Suffolk County Entry Level Librarian Test

The Suffolk County Civil Service Exam is currently open for the Entry Level Librarian, Entry Level Librarian (Children’s Services), and Librarian 1 (Spanish Speaking). Because it may be difficult to navigate the process (especially if applying to a Civil-Service position for the first time), this post will serve as an unofficial tip sheet to applying.


  • The Civil Service exam openings can be found on the Suffolk County Website / Department of Civil Service,
  • Go towards the bottom of the page and click on “Current List of Exams” to view the open exams.
  • These exams are Open-Competitive, meaning that “Open-competitive examinations can be taken by any individual who meets the minimum education and experience qualifications cited on the job announcement.”
  • The “Last Filing Date” means that its the LAST DAY to register for the exam.
  • The “Exam Date” means exactly that. That will be the day you have to sit to take the exam. You may notice that the three exams are on the same day; don’t worry. The last time this librarian took the exam, you take one exam (plus an additional number of questions if you opt to be put on the Children’s Services Librarian list) to be placed on each list.
  • Also, you will be paying a filing fee for each list you want to be placed on. So for example, if you file for the Entry Level Librarian, Librarian I (Spanish Speaking), and Children’s Services exam, you will be paying $105 total (does not include any possible “convenience fees”).
  • You may be eligible for an exam fee waiver if you are a military veteran and resident of Suffolk County, Unemployed and primarily responsible for the support of a household, amongst others. Visit the Civil Service Documents and More Page and look at the Application Waiver Fee Request and Certification form v2.pdf to see if you are eligible.

The Test:

  • In studying for the exam, this librarian recommends that you familiarize yourself with computer literacy, databases, book awards and the reference interview. Because the exam is one of the few in New York state to be designed by the County Department of Civil Service, using test-books will only help to a certain degree. 

Have any questions about the exam? Ask in the comments! 


13 responses to “Suffolk County Entry Level Librarian Test

  1. Peggy Lopez - Librarian I

    This is excellent! Great job!

  2. Thanks so much for this information! I am concerned about how I should go about studying for the test. I have a test-book from 2006 but I have been told that it will not really help. Can anyone suggest some other references I can use to study from? For example, what should I refer to to learn more about databases? Any information would be greatly appreciated!!

    • In terms of databases, I would familiarize myself with the databases available at, under the heading Research. Unfortunately I can’t go into specifics, but from the last test there were lots of technology questions related to computers and programs that a librarian would normally use in their day to day work.

  3. Hello. I obtained my MLS in 2010 but have yet to find work in the field. Could you please give examples of what some of the questions are like? What format is this exam ie multiple choice, essay, ect.? If you could describe in greater detail, I would really appreciate it. Also, could you list any good test prep materials that you know of? Thanks!

    • It’s a civil-service exam, which as of the last exam was a multiple choice test. There are additional questions related to children services if you opt to be placed on the Children’s Services Eligible list. If you would like to be placed on the Spanish-Speaking Librarian list, the exam is followed up a few weeks later with an exam to test your skills as a spanish speaker. Because it’s one of the only exams crafted by the county, the test-prep books will help to a certain extent. Not an exam-prep guide, but I would suggest looking at the “Creating the Future: a 2020 Vision Plan for Library Service in New York State” on the New York State Library Website to get an idea of Library Services desired in the future.

  4. I was just reading suffolk civil service exam faqs. It says that preference might be given to residents that pass the exam, for school or library positions. I am a resident of Nassau County. Could you please tell me if I might reasonably expect to Ever be selected from the eligibility list for the Librarian I position?

  5. Can you tell me, what did you do to prepare for this exam, and how much schooling did you have complete at the time you took it? I’m only in my first semester of graduate school, and I’m worried that I don’t know enough yet. Also, when you sat down to take the exam, did you feel you had done enough preparation? Any tips on what to study would be very much appreciated.

    • I prepared for the exam by studying the green National Learning Corporation’s Librarian 1 Civil Service Exam and found it for me (personally) to be a waste of time. I had already finished library school and was working as a substitute librarian when I took the exam. Because of the Reference desk shadowing and Collection Development I had done in library school, the experience I had (I had only worked for about 3-4 months as a part-time librarian), and the knowledge of social media (web 2.0) I felt prepared to take the exam. Like I mentioned Below, looking at the Vision 2020 Plan for New York State Libraries, you can get an idea for what job skills will be needed for future librarians.

  6. Do you know if preference is given to Suffolk residents for the Librarian I position in Suffolk Public Libraries?

    • “According to the Civil Service Law, an appointing authority seeking to make an open-competitive appointment may give preference to legal residents of the jurisdiction. If the appointing authority chooses to exercise this option, a residents list will be sent first. When an employee is hired as a resident, he/she will be required to complete a Resident Eligibility Verification Form and provide supporting documentation. The form, along with the supporting documentation must be submitted to this department by the appointing authority, along with the returned Certification of Eligibles and Report of Personnel Changes.

      If the eligible list contains no legal residents of the jurisdiction, the countywide list must be used.”

      Example: If a person residing in the Brentwood School District is looking to become a full time librarian, and the Library (Appointing authority) puts a request to canvass candidates by a geographic list, the resident of the School District will have precedence. But this is entirely up to the Library’s discretion.

      The reality is that there is no clear cut answer in terms of preference to County Residents because policies vary from Library District to Library District.

  7. Hello. I had a few questions about the Children’s Services questions. How would you recommend preparing for that section?

    Also, say I registered and paid for both exams, do you know if I can change my mind and just opt out on the day of the exam by simply not continuing?

    Thanks– this was a great find and very helpful. I never liked the exam books, the library clerk one was a big let down. So it’s great to know where to spend our study time!

  8. You frame this as an actual test and not a credential review. For a professional position in a public library, when the test a credential review and when is it an actual test? And how is the candidate made aware of the difference? (Or have I mistaken what the civil service exam is?)

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