3 Off-the-Beaten-Paths to Librarianship

by Claire Schmieder, Senior Editor
previously published 5/23/13

3 Off-the-Beaten-Paths to Librarianship

Claire.SchmiederLibrarians have so many amazing skills, all of which are transferrable into any number of careers. If you’re having trouble finding a traditional library job, maybe it’s time to start searching for less conventional, but equally as rewarding, positions. Here is a tree-tops view of three positions in which any librarian could flourish.

You could be an Information Scientist.

Information scientists organize data (typically in electronic format) and make it accessible to the users in a variety of environments, like universities, corporations, and hospitals. Though a solid understanding of technology is certainly important, this job isn’t just about databases, programming, or computer networks. Information scientists show the path between statistics/data and their use in everyday life.

For more information, see the Association for Information Science and Technology’s (ASIS&T) website.

Or, you could easily use your skills as a Knowledge Manager.

Knowledge Managers are usually found in corporate settings. Their main responsibilities center on acquiring, organizing, storing, sharing, and using knowledge. It’s also about transforming plain old data (i.e. facts and figures) into knowledge that helps companies make better products, provide better services, and, yes, make more money. Media, public health, and public policy are just a few fields that employ knowledge managers.

Visit the Knowledge Management Professional Society (KMPro) website to gain further insight.

Perhaps you’d make an outstanding Records Manager.

Records Managers are typically found in corporate settings, but these positions also show up in archives and the federal government. Records Managers efficiently control creating, receiving, maintaining, providing access to, and disposing of an organization’s records. They often write disaster recovery plans, too.

ARMA International is the professional organization for information governance. Browse their website for more details on records management.

These are just three examples of alternative careers for librarians. To find more, try using the INALJ keyword list (look to your left) in larger job databases or aggregators like Indeed or Simply Hired.

For more discussion of this topic, please see:

How to Become a 21st-Century Librarian

61 Non-Librarian Jobs for LIS Grads

And see the Keywords for Job Searching on the left sidebar on INALJ.com

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 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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  4 comments for “3 Off-the-Beaten-Paths to Librarianship

  1. August 11, 2014 at 8:55 am

    I have a question about this. I would like to broaden my search as I know jobs for public librarians are scare. However, since I did an internship at a public library, I wonder how easy it would be to apply for these other types of positions. I guess what I’m asking is, if you focused on public librarianship during library school and your electives and (little) work experience focus on that, then is it practical to apply for a position as an information manager, etc.?

    • August 11, 2014 at 10:02 am

      Outside the box employers have no idea about the specificity of libraries that we know- meaning they think all libraries are public or academic- so they won’t see that as a drawback. What you have to sell them on is NOT the library experience because they don’t know what we do exactly- but the skills you have that fit their needs. Company execs and lawyers are very much like the public- they might have short turn around times, get agitated fast- so reference and research skills are also very transferable.

  2. dan cawley
    August 7, 2014 at 11:22 am

    You can also become a “Futurist!”

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