Jeanne Kramer-Smyth …In Six

My interview with Jeanne, blogger at Spellbound Blog

Naomi: What is your dream job and why?
Jeanne: I am lucky that my current position is pretty close to my dream job. I wanted a position in which I could combine my experience and interests, bringing together my strong tech background, training and interest in archives and my desire to reach out and help people find what they need. In my current position at the World Bank I am doing exactly that!

Naomi: What blogs should we be reading?
Jeanne: This is a hard one. I do follow a number of blogs on my RSS feed reader, but honestly I find most of the blog posts I read these days via Twitter – often including the ones I follow anyway since I follow the author’s twitter feeds as well.

Here are a few I usually manage to keep up to date with:

Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Jeanne: I have been to some amazing and stunning libraries around the world, but my favorite one has to be the one in which I first discovered my love for reading: Reed Memorial Library in Carmel, NY.

Here is their blurb on the library’s history:

Dedicated in 1914, the Library was built by Arrietta Crane Reed as a memorial to her husband, William Belden Reed, an early Literary Union supporter. The Library is constructed of native stone with beautiful marble trim. The interior features a large rotunda, hardwood paneling, two fireplaces and original oak furnishings.

Naomi: Favorite book(s)?
Jeanne: My two favorite fiction authors are Marge Piercy and Lois McMaster Bujold. My two favorite non-fiction authors are Scott Rosenberg and Malcolm Gladwell. I read constantly, on paper, my Kobo eReader and via audio book.

Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries?
Jeanne: Is ‘free books’ too easy an answer? If so, I will add in the supportive people and extensive digital resources. And the smell of books – sad but true!

Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Jeanne: Connect with like minded colleagues around the world and build a ‘brand’. I know that sounds a little hokey, but the more you have a public profile people can wrap their heads around, the easier it will be to network and convince people you are the right person for the job.

There are a lot of ways to accomplish this these days including:
– following and interacting with others on Twitter
– attending gatherings and meeting new people. A few ideas: happy hour of a local group, a THATcamp, tours of other institutions near you and local or international conferences
– write a blog and interact with other bloggers. I wrote an entire case study on how writing a blog can be a career development activity:

Jeanne started her career working with databases and developing custom software for Oracle. Fifteen years later she found a position at Discovery Communications and took advantage of their education reimbursement program to pursue her Masters in Library Science at the University of Maryland, choosing the Archives, Records & Information Management concentration. She started writing Spellbound Blog in the summer of 2006 as an outlet for her desire to follow certain ideas further than her coursework allowed. She was pleasantly surprised to find a burgeoning archives blogging community and credits her blog for much of her success in shifting careers from database software developer to electronic records archivist.

When not thinking deep archives thoughts, Jeanne spends time with family and friends, reads, writes, plays games and creates (sculpture, jewelry, games and websites).

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list (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 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,, 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.