opportunities to be interesting and rewarding. You just have to really stay connected with your networks because it might be difficult later to transition back home. I would take advantage of your new culture and learn and see as many things as you can!

Can you share an anecdote or lesson learned through travel and/or working overseas?I never realized so many librarians from abroad attend the ALA Annual conference. It’s a nice way to meet them there and in their hometowns. I would take advantage of the International Relations Round Table programs and sessions offered in the conferences where you can network and meet with other librarians from elsewhere. One of the great thing is that once you visit their countries, they can invite you personally to see their libraries or invite you to speak as well. It has worked out for me and I really enjoy having a larger network outside of the U.S.!

Do you ever have any fear or worry about working and traveling overseas?  That’s a good question. I think it depends on where you are going for work and for leisure. For work, China (particularly Shanghai) is a safe city all around, and there might be some occasionally theft if you aren’t careful but that’s everywhere in the world. I would strong recommend people to register with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (if you are from the U.S.) – you’ll get updates and alerts on what’s going on in where. It’s also a good idea to find out where your embassy is located and so you can easily get assistance from there if needed. For personal purposes, I think a lot about where I am going and whether it is a good idea or not, but I am pretty conservative in my travels: only major cities or areas where I have contacts living in. I wouldn’t venture off to areas that I know no one and it isn’t a big city. But I know people who often do that kind of travel and they have no problem at all!

Where would you like to go next?  Do you see this as a career or just an experience?
Great question! I’m not sure but I am ready to take on new challenges and opportunities. At the moment I am enjoying my position and really learning on how to develop new services, projects and programs in our university. I find the experience enriching and helpful if I decide to pursue other opportunities in the future but somewhere between U.S. or China would be nice!

How important, in your opinion, are libraries and librarians in the worldwide arena?  Are we the new diplomats or still considered on the edge of what is important?
Librarians in the worldwide arena are important! It’s important to educate people into thinking differently about society, culture and life. Libraries play a big role in literacy, programming and human development; when there are more libraries around, people will read more and be exposed to other ideas, cultures and values. We help bridge the digital divide, and allow others to gain equal access to resources through digital or technological means; I also believe in a global context, libraries can really shape the future generation of leaders into making better and sensible decisions for global  society.