"The wise learn from their own experiences but the truly intelligent will learn from someone else's!" - Benjamin Franklin.

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Words of wisdom:
"Remember your weekly mix of activity will vary, depending on how soon you need to be employed, how much time you have to spend on your campaign each week, the economy, the relative difficulty of job finding in your targeted field, and the relative effectiveness of each job search method with regards to your job objective. Good Luck!!!" [source: JobSearch-in-Canada.com]
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09 January 2010

Factors in success or failure of foreign-trained librarians in Canada

The thesis, here, is about what are major factors for the success or for the failure of foreign-trained librarians in Canada? As far as this writer could dig, there is no single study to answer this question about what-works and what-doesn't in moving between and beyond barriers. Hence, this may be considered as a call for a national study.

As with all Canadian immigrants, the story of arrival, survival and revival is very much same for the profession of librarians. Interestingly, there are immigrant stories, first about a few non-professionals getting opportunities to work in libraries (as semi-professionals), and second about foreign-trained-librarians not even getting an interview (let alone get an opportunity for part-time, temporary, voluntary, full-time work). There are no documentary evidences about this occurrence; a sad side of this age-of-information, right-to-information, and right-to-work--so clearly enshrined in the Charter and the legislation.

An important recap: A common requirement for all foreign-trained professionals is: (a) education (local equivalent), (b) training (locally compatible), (c) skills (hard, soft and transferable matching Canadian colors) and the LAST (d) Canadian Experience!!! So is true for Librarians, too.

What is uncommon for librarians is the fact that most come from countries where: (a) language or culture raises a barrier in integration / adaptability; or (b) where the education and training offered back-home is not accredited (national accreditation or national standardization to monitor quality and standards of library schools). South Asian librarians face problem with accreditation (not language or culture as major barrier in finding a professional job). And, a few South Asians, don't get jobs inspite of ALA accredited (master, doctoral and post-doc) degrees. Some may say this is a type of dehumanization, not just deprofessionalization and derecognition of practitioners.

  • The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC), says: Information on requirements to practise:
    The occupation of librarian is not regulated. Therefore, employment is subject to demand, and qualification requirements are set by individual employers. However, a master's degree in library science or its equivalent from an institution accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) is usually required for employment. source
  • Costly Omissions: Employment barriers for skilled/experienced librarians, in particular, by Manjit Singh, Reference Librarian, Brantford PL; and Dr. Ganga B. Dakshinamurti, Librarian, Albert D. Cohen Management Library:
    Foreign-trained librarians face many barriers when seeking employment in Canada with resultant cost to individuals and organizations. A state-of-the-art review of employment barriers illustrated by case studies for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that will be analyzed so all concerned can maximize benefits.
    • Case Study. By Manjit Singh, Librarian, Brantford Public Library, Brantford, ON
    • Case Study. By Muhammad Afzal, Librarian
      These case studies present interesting observations by two foreign trained librarians
      >>>>>>>>An Appeal to All Stakeholders:
      "Along with Tara Zarrin and Manjit Singh, I appeal to all stakeholders, including library associations and library schools in Canada:
      PLEASE take necessary actions to implement meaningful solutions to correct this costly omission of not utilizing fully our foreign-trained librarians, so that ALL Canadians can be gainfully employed for the betterment of Canada!"
      -Professor Ganga Dakshinamurti
  • Need for a study, factors to be studied may include: (a) role of Canadian institutions / government in accepting / recognizing these librarians (see a sample by Keren Dali and Juris Dilevkoa, 2009); (b) role of foreign-trained librarians in adapting to the Canadian mosaic (see the case studies, above); and (c) identify those who lost their battle (survival of the fittest) and were forced to: i) return to school (within the profession); or ii) re-train themselves out-side-the-box and re-invent the wheel; or iii) couldn't return home (see below: Why we cannot go home?), rather stayed in the land of opportunities accepted odd_jobs in order to make the ends meet (viz., finally work as store worker in grocery stores, visa card sales reps @ call centers, security guards, parking attendant, etc.) i.e, who could-not a find job even 'outside-the-box' (see the book, above, by G. Kim Dority, 2006). One may consider a fourth factor, as well: those who struggled and then left the country (for reasons of (i)lack of opportunities, (ii)repeated failures in finding an accommodation in the job market, (iii)lack of stamina to continue the tryst with destiny, (iv)greener pastures abroad, and so on..).
    PS. If you are interested in this project, lets talk. Your comments and support will be highly appreciated. See on the same shelf
  • Why we cannot go home?
  • Educated immigrants stuck in survival jobs By Travis Lupick
  • Success Stories: Matilda of Sierra Leone
  • 'Vote by feet'
  • A land of promise or a land of dismay?
  • Not Canada Net: Tragedy of Canada for Immigrants
  •   Skilled immigrants wasting their talents in Canada calgaryherald.com


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    Nur affinah Mohd affaidi said...

    I have study in Canada and i am working in a Hotel part time. I am studying and work also in Canada.

    work and study

    Anonymous said...

    Mr. David Cohen i will like to know
    if you are blomber and you have aquired a little experience and you want to gain moor skills may i be permited to seek for Canadian visa as well?
    Iwant to change my life style and will be happy if you can help me.


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