by Nicole Usiondek, former INALJ Michigan Head Editor
Volunteering for INALJ
I’m sure many of you are wondering what it is like to volunteer for I Need a Library Job. I can tell you it is an experience that I am so grateful for and have not regretted once. As a Head Editor I spend most days networking and learning about the library community in Michigan. There are many days I wish I had more time to spend on networking, but overall I feel like I have met a lot of people and am more connected to my field than ever before.
If you are considering volunteering for INALJ, but are not sure what to expect here are things you should know: with the exceptions of emails and a Facebook page, you do not have a lot of contact with other volunteers, coordinators or the founder. This does not mean that you are on your own. The vast majority of people associated with this organization are smart, driven and accessible. You can email the founder, Naomi House, at any time and she will get back to you; and you can reach out to fellow editors and they offer advice and support too. It is a very nurturing community. However, if you are the type of person who likes to do things in your own way or like to be micromanaged – this is not the gig for you.
Naomi is a very smart, understanding person. She does all of this for the library community for free. She does not profit and she donates hours of her time on a daily basis. She cares about INALJ. I have found her to be very clear, supportive and a wonderful person to work with and I am happy to have a person like this in my network. Naomi means it when she states that INALJ is a positive place and she makes sure that it stays that way. She is very clear about her expectations and comes to you if she thinks there is room for improvement. However, she will not micromanage you and if she finds she is continually spending time checking on you or discussing things that are not quite right, she will terminate your volunteer tenure.
Naomi understands this is a brand and it does need to have structure and guidelines. These guidelines are very clear and if something does not make sense, Naomi will take the time to explain it or rewrite things so they make sense. Naomi has stated that she realizes that the public would like other features, but the truth is because INALJ is free and worked on by volunteers, there is only so much that can be done. She also wants continuity on the pages and this is why she has created guidelines.
I will not be returning in 2014, because work will be busy next year and I know that I will not be able to provide the time the Michigan page deserves. Plus, I had such a great experience doing this I want to allow someone else to have the personal and professional growth that I have had the good fortune to experience. Volunteering for INALJ has been easily one of the best career choices I have ever made. I want to thank Naomi for creating a community like this and for also caring about this field enough to create this site.