Amy Dittman …In Six

Interview with the My Life as a Sometimes Librarian author, Amy Dittman.

Naomi: What is your dream job and why?
Amy: My perfect job would be the liaison between a college library and its education department. This liaison gets to work closely with student teachers, helping them to incorporate fiction and non-fiction into their lesson plans. The liaison creates booklists to go with themes and demonstrates various ways to bring stories to life. It would be thrilling to be in both the classroom and the library as it would utilize the best of all my skills.

Naomi: If you could take any of your hobbies and create a job out of them or integrate it into your job what would it be? And how?
Amy: I love finding interesting stories and creating voices and personalities for the characters. I have read for my students, at parties for children and adults, for schools assemblies, at clubs…as a Children’s Librarian I performed 18 storytimes a week! I would love to take that skill and record audiobooks.

Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Amy: A good friend of mine and I were fortunate enough to do our student teaching in England. During break, we went to Switzerland. While there, we found a delightful bookstore…peering in the windows, it looked like a small castle filled floor to ceiling with children’s books. It was closed the weekend we found it, so we returned on Monday. None of the signage was in English, but we found a number of titles we wanted to buy. With our arms full and big grins on our faces, we went to the checkout counter. It was a checkout counter…for a library! The librarian was incredibly gracious and kind. That experience made it one of my favorite libraries, along with Schlow Library in State College, PA where I spent many hours as an undergraduate pouring over children’s literature.

Naomi: Favorite book?
Amy: For children’s books, I adore Patricia Polacco. Her heartfelt stories often incorporate family history or photographs with her beautiful illustrations. Students I taught years ago can still retell her stories. For adult fiction, I have read everything by Alice Hoffman. Her lyrical writing instantly puts me in mind of fairytales. I sometimes have to put her books down before finishing the last few pages as I hate to see her stories end. Then there are Margaret Atwood, Anita Shreve, Bill Bryson, Tim Cahill, Douglas Adams, Kaye Gibbons,…

Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Amy: As the children’s librarian in a very rural community, I created a blog called Reading is the Bees Knees. I used it to promote the storytimes I organized and presented at the library. I also posted fingerplays, interesting programs in the area, booklists, and additional resources relating to child development and family activities. It was exciting using technology to inform patrons in an area where DSL was just making headway!

Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Amy: Job hunting can be very frustrating, sometimes daunting. I believe, though, that the right job presents itself at the right time. Having just recently moved and rejoined the rank of the unemployed…I have to believe that!

Amy Dittman has worked as a teacher in a Montessori school, a Catholic elementary school, a vocational high school, and an alternative education high school. She also had a wonderful time as a children’s librarian in a small rural town. Currently getting settled five hours from her previous home, she is busy trying to find a niche in her new community as well as creating a new home library to house her family’s 5,000+ book collection. For Christmas, she received the next two collections of the 1960s television show Dark Shadows, so she will also be happily updating her blog The Dark Shadows of Unemployment. She is very excited in her photo to be holding an actual Newberry medal.

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (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.com. INALJ has had over 19.5 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 has also written for the 2011, 2012 & 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro. She presents whenever she can, most recently thrice at the American Library Association's Annual Conference as well as breakout talk presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa and as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting, at the National Press Club, McGill University, the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. 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 has relocated to being nomadic. She runs her husband’s moving labor website, KhanMoving.com, fixes and sells old houses and assists her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food as well. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. 

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