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Librarian Cover Letter Example

Use this Librarian cover letter example to finish your application and get hired fast – no frustration, no guesswork. This cover letter example is specifically designed for Librarian positions in 2022. Take advantage of our sample sentences + expert guides to download the perfect cover letter in just minutes.
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Librarian Cover Letter Example
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When you hire a librarian, you had better hope that they not only have a passion for words; but also possess a warm and engaging manner to introduce others to the wonderful world of literature. It would seem that writing a librarian cover letter would be an easy task, but since this type of document is more connected to hiring practices than to literary style, there are some nuances to consider.

With over 9,000 public libraries in the United States alone (and 17,000+ independent libraries), according to the American Library Association, the pleasure of opening a real book, as opposed to reading on a tablet, is still very real. Sure, we access information on device screens a lot these days, but nothing beats popping down to the local library to chat with a librarian about their latest recommendations.

That is their job – to help readers find the books that are going to make a difference to their lives. They are not selling books in a soulless shop rammed with “best sellers” and while their role is far broader than simply talking about books, in many cases (and particularly in school libraries) enthusing about literature is what they do best.

So, as a librarian who is thinking about applying for a new role, how can you communicate this passion? The rigid limitations of a resume tend to constrain personable storytelling, but as a cover letter is more free form you can really expand on what matters to you. 

How do you juggle your time between managing stock on a complicated system, checking that the right books are in the right place and patiently helping a long line of curious readers? If you let your cover letter do the talking, you set the scene for what you wish to discuss during an interview. Imagine that a hiring manager is sitting in front of you right now. What would you want to say to them in a brief but free-flowing elevator pitch of 300 words?

In this guide, along with the corresponding cover letter example, we’ll cover the following topics to help you write the best cover letter possible:

  • How to develop and choose the best format of your cover letter
  • What elements should be included in the structure of your cover letter
  • How to maximize the effect of each cover letter element (header, greeting, intro, body and conclusion)
  • What approach to take when writing your cover letter (taking the hiring manager’s psychology into account)
  • What mistakes to avoid when writing your librarian cover letter.

To maximize the dual impact of a resume and cover letter, it is generally a good idea to write them together as they can contain different aspects of the same story. There are certain traits that every librarian should include, but there are many others that will depend on the nature of the library and the readers who are visiting. Make both documents as specific as possible for the library in question.

So, what are some of the key considerations for a librarian when they sit down to write their cover letter? What will set them apart from the other candidates?

Best format for a librarian cover letter example

A librarian cover letter should cover the entire basic picture of how you run a library’s day-to-day operations. It is easy to gush about your love of literature, but if you do not state how you run the operations, or balance the books, doubts will quickly surface about your impact. The cover letter sample at the end of this paragraph provides a good illustration of this dual approach.

The best format of a librarian cover letter should resemble a story, with your own personal touch but also with a clear structure and proof of your professional credentials and capabilities. Unlike a resume, the cover letter format is far more personalized, human and passionate, but that doesn’t remove the need to convey how exactly you do your job effectively. Therefore, make sure the letter format reflects that with a clear structure and examples of your past job successes and/or practices.

Librarian cover letters should aim to accomplish the following goals to successfully land an interview:

  • Share how they offer an excellent visitor experience — send readers away happy
  • Demonstrate that they understand the mechanics of a well-functioning library
  • Talk about their personal approach to work
  • Make sure that they highlight their literary passions and specialist knowledge.

It doesn’t take long for any machine to fail if it is not suitably oiled and maintained. When thousands of books are passing in and out of a library every week, unless operational issues are addressed immediately, chaos can quickly ensue. No school managing body or local authority wants a librarian who just focuses on talking with readers and neglects their more mundane duties.

It might be considered rare for a librarian to have a commercial brain, but in fact there are significant budgets to be balanced, stock to be procured and rotated and supplier agreements to manage. Most librarian cover letter samples found online ignore the practical aspect of a librarian’s work and only focus on their knowledge of literature. However, client service and managing routine operations is a big part of the job.

Be a bookworm, be an operational whizz, but also be a commercial animal. The stories that you tell in the cover letter should contain aspects of each of these threads.

Talk about how you increased lending in certain of your favourite categories, how you introduced a new lending system and how you negotiated a new deal with a cleaning company. Your value in the library can come in many forms, so don’t sell yourself short by limiting your cover letter to individual areas.

Sure, you should be an academic first, but without an equal operational and commercial focus the library will quickly become a war zone of lost books and wasted opportunity.

Expert tip

Don’t just talk about your experience — quantify it with hard numbers.

Your future employer will not be able to grasp the scale of your experience unless you quantify it. Running a 2,500-square-foot town library is very different to running a 25,000-square-foot college library with a team of seven. How many people visit the library? How many books are processed every day? How do you break down your days and weeks in terms of activity?

This is not boring information. It will give them an immediate feel of whether you are right for their role. Scour the job description for hints as to the nature of the job and best of all actually spend some time in your future workplace to get a sense of the challenges that await you. What information is most crucial for them to understand? What would they need to hear to feel that you were the librarian for the job? Be specific and don’t shy away from the numbers.

This librarian cover letter example is a good foundation to develop your own professional application:

Adaptable Librarian cover letter example

Dear Mr. Lashington,

Having spent seven years as Chief Librarian at Summerfield Elementary School, I would relish the challenge of setting up a library and community education project at Hazelton.

My university degree in Library Studies from the University of Michigan and BA in Early Childhood Studies fueled my passion for early years education and my work at Summerfield was incredibly rewarding. We increased literacy rates in the district by 35% and completed a five-year project to improve reading grades across elementary age groups.

Parental engagement was key to enthusing the children and we understood that availability of the most popular series was key to success. It is easier to captivate your young children if you are reading to them about characters that they already know. We increased the stocks of the top 25 authors and held weekly workshops to help parents engage with the stories.

At Summerfield, I was in charge of the operational and commercial aspects of running the library, so setting up ab initio would be entirely achievable. Understanding the profile of your young readers is key, so before we order any books, we would need to run a learner profile of the school community. Making the library “digital first” will be a top priority – we ensured that 200+ students learned to read every year with our engaging and interactive resources. Reading on digital devices is still reading and should be encouraged.

My experience of managing a team of part-time library helpers (mostly parents) will prove essential, as the job of selecting, purchasing, managing and maintaining a library of 4,000 books is no simple task, especially in an area with such a strong bilingual community.

I would welcome the chance to discuss your plans during an interview – elementary literacy is the bedrock of our children’s education and there is nothing more exciting than starting a library project from scratch.

Sincerely,

Simone Martin

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Create a great structure for your librarian letter

It often helps to present your arguments and tell your story when there is a logical structure to your cover letter.

The structure of a librarian cover letter should contain the following elements:

  • The cover letter header
  • The greeting
  • The introduction
  • The body of the letter
  • The conclusion
  • The signature

The comprehensive cover letter guide offers more general advice about how to go about compiling a cover letter, but here is some information about each specific section:

Cover letter header

The cover letter header is located at the very top of the letter. It contains the name, email and phone contact of the candidates, and although it might seem somewhat boring, it is absolutely essential that a hiring company is able to contact the candidate immediately should they have an interest. You don’t want them having to open another electronic document (your resume) to find out how to get in touch with you.

If you have a powerful cover letter, many people will want to get in touch there and then.

Expert tip

If you’re submitting your cover letter along with your resume, consider the impact of ATS (Applicant Tracking System) algorithms.

There is also the not insignificant matter of pleasing the software used by recruitment departments and hiring managers. The ATS recruitment software is responsible for scanning the details into the recruitment CRM system, but they won’t stop at this. Most ATS systems can be programmed to look out for a prevalence of certain keywords in resumes (or cover letters if the online application allows that submission), so make sure that you include the words “email” next to your address and “phone / cell / mobile” next to your number. 

Even if you are not a fit for this role, being found for any future positions could well be important. 

The aim of the cover letter header: Include those vital contact details, efficiently, with no frills. Attract attention to the document itself and make it memorable in the mind of the hiring manager.

Cover letter greeting

As every librarian knows, words have an impact that lasts long after a book has been closed. Our memories are mysterious things, and just one word can alter opinions and forever change perspective. 

In short, getting the greeting wrong on a cover letter risks clouding how the reader sees you. Starting with a less formal “hi” is likely to be viewed as a little disrespectful, so stick with the more formal: “Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms. Surname” and triple check that you got the spelling correct. If you are dealing with HR, the letter should ideally be addressed to the future hiring manager, so ask for their name.

If you are not sure about the recipient, “to whom it may concern” is fine. “Dear _____ team” is acceptable in some more relaxed corporate settings, but for academia we would advise erring on the side of formality.

You may have noticed that the cover letter sample in the chapter above this one provides a fairly traditional greeting (“Dear Mr. Lashington”), yet it addresses the hiring decision-maker by name. While this may seem trivial, it’s an extremely important aspect of establishing a personal connection, hence - it’s included in the cover letter example we offer as your main reference point.

The aim of letter greeting / salutation: Starting the cover letter off on a formal footing is important for a librarian, so make sure that the greeting fits the situation.

recruiting volunteers in a warm but professional manner.

Adaptable cover letter greeting example

Dear Mr. Lashington,

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Cover letter introduction

Any great work of literature takes a few pages to set the scene, easing the reader into the action. When you read certain books, you have a sense of what is to come after the first few words. Great writers can cause the deepest of emotions in a matter of seconds.

That is what the introduction of your cover letter needs to achieve. A powerful librarian cover letter intro gets to the heart of the application – why are you the best person for the job? What are the objective aspects of your experience that will make a hiring manager sit up and think that you are the librarian for them? Make those one or two sentences count and lead with the part of your story that is most relevant for the position.

Show that you have worked in a similar setting, solved the problems that you are likely to encounter and helped your previous employers to offer their readers and visitors an amazing experience. As a librarian, you are a facilitator of knowledge, but unless you run a tight ship you can also risk presiding over a disaster zone of confusion. 

Your introduction should exude the experienced vibes of someone who knows how to run a library like a swan gliding over the calm waters (and paddling furiously underneath).

The aim of the cover letter intro: Work out what your most important message is and make sure that it fits with the nature of the role. Grab their attention and they will be curious to read further.

Adaptable cover letter introduction example

Having spent seven years as Chief Librarian at Summerfield Elementary School, I would relish the challenge of setting up a library and community education project at Hazelton.

Copied!

Cover letter body

The body of a cover letter contains the most compelling aspects of any career story. You have the space to expand on what matters, you can use bullet-pointed lists to highlight key achievements and quantifiable data, and you can choose your language to show off your personality. How you portray your stories says a great deal about you as a person, and given the blank page of a cover letter, it is vital that the body of the letter is compelling.

If you have not got much to say about yourself, no one will hire you.

Pick examples that show that you can deal with the most extreme situations that can occur in a library. This might sound dramatic, but any issue that can affect the confidence of a reader to “find the right book” might mean that someone doesn’t come back next time. That is a problem when you have a finite number of potential visitors – if you can’t deal with issues quickly and efficiently, your popularity will quickly dwindle.

As well as the commercial and operational aspects of the role, take the time to expand on your love of literature. If the librarian is just in it “for the money” then they will likely not be overly keen on exciting others about reading. Librarians are sadly not paid huge salaries, but they often simply go to work for the love of the profession.

Finally, show that you work well with others. You will likely have to work closely with a wide range of people while you are collating a picture of what is going on, so communication and influencing skills are key.

The aim of the body of your cover letter: Share a vision of what it is like to walk into a library that is run by you. If I want to have a chat about a book with you, how am I likely to feel afterwards?

Adaptable cover letter body example

Parental engagement was key to enthusing the children and we understood that availability of the most popular series was key to success. It is easier to captivate your young children if you are reading to them about characters that they already know. We increased the stocks of the top 25 authors and held weekly workshops to help parents engage with the stories.

At Summerfield, I was in charge of the operational and commercial aspects of running the library, so setting up ab initio would be entirely achievable. Understanding the profile of your young readers is key, so before we order any books, we would need to run a learner profile of the school community. Making the library “digital first” will be a top priority – we ensured that 200+ students learned to read every year with our engaging and interactive resources. Reading on digital devices is still reading and should be encouraged.

My experience of managing a team of part-time library helpers (mostly parents) will prove essential, as the job of selecting, purchasing, managing and maintaining a library of 4,000 books is no simple task, especially in an area with such a strong bilingual community.

Copied!

How to end a librarian cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)

The concluding lines of a librarian’s cover letter should leave a measured and self-assured impression. Not too many librarians are loud and outspoken, so there is no need for overconfident self-promotion in the closing statement. Say why you feel that the role is for you and repeat (not a bad thing) why you think that you are a great fit.

The conclusion is also a great place to share something unique about your personality or experience. Visually the reader realizes that they are coming to the end of the document, so typically they will spend that little bit of extra time analyzing the last few sentences. Maybe write something that could be expanded upon at the interview – the whole point of the cover letter and resume is to provide a springboard for further discussion.

Lastly, don’t be shy to mention the possibility of meeting the hiring manager at an interview. The whole aim of writing a cover letter and resume is to secure an opportunity to discuss your application in person and build on your case. Arrogance has no place in job search correspondence, so make sure that the tone is not over confident, but you have every right to say that you look forward to the possibility of meeting.

Notice how our librarian cover letter example handles the conclusion and sign-off below.
It’s respectful, professional, delivers one last reminder of the applicant’s work philosophy and closes with a polite call to action . Use this sample of cover letter writing to model your own application letter conclusion.

The aim of this part: Finish by telling your future employer why they should employ you and justify your request for an interview.

Adaptable cover letter closing example

I would welcome the chance to discuss your plans during an interview – elementary literacy is the bedrock of our children’s education and there is nothing more exciting than starting a library project from scratch.

Sincerely,

Simone Martin

Copied!

Writing psychology: how to convey your work ethic in your cover letter

Just as cultural fit is important in a corporate setting, so it is vital that your personality and literary interests match the people who will be visiting the library. When writing your cover letter, you should tailor your passionate appeal to the needs of the specific employer you’re targeting. Make sure to choose the correct tone in your cover letter writing, to address the relevant needs and to write with the psychology of the hiring decision-maker in mind.

If you are a librarian applying for a role at a school, make your cover letter and resume specific to the needs of the younger minds that will borrow your books. If your average visitor is a university grad, you can be sure that having the right books on the right shelves is going to be critical to them. If you are going to be running a small-town library with an older audience, you will probably end up chatting to people who want someone to chat to when they come to borrow some books.

Work out the reader profile and make sure that you tease out the aspects of your experience that fit that profile. It is better to share a relevant example that is slightly less impactful than a story that packs a punch but is utterly foreign to what you will be doing. You need the reader of your cover letter to feel that you are one of them. Try to write the letter from their perspective and include the sorts of things that they would want to hear about.

Again, spending some time (maybe even undercover) at your future library is a great idea to get an idea of the feel of the place. This is obviously not an option if it is a school as that would not be possible, but even then, you could find out about the demographics of the area and the types of students that attend. Do your research!

Librarian cover letter sample with no experience

In case you have no experience as a fully-fledged librarian, you are likely entering from an adjacent field. A librarian is one of those professions where you are likely to start via one of two routes:

  • A small local library will probably hire an educator, teacher, graduate or office administrator and train them to take up librarian functions and duties
  • A larger library is likely to promote a library assistant when a librarian position opens.

In the first scenario, we recommend you check out our guides and cover letter examples in the education or administrative sections and choose the one that corresponds to your career path. At the end of this blog we made a helpful list with the closest applicable ones. If you already have a job as a library assistant and are looking to move up the career ladder, check our cover letter sample for the library assistant .

Basic mistakes in a librarian application letter

Librarians are expected to be organised and accurate in their dealings, so how you set out and present your cover letter will leave a lasting impression.

  • Get the spelling and grammar spot on. Mistakes in grammar are not what you would expect when you are about to employ a librarian. Although your grasp of the English language will not hugely impact on your ability to do your job, there is a certain cognitive dissonance about a librarian that does not take care over how they write. Use a grammar checker like Grammarly and get someone else to proof read.
  • Make sure that it is a powerful story but don’t make it long. Even the shortest stories can pack a punch. It is important for a cover letter to whet the appetite to learn more about you, but bear in mind that white space on the page plays a part too. Don’t make it too long and break up the letter with brief paragraphs, bullet points and powerful but short sentences. It should be easy to read, or the hiring manager will undoubtedly switch off.
  • Use language that reflects your personality. Don’t feel under pressure to become some super salesperson in the job search process. If you are quiet and thoughtful, it is fine if that comes across in your job search content and throughout the interview process. Use the sorts of words that you would use in a normal conversation – don’t force it just because you really need that job. That is a turn off.

Key takeaways

  1. Let the reader feel what it is like to walk into the library and chat with you.
  2. Show a hiring manager that you are operationally savvy and commercially astute.
  3. Use personality-illuminating adjectives and thoughtful action verbs to paint a picture.
  4. Pick examples that show that you will go the extra library mile for your visitors.

With Resume.io, writing your cover letter is as easy. Click on one of our ready-made and carefully market-researched cover letter templates and simply start writing. Well, the clicking part is easy, but we hope that we have given you some ideas to help with the writing.

If you’re looking for additional inspiration for cover letter writing, you can check out our related education cover letter examples:

   

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