Amanda Fensch …In Six

My interview with Girls in the Stacks Amanda!

Naomi: What made you interested in blogging for or starting Girls in the Stacks?:
Amanda: I’d been reading the blog for some time and always thought the ladies of GiTS were funny and interesting. I also really liked the fact that they predominantly reviewed YA lit, which has been my choice of reading material for the last couple of years. When I saw a posting in late January this year for help with their blog content and getting to post reviews, I jumped on it.

Naomi: Are there other blogs or resources you can recommend?:
Amanda: Definitely be reading Sarah Houghton’s blog, The Librarian in Black. I can’t recommend her enough – she’s scary smart and not afraid to voice her opinions about what’s going on in the library and publishing world. I would also definitely recommend the Swiss Army Librarian, Brian Herzog’s blog about library work. Also add to your reading list Agnostic, Maybe by Andy Woodworth, In the Library with the Lead Pipe, David Lee King’s blog, and Designing Better Libraries.

As far as other resources go, follow librarians and libraries on Facebook, Twitter, and G+. There are huge circles of librarians of all flavors on G+ and I’ve had some of the best interactions with other professionals and to – be professionals on that site. Secondly, get your hands on professional publications and journals. I find the prices charged for many of the books put out by ALA and its divisions a little hard to swallow for my personal collection (especially when many of my interests lie in technology and social media, which changes insanely quickly), so I borrow them from libraries in our consortium. If your library isn’t subscribing to professional journals, see if you can reach out and find someone who would be willing to send you their old copies.

And if you want a new perspective on the faces of libraries, be checking out This is What a Librarian Looks Like. We are a creative, funny, fabulous bunch!

Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Amanda: Sadly, I’ve not been to many libraries outside of my state since I haven’t done a lot of traveling (yet). But as far as what I’ve seen here, Columbus Metropolitan Library, the main building in downtown Columbus, Ohio, is so amazing. It’s a wonderful mix of beautiful architecture, well – maintained collections, and despite its size, a rather comfortable atmosphere.

Naomi: Favorite book?:
Amanda: Ugh, THIS question! If you forced me (and I do mean forced, like my life depended on it or something similar) to pick my favorite book, I would have to go with Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. That book got me through so many tough points when I was a kid and I have many, many fond memories of wrapping myself in Silverstein’s humor and enthusiasm.

Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?:
Amanda: Things are always changing! We’re at this point in time where technology and innovation are doing amazing things and I love getting my hands on new pieces of stuff to play with. But there’s a caveat with technology in libraries that many of us already know but need to make heard in the outside world – technology is still not going to write that seven page report on William Shakespeare for you, not if you care about copyright and finding good resources. I don’t care how fast Google is, you can’t replace solid knowledge and research skills with a search engine. Librarians are awesome like that, and the more we adapt and understand about how technology affects us, the better we can serve those who come to us.

Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?:
Amanda: If you are new to the field and don’t have a lot of experience under your belt in libraries, read everything you can get your hands on. Job experience is important, but I’ve been in many interviews where what I knew about what was going on in the library field turned out to be more important than what I had actually done in a library environment. Think outside the box when searching for jobs, too. Many private businesses are looking for people who have the organizational, indexing, and research skills that only librarians bring to the table.

If you are looking for a new job or atmosphere after a few (or maybe many) years of library work, don’t limit yourself to just your specialty. If there is something you have wanted to get involved with concerning another bracket of the field, do your homework. Get talking to librarians online, read the blogs and websites and printed publications, and know your stuff. That will be a big help when you’re putting together resumes, cover letters, and ideas for questions you might be asked in an interview.

I spend my days as a picture book – wielding Children’s Librarian who also works with all kinds of crazy fun technology and has a tendency to talk to herself when she’s concentrating. I have a huge collection of books and I’m always adding to it, since I’m a voracious reader. I also review for VOYA, contribute to the Closed Stacks blog, and I’m having a great time as the newest member of Girls in the Stacks! When I’m not reading, you can find me hanging out with my fabulous husband, playing with my three cats, walking in parks, snapping photos, and listening to my beloved Foo Fighters.

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 18.5 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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