Rebecca Halpern …In Six

Naomi: What made you interested in blogging for Hack Library School?
Rebecca: I became interested in blogging for HLS because I read the blog and loved what they’re doing. There are a lot of valid complaints and criticisms about LIS education and as much as I love complaining, if I don’t share my thoughts and do something about it, I just get frustrated. I was inspired by the group of writers thinking and engaging with LIS curriculum and I’m so glad to be a part of it.

Naomi: Are there other blogs or resources you can recommend?
Rebecca: I became interested in blogging for HLS because I read the blog and loved what they’re doing. There are a lot of valid complaints and criticisms about LIS education and as much as I love complaining, if I don’t share my thoughts and do something about it, I just get frustrated. I was inspired by the group of writers thinking and engaging with LIS curriculum and I’m so glad to be a part of it.

My RSS feed is loooong, but some of my favorites are In the Library with a Lead Pipe, Library Journal, Librarian by Day, GradHacker, and my fellow HLSers’ blogs.

Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Rebecca: I don’t think I have a favorite library! I don’t get to do a lot of for-fun traveling, but next time I do I’ll be sure to check out the destination’s library!

Naomi: Favorite book?
Rebecca: You know you can’t ask a librarian for a favorite book without getting a list: Anything by Margaret Atwood, but particularly “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Wilderness Tips;” “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver; and “The Hunger Games Trilogy” by Suzanne Collins.

Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Rebecca: One thing I love about libraries is that its one of the few spaces left where you’re not inundated with advertisements and pressure to buy things. When studying social media, you learn that when something is free, you are usually whats being sold; not true in libraries! Its an honest-to-goodness free space for people to learn, spend time alone, form communities, or get out from the cold (or heat, in the case of Austin).

Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Rebecca: I’m in the midst of job hunting so I don’t know how much wisdom I have in the matter, but the most important thing I’ve realized so far is to be honest about your skills, weaknesses, and wants. Don’t apply for everything–its exhausting and unrealistic. Do your research into the types of organizations you want to work for and make sure you’re only sending out applications to the places you’d be a good fit. Focus your efforts into the jobs you really feel suited for, in places you’d really like to be.


I’m Rebecca Halpern, a second-year MSIS student at the University of Texas at Austin. I’m focusing on librarianship, particularly outreach and instruction services to high-needs populations and youth. I have a background in social work and research, which makes my part-time jobs a good fit; I’m a youth services intern at Austin Public Library in a program to promote technology among low-income youth and a virtual reference librarian at the University of Texas. When I’m not working, I’m hanging out with my boyfriend and dog, cooking, watching movies, and trying to get better at crafting.

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (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, Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ.com. In just over a year and a half she’s had over 5 Million page hits and helped over 1,500 librarians 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 400,000 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 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. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has relocated to New Orleans, LA. 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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