Melanie Sellar …of Librarians Without Borders

This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions

melanies My interview with Melanie Sellar, founder of Librarians Without Borders, “a non-profit organization that strives to improve access to information resources regardless of language, geography, or religion, by forming partnerships with community organizations in developing regions.”  “Our vision is to build sustainable libraries and support their custodians and advocates — librarians.” (taken from here)


Naomi:  How did you come to work for (or start) Librarians Without Borders?
Melanie:  I founded it when I was an MLIS graduate student at the University of Western Ontario (Canada).

Naomi:  How can librarians help Librarians Without Borders?
Melanie:  Lots of ways! You can sign up as a member for free (can’t argue with that price) here. As a member you’ll receive e-newsletters about our work, including any volunteer or donation opportunities. You can also like us on Facebook to keep in the loop.

Like any non-profit, we always welcome monetary donations to help us run our programs. Right now, we have a donation drive to help fund a stipend for a librarian in Guatemala. Our team are all volunteers, so the money we raise is all for our work.

Naomi:  Can you speak a little about your experiences with libraries?  Any favorite libraries or experiences with them?
Melanie:  I’m the Education Services Librarian at Marymount College, a private liberal arts college in Los Angeles.  I’ve been here four years now, and spent my first two years post-MLIS at the University of California, Irvine. In my previous life I was a computational linguist and technical writer. I was converted when I met a really engaging librarian at a very wintery party in Ottawa, Canada. I had never considered the career before that day, although I had been searching for a new pathway. It really was an “aha” moment for me.

Naomi:  Favorite book(s)?
Melanie:  I’m such a Canadian: I love Margaret Atwood. I’ve also recently realized how much I enjoy the genre of magical realism.

Naomi:  Favorite adaptation (book to film or even film to book)?
Melanie:  Lord of the Rings trilogy. (But I really wasn’t into The Hobbit).

Naomi:  Are there any blogs or websites we should be following?
Melanie:  Well certainly Librarians Without Borders! Other great organizations in the same space include IREX, EIFL, and Beyond Access.

Previously published on 3/1/13 and 8/18/13

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular LIS jobs resource (formerly I Need a Library Job). Founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ’s social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ has had over 20 Million page views and helped thousands of librarians and LIS folk find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in a month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this many new jobs published daily. She was a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and has served on the University of Maryland iSchool Board from 2014-2017. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and now lives part time in Western NY and Budapest, Hungary. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. 


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