Dear Palmer Students:

Each year many of you have questions about the world of Civil Service and how it affects your public library career. Below is a brief summary of the civil service requirements in our region. For those looking outside the metropolitan NY area simply explore your regional county website or, better yet, talk to your local public library director. Feel free to e-mail me with questions. My contact information is below.

Nassau County:

Nassau Civil Service governs employment in all Nassau County “public” libraries and is limited to Nassau County residents. Please be advised that a number of public libraries are not “public” in the municipal sense; most notably Great Neck, Roslyn (Bryant) and Oceanside. They are free to hire qualified personnel at will. Long Beach and Glen Cove (both cities) have their own Civil Service and hold exams when they need to.

Candidates for the entry level (Librarian I) exam must have completed their coursework. When that milestone approaches students should pay attention to Gerry Kopczynski’s offer via kiosk to expedite their application for the New York State Librarian’s Certificate. You need this to take the exam.

There is also a title called “Library Trainee”. This is a non-competitive title in Nassau and does not require an exam. Candidates may apply directly to the Library. Many students do this.

The Nassau exam is a “Training and Experience” exam so students are well advised to maintain accurate records of their academic and professional activities. It is also “continuous recruitment” so they will get on an eligible list in a relatively timely fashion.

Suffolk County:

Suffolk County has no residency requirement so anyone is welcome to take the exam and work in a Suffolk County library. Like Nassau, a number of libraries (mostly east end) are not covered by civil service regulations. But the big ones are.

The Suffolk County entry level (Librarian I) exam is used for both newly certified librarians and Library Trainees. Therefore students are encouraged to take this exam while still in school. (Please note part time employment is not governed by civil service lists. Therefore it is most common for newer librarians to work several part time jobs as they navigate the civil service maze.) In Suffolk there is both a Library Trainee and Librarian I list for eligible full time candidates.

However, Suffolk County only gives its exams every other year. They are multiple choice tests taken in person. The last one was given in the Fall of 2010. Remember, part time employment is not covered by the lists.


Westchester is a bit less strict but candidates must still pay attention to civil service. The exams for entry level librarians are also continuous recruitment with no residency required.

New York City:

The three NYC libraries (Queens, Brooklyn & NYPL) are not governed by civil service. No exams are required.

Some helpful links are noted below.

If anyone has a specific question they may contact me at their convenience.

Jerry Nichols, Director

Palmer Institute for Public Library Organization and Management
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
720 Northern Blvd.
Brookville, NY 11548-1300

tel: 516-299-2867; fax: 516-299-4168


Public Library Advisement
Civil Service Info
Nassau County:

Job Title – Librarian I


Suffolk County:

Current list of exams:

Westchester County:


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