Why I Quit My Library Job and Why I No Longer Want One

by Naomi House, MLIS

Why I Quit My Library Job and Why I No Longer Want One

Naomi House 2014I have worked in libraries for the last ten years but as of December 2013 I have been working only outside of libraries doing my other job, renovating and selling old houses, and forming a new partnership.  I have mentioned before that in October 2013 I lost my job as the Reference, Acquisitions and Marketing Librarian at a federal library during the government shutdown.  I was not just furloughed; our contract was not renewed.  It came as a surprise and I hold no-one in particular to blame, the furlough made a mess for everyone in our process of renewal.  I was a government contractor and appreciate all the efforts of my company, other librarians in our field advocating for us, as well as the fantastic government employees who resolved everything swiftly and had us all hired back within the month.  Truly everyone went to bat not only for our collection but for our jobs and I have nothing to say but good things for the resolution.  So yes, I lost my job but was rehired within a month.

Whew, right?  Um, yeah, definitely maybe.

I cannot remember many times in my adult life where I did not hold down multiple jobs.  INALJ (formerly titled I need a Library job) and INALJ.com were founded in 2010 when I found my first Librarian job half-way through my Master’s program at Rutgers online.  It was only advertised on the DC/SLA and CUA student listservs and I wanted a way to share jobs I found with my classmates.  Not only was I still taking 3 classes a semester and working full time but my husband, Sana Khan, and I had begun renovating houses and so I was doing that in the evenings, along with INALJ.  I loved staying busy and having another source of income because government contracting can be unreliable.  I know now that this other income stream and all the hard work behind it would be vital in giving me a choice in what I did work-wise.

So why did I quit?

  • Fixing Houses: working fixing houses and saving that income allowed me a choice to go back and stay or leave- this was key- though it wasn’t much saved it was enough to give me a choice    #mih
  • Travel:  I wanted to travel more and the job simply would not allow it     #yolo
  • Not that into what the job had become:  I loved being a reference librarian but after significant staff cuts I was doing more acquisitions and finding that I did not enjoy that aspect as much    #notthemoneyperson
  • There is Always Retail:  no seriously, I have done years of retail and customer service work and if I need money to pay the bills there are always places hiring in major cities and I have experience and could make an OK wage, temporarily.  Retail and part time would give me flexibility the 9-5 library job I had would not    #yesIwould
  • Opportunity for Someone New:  this was what excited me the most.  I was in the position for 3 years and gained such fantastic experience and I was excited for someone new to come into the job and learn and make it their own.  I actually came back for a few weeks to help them transition and to do one last search.  We found someone terrific who is leaving their mark and making the work environment better every day  #newlibrarian
  • Oh yes, and I had already bought a house in New Orleans:  our last house had sold and we were looking for a new opportunity.  I had no idea that I was going to be rehired so my husband and I set out on a road trip to Houston (from DC) and on the way back discovered that New Orleans had more potential.  We looked for and found an investment house to buy in this still affordable city   #househouse

So I quit because I had just enough saved to live on for a bit, the flexibility to move, the desire for travel to be a priority in my life, because someone new in that position would make the whole library better, and I always have my retail experience to fall back on in the meantime.  My passion is still there for libraries and librarians, I have just shifted into a new role/roles.  My case is not typical at all and luck and hard work both played a part.  I can say with certainty that if I had not lost my job I might not have taken the chance that I did, and I am happier for having made this leap.  It has been stressful at times and in ways but I am still glad I can organize my days as I see fit, now.

So why don’t I want another library job?

  • I Love Doing Something Else More: Since I left my job I have been able to focus on networks and partnerships beyond libraries and I have at least one partnership that has been formed that I am looking forward to putting some time into.  I love being at the house when renovations are taking place, not just at night, and being able to contribute more to this business.  Being able to build other businesses is something I am passionate about.  Connecting librarians to businesses that can hopefully create jobs for them is the dream!
  • Better Librarians Than I Are Unemployed or Underemployed: I am a huge fan of following many LIS professionals on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest & Tumblr) and so many are struggling to find meaningful employment that pays the bills.  Also working on INALJ for nearly four years has made me aware of how horrible the situation for librarian job hunters is.  I learn so much from them and feel that I only want to take positions where I truly am a best fit, and there simply are none in the field that I qualify for.  Really and truly and I am OK with this.  The good luck in all of this is that at least if anyone asks if I know of someone for a position I always have a few people in mind.  I do not feel right holding down a job in a library that I am not passionate about, when I strongly believe that someone else deserves that position.  I’d rather be a connector and work with businesses and HR folks creating jobs for librarians (my dream job).
  • Energy and Health:  My health has improved since leaving the job- my blood sugar is down, I no longer use a CPAP machine at night, etc.  I do not miss the 2 hours commuting each day, waking up early or collapsing on weekends.  I like having more time to be physically active for hours on end.  I also do not miss the winters in DC at all, but I do miss DC and the fantastic librarian community there.

Sometimes I know it must seem like INALJ is all I do as I am very visible and update the page daily or RT/Share on Facebook and Twitter.  It isn’t.  My dream is to help librarians and others in our field find jobs, whether in traditional libraries or outside the box using our various skill-sets.  Back in 2007 when so many librarians lost their jobs many of those jobs were in smaller libraries and special libraries.  I have joined and participate actively in many business associations because I would love to see those positions come back and libraries and information centers re-integrated into these businesses and non-profits.  I love that now I have the time to attend online webinars, chats and TweetChats with CEOs and people who are in the HR world, because my long term goal for INALJ isn’t just a long list of jobs, but to help create jobs.  Spending my time on this is well worth it if even one new position gets created. I believe this very strongly.
I don’t have the desire for a traditional library job anymore because I believe I am better at being a library advocate outside the job.  I still love working with and consulting libraries, librarians, vendors and others in related fields and this is what I am focused on now.   I have worked hard but I have also been lucky and certainly luck as well as privilege has played a role in my life.  I want to acknowledge this clearly.  I am not deserving of the life I lead but I want to use my time to help this community I really feel a part of no matter what my title is.  This is why I quit my job, why I no longer want a library job, but also why I still very much want to serve this field as best I can.  I <3 librarians, library staff and information professionals and hope that I am able to help some of you find jobs.  I believe that this is how I can best use my time 🙂


Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular LIS jobs resource 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 20 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 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 now lives part time in Western NY and Budapest, Hungary. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. 


  74 comments for “Why I Quit My Library Job and Why I No Longer Want One

  1. Cynthia Porter
    August 30, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I was just thinking about writing a blog with a similar title. My story is different, though. Thank you.

    I worked away from libraries for a while and that made me really miss them. It was a good experience and helped me focus more on my goals as a librarian now. 🙂 I have lived and learned!

  2. Loudes Franch
    August 22, 2014 at 11:45 am


    Thank you very much for sharing with us. I graduated two years ago and still having problems to fin a job. Sometimes I thing that I’m in the wrong profession, but I was born to be a librarian.On my resume, sometimes I thought about not mentioning that speak 3 languages (English, Spanish, Italian).

    I thought about getting a language certificate, but I need the experience and the money to pay for the class.

    My other plan is to get on online Medical Coding certificate, but I need the experience as well.

    My other plan is to get a certificate as Minister of Communion to help others spiritually.

    Thank you in advance for your time.

    Lourdes Franch, MLIS

  3. Amy W.
    August 19, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Thank you for your article. Your article is very relevant and appropriate for me right now because I am wondering what being a librarian means and what it entails. I didn’t work as as librarian for ten years, but I worked as a librarian assistant for more than ten years. Ironically, I just finished my MLIS last year and only now I’m questioning what my next direction should be. And thank you for your honesty about how there are other librarians that are “better” librarians than you. Good luck and I wish you the best in your future endeavours.

  4. August 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    It’s enlighteining reading all of your posts here since they evidence such an awareness of your work environments and how you fit into them according to your skills, your production and your interests. And when an interviewer doesn’t appreciate your special qualifications, remember it’s his/her organization’s loss. Sometimes interviewers are so focused on the job description, that seeing the possibilities that arise in an interview can be impossible.

    I don’t know what MLS skillset does NOT fit into any job beyond libraryland… and viceversa…a flight attendant with an MLS…seems to me like someone I can imagine hiring. Although in realityI can’t …since I’m minimally employed part-time as a lifebrarian A.K.A public librarian. Yet I’m content. I’ve searched this amazing INALJ tool for years, thinking I might seek employment elsewhere. I found many possibilities but have decided to continue working right where I am. For it provides me with time and opportunities to advocate for lifebraries and lifebrarians. And I’m glad that so many of you here have the desire and freedom to do similarly.

    Lastly, I send a huge thank you to Naomi and her extensive cadre of editors for providing this amazing web site! Not only is this a wonderful tool for finding employment, but it gives a valuable overview of what kinds of positions can be filled by MLS achievers today. I’ve searched both nationally and beyond, found many possibilities, and then searched local living accommodations. Although I did some actual travel to physically explore locations, and on occasion drafted cover letters and registered with sites, I sheepishly admit that I don’t remember ever sending even one of those letters. Yet I had been able to explore so much due to the daily efforts organized so conveniently here. Connecting so often to this constantly updated treasure trove of info is invaluable. It connects me with so many others and it’s brought me a greater confidence for the work that I do . I remain grateful.

  5. Warren
    August 17, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I found your article enlightening and enjoyable. I too left a library job after ten years, and not because I did not like it, I just felt stale and wanted to do other things. I felt stale at the job because while I enjoyed it I had been in the same position for ten years, and because it was a small stand alone law library I could not see any on the horizon any growth potential, so I left.

    The thing is I really enjoyed working with and teaching the students, and after a number of years, from time to time I would look into other positions and invariably would be asked why I left my employment, and I would tell the truth and I could almost feel the questioner giving me the skunk eye through the phone. They would also ask me what I had been doing since I left my last job, at first I told them the truth and said I had retired, but because I was still in my 40s when I left that position again with the skunk eye, perhaps I should explain to them that I am a frugal person with excellent research skills, and I applied the research skill I developed as a reference librariaIn to investing my excess income, to the point that I could retire at 48, but that is none of their business. On the other hand as someone who is gifted with Asbergers, I simply do not understand the point of these questions, or how they relate to whether or not I am qualified to teach or research, which probably results in my giving the wrong answer to the question posed by the interviewer(s). For example, last year a friend sent me an email about a position at her library, I had not been looking for a position, but it was in a local library, and in my (sub) field so I applied, After a phone interview and a day long campus visit, where at one point the director questioned me why there was a gap between my graduating college and my work history, ( I explained to her that I had been employed, but as it was in an unrelated field and was 20 years ago I did not think it relevant), any way after all of that I met again with the director, and was told they would get back to me, I did not hear from them for 5 months not even en email until I mentioned to my friend how unprofessional it was to have some one come in for a campus interview and to not get back to them.

    However like you I decided to focus my skills elsewhere, currently I am applying myself to the commodities market. However I do check out your job pages from time to time, because as I said I do miss working with and teaching students.

  6. Colleen
    August 15, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    It is amazing how wonderful articles like yours are found just when they are needed! Thank you for that! A few months ago i left my full-time para library job with 10 years of service to be a sub librarian for the same organization. What a massive relief to finally be a librarian..if only intermittent. Or so i thought. I too am wondering if i am truly meant to do this. Although i love the flexibility, i worry because i dont feel the passion i once did. I am now struggling with finding my next passion in life. At any rate, thank you for sharing your experiences, i truly appreciate it!

  7. Lina
    August 10, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Thanks Naomi for this post! I could not agree more with your post and I still feel you are a librarian at heart. You were just able to transfer all those skills and love for the field in different ways. This blog and library advocation in general are those ways.

    I have seen librarians burn out from the stress from the ever increasing roles and responsibilities they take on and often without appreciation from upper management and presumptuous journalists. So I totally understand why you left the traditional library roles.

    I currently am a paraprofessional and have worked for libraries almost 10 years. I recently I received my MIS and hoped to get into a professional position so that one day I can leave the traditional library role and work from outside as my own boss as well! Hopefully I can figure out what that is. Thanks again for the post.

  8. Tanya Taff
    August 7, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Hi Naomi, this is Tanya Taff. I forget to check the emails in Outlook. I thought I had done a great job of filtering emails, sending them to “folders” there, but then I forget that they exist. Before I did this, I thought I’d click on the latest one and it led me to LinkedIn. It’s great seeing a real picture of you and of reading of your background. Thanks so much for sharing your past work experience. I’ve learned an awful lot about how difficult it is for people with library degrees or those who are in the midst of earning them primarily through LinkedIn. I think I’ll have to post a note next to computer that says check groups three to four time a week. Thanks again for establishing this group.

  9. Robbin
    August 4, 2014 at 8:29 am

    I have been laid off from my Boston job for a month now and was thrilled to find your website. While I’m having no luck yet, I really found your article incredibly relevant and inspiring. It’s scary out there, especially if you only have yourself to rely on, you don’t really want to relocate, and your age might be a factor. I’ve enjoyed reading all the responses as well and if anyone lives in MA/RI and wants to form a support group, let me know!!! Professional organizing anyone?

  10. Jennifer Feldman
    August 3, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Hi Naomi,
    We never personally met. I graduated in August 2013 with my MLIS degree. I worked for 8 months in a part-time research analyst position until being laid off without notice. I am currently in the job market once again. Would it be possible to connect by phone sometime?

    • August 3, 2014 at 6:34 pm


      We can email 🙂 I don’t really do phone calls with any pleasure, lol naomi.house at inalj.com Drop me a line for sure!


  11. Gretchen
    August 1, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Oh Naomi,

    I am so sorry to hear that you no longer want to work as a librarian. I totally understand why you feel this way and if you have found something that brings you more joy then by all means, good for you. If you are just tired of the constant rejections, and not finding the kind of full-time work that really pays the bills, then I would just say that I understand but please don’t give up. I almost gave up twice after being out of library school for three years (since 2011) and coming so close on interviews but not getting the job. But finally I did get a job and will begin work as a school librarian in the Fall. INALJ helped me so much in achieving this. Not just the incredible job listing resource, but the articles have been so, so helpful in many ways. It was good to know I was not alone in this crazy job market/job search conundrum. Many of the articles truly inspired me not to give up and in fact, I think I will be a much better librarian because of INALJ.

    WIth your background, your presentations, and the establishment of this board, I know that you will eventually get a librarian position, but maybe this is not the time. Just don’t rule it out altogether. There is nothing wrong with taking a break.

    • August 3, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      That is very kind of you!

      But I meant what I wrote- I don’t apply for jobs so I don’t get rejections and I am truly much happier. 10 years in the field and I know what I want and it is to run my own life, not have an employer 🙂 But glad for librarians who do do that work and find it fulfilling 🙂

  12. Laura Rice
    July 31, 2014 at 8:12 am

    One of the best posts I have read. And everyone’s comments were telling and helpful. Thank you.

  13. Jill Strass
    July 30, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Hi Naomi, I am so bummed that you need to leave the profession. Many thanks for creating INALJ as I have used it a lot in my year-long search. If anyone can make an impact, I think you can!. Please help HR and hiring managers see the hidden gold in librarians. I am proud that we have librarianship in common!

    Sending you positive health and prosperity vibes, and a good life in the Big Easy.

    • July 30, 2014 at 11:07 pm

      You are so kind! 🙂 The good news is I am leaving because I want to more so than need to 🙂 Phew, it does make a difference. And I will still be in ALA, SLA and working with libraries- just not at a library, which means one more job for someone else. That made me so happy. Thanks so much! 🙂

      • Jill Strass
        July 31, 2014 at 11:21 am

        I was watching your career and so hoping to hear that you made it into a leadership role in the library field, so when I read that you are leaving Libraryland, especially after your extraordinary online success with INALJ, I was saddened because folks like you are the future of the profession.

        Anyhoo, I just wanted you to know that I know that you made a choice, and you have my support.

  14. July 30, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    great article Naomi! Although, the part about how terrible the Library job market is really hit home-stills searching after over a year. Best of luck in your new endeavors.

    • July 30, 2014 at 11:05 pm

      Thanks! It sure does stink but I don’t think it is dying thank goodness. Just rough and so many, Many great applicants for each job! Super hopeful for you!

  15. Rita Bueter
    July 30, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Thank you so much for this! I also am a librarian of 30+ years and looking for something, at this point anything! My contract ended last September and, although I had full confidence in my abilities when I went into this position, I’m not so sure now. Some of it has to do with new technologies, but not all. I would be happy to move out of the field, but have no idea where to move. Every job I see has “specialist” attached to it. The other day a company sent me an email saying they felt my resume perfectly matched the job of lawn specialist. What is a lawn specialist? Why, the person who comes out to apply fertilizer to your lawn of course! And I am a perfect match for this! Hmmm, I’m pretty sure that somewhere in my resume it says “has never, ever done lawn or gardening tasks!” I just don’t know what I can do that will help me pay my mortgage, eat, and help my daughter through college…

    • July 30, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      Oh my goodness I feel your pain on the recruiters! The ones who are on cattle calls – I tell them firmly that I know they have not looked at my resume because I have no experience in (insurance, medical lab equipment sales, you name it) and to do themselves a favor and actually look at the resumes… I don’t get call backs for bad jobs at least, lol.

      The good news is that though rare I do know people who have been hired by recruiters for LIS jobs off of Monster. Not I have heard of people, but actual humans I know- so there is hope. The trick is updating your resume on there monthly. Also have you been in touch with recruiters in your area. Good luck!

  16. Carrie Ann Dye
    July 30, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Thank you for your honesty. After 30 plus years working as a librarian, I have seen a lot of changes. Most were good. The last 5 to 10 years were not so good. In the area where I live, there are hundreds of applications for every job. For those working, job responsibilities grow exponentially. Burn-out follows. (The manager where I worked once suggested youth staff escort wheelchair bound patrons into the restroom- until I pointed out the liability! ) I am out of the business now. I still love librarians and librarianship and I do miss the kids. I don’t miss multitasking. I have a lot of ideas of what has gone wrong in libraryland. I don’t think it is just the downturn of the economy ; but I will not delve into that at this point.

    • July 30, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      I hear you 🙂 wow, the stories you could tell, I bet! Someday someone will write a fantastic tv show or book all about the real lives of librarians. Thanks so much for you nice words!

  17. July 30, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    What a great blog post Naomi–one of the best that I’ve seen about the job market and opportunities for library professionals in a long time! I have been a librarian for a long time (20+ years) and one of the enduring myths about the profession is there is a shortage of librarians. The simple truth is in almost every type of library/library system in the country there are people working with professional degrees working in paraprofessional positions waiting for their opportunity. Many people with professional positions are worried about keeping their jobs. In both types of situations, people tend to put up with less than ideal working conditions. It’s important that librarians hear that they are not stuck and that there is vocational satisfaction outside of conventional library jobs.

    • July 30, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      Thank you! I have had some flack on social media with people thinking that I am over-reaching, but I would rather have too many ‘reach’ jobs and help someone find one, than have someone miss a great chance 🙂 Thanks so much for your kind words!

  18. July 30, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Thanks Naomi – I’ve been in a horse race with PT adjunct librarianship at an academic library on the one hand, and a small book conservation/book binding business on the other, and have been surprised that the business has been steadily growing to the point that I’ve been reducing hours at the library. Feeling a bit guilty about having invested so heavily in my MLIS, but having it does enhance my business – other regional libraries are much more likely to use my services than before I had it! I’ve been a follower of yours since the beginning, but now I’m happy to say that like you, I don’t think I need it anymore.

  19. July 30, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Oh thank you for this post. I quit my traditional library job with a government contractor this January to stay home with our baby. I can so relate to your thoughts especially about feeling passionate about the job and to be honest. I had been thinking about leaving the field for awhile. I love libraries but I don’t want to work I one. I like your thoughts on being an advocate.

  20. Peggy Garvin
    July 30, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Not that you need it, but you have my full support (and we should talk).

  21. MFN
    July 30, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Thank Naomi for this wonderful post. I think you express the sentiments that a lot of us in the library field have but aren’t able to do anything about them for various reasons.

    Personally, I am currently struggling with the decision to stick out in my job for a little longer (for financial reasons) so I can secure another job before I leave or quit now and worry about finding another job later. I wish I could quit now, but with the job market in my geographic area being so competitive, I am worry that I may not be able to find another full time position. Financial reasons is a big part of why I have not left my library job yet. I can’t relocate, so that is a huge barrier for me. I finally got this full time position after working part time for several years post-library school, but there are some aspects of my job responsibilities I don’t enjoy. I love being a librarian, I am passionate about my field, but I am not passionate about my current position. When you reach a point where it is a struggle to get up in the morning to go to work or you feel unmotivated, and in essence, mentally “checked out” of your work place, you know it’s time to leave. I think my work place will be better off with someone who is really passionate about the position. This is not to say that I don’t love serving my community, because I do and they also contribute to my decision to stay around for a bit longer, but performing job responsibilities you don’t enjoy doing and being in a toxic work environment will, over time, drag anyone down little by little.

    Though colleagues keep telling me that I’m doing a good job, I constantly struggle with thinking that there are other librarians who can do a much better job than I can, and they are more qualified and are a better fit. I feel that I took this position out of financial necessity because I didn’t have any other options at the time and this was my break. I know there are other more qualified librarians seeking full time positions that would be better in this position than I am, and I do feel guilty for “hogging” this position. If I didn’t have student loans, or if I had another source of income, I would leave this position because I don’t think it’s fair to my work place to have someone who’s not motivated working there. It’s a disservice to myself and to them.

    I’m sorry for sounding long-winded, but I just needed to get this all off my chest. I am glad to know that I am not alone in some of these sentiments. Until I find another position, I will remain professional and try to do the best I can in my position and continue to provide the highest level of service I can to my patrons.

    Naomi, I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done for our field. You’ve given so much work and dedication to this invaluable resource and we can’t thank you enough for that. Best of luck to you on your journey, wherever it takes you!

    • July 30, 2014 at 11:21 am

      I completely understand your predicament and have been there myself. $ definitely matters which is why I called it “need” a library job. We need money to live on. I am so lucky that even if my positions and work life were not perfect I met some great people through SLA and ALA as well as through INALJ and Twitter. Good luck and thanks!

    • Liz
      July 30, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      MFN: I think you express something many in the field feel right now.

  22. July 29, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Thanks for sharing Naomi! I’m glad you have found work that makes you happy (I’m envious of your flexible schedule). 🙂 Glad to hear that you will stay connected to the library field. You are a great advocate, and I look forward to seeing how you continue to develop the INALJ resource.

    • July 30, 2014 at 11:22 am

      Awww thanks so much! I <3 librarians and libraries and I am still so glad I got my MLIS. Here is hoping luck is on our side convincing others of our value.

  23. July 29, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    You’ve done so much to help so many in the LIS field, and I have no doubt that the the city of New Orleans will benefit from your passion and altruistic ethic. This post really connected with me; the Crescent City is my favorite in the world…near & dear to my heart. And of course your efforts for those seeking meaningful employment in the library world are greatly appreciated!

    • July 30, 2014 at 11:24 am

      Thanks so much Michael! I feel like I am 50% New Orleans and 50% DC- now to get those frequent flyer miles…lol. Will write you back soon!

  24. July 29, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Thanks so much for this post! I still have some hope of working in a library but I know that there are a lot of people who are more qualified than me applying for all the same positions I’m applying for. I have a stay at home job that I found here on INALJ. I’m grateful for it as it provides some income and also allows me to have a flexible schedule.

    • July 30, 2014 at 11:30 am

      That is so nice to hear! And I will have my fingers crossed for you 🙂

  25. Kathleen Stewart
    July 29, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Thank you Naomi for such an insightful post. I have been in libraries for about 16 years (5 professionally) but I still feel that I am not qualified for most librarian positions. And like you, I am ok with this. In fact I am focusing my job search outside of traditional library work and I doubt I will feel guilty once I make the move.

    Best of luck to you and everyone else,


    • July 30, 2014 at 11:49 am

      Thanks Kathleen! I agree that we are capable of working in so many interesting fields! Fingers crossed you find a great fit.

  26. Chris
    July 29, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Hi! What a fantastic article! I got my MSLIS back in 08 and still have not been able to secure a perm FT library position. I was a floater for a time but there was barely any work so I resigned. You are spot on about there being vast numbers of under-employed or unemployed librarians.

    • July 30, 2014 at 11:51 am

      There sure are! And they need quality employment where they could make a difference. It is something our field is very much struggling with. Sending good vibes your way!

  27. Sara Stilley
    July 29, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    WOW that was great – I am at the frustrating end of things – 3 years with a MLIS and still a paraprofessional…now to be honest I am picky about where I will work and I have some strange skill sets so its not all the world’s fault – but I loved this post. I am a slave to the insurance – working for a large academic system it is a perk…but I love your courage and honesty about the whole thing and how you see your life and your contribution to the profession as not a cog! Thank you! I would write more but I don’t want to look like some loon or crazy stalker!!!

    • July 30, 2014 at 11:54 am

      Thanks! And isn’t that the truth- I stayed at so many less than ideal jobs just due to the insurance. It is no fun paying out of pocket and I worry month to month but it has been liberating. LOL- you seem nice and normal to me 🙂

  28. July 29, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Thank you Naomi, we need advocates!

    • July 30, 2014 at 11:55 am

      Thanks so much! Hoping I can be!

  29. July 29, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Great post! That was the reason I moved on from my last posting as well — feeling that I had learned so much, but that someone else would be a better fit for the institution and the patrons. I’d love to see an enthusiastic young librarian and my former students find their perfect match together!

    • July 30, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      It is one of those fantastic overlapping traits that I see in our field- enjoyment and excitement at seeing others succeed! <3 Thanks!

  30. Veda - INALJ Hawaii
    July 29, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Thanks for sharing this, Naomi. You are such an inspiration for those who want library jobs and those who maybe don’t.

    • July 30, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      Awww thanks so much Veda!!!! You are a very missed member of our team and hope all is well!

  31. Judy Atterholt
    July 29, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Congratulations, Naomi, on figuring out a work/life balance that works well for you and your family. It doesn’t sound like you are lolling around having foot massages all day, though, by any means! Thank you for sharing with us the not-so-straight path that brought you to where you are for the present.

    • July 30, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      LOL! Now THAT is the dream- I must look into the foot-massage receiver as career. maybe there is a school nearby that needs people 🙂 Thanks so much 🙂

  32. Ironic Cardigan
    July 29, 2014 at 11:27 am

    I share your feelings about loving libraries and the library community. I hope to continue to be part of the community for the rest of my life. I just took a non-librarian job after working part-time as a librarian since 2011, the year I got my MLIS. It is possible I will never work professionally as a librarian again and I’m ok with that. I would love to use my skills in a library again someday, but probably on the IT or systems side. Or even just a volunteer gig outside my normal full-time job. Getting the MLIS was a wonderful experience and I think it will always inform what I do, so it was well worth the time and the money. It renewed my passion for my previous work which was in software development. And like you, I think my exit from the library opened up a spot for a wonderful, talented paraprofessional to work full time and that’s very satisfying.

    I respect your commitment to the profession and the choices you have made. Thanks for your work and for sharing your journey.

    • July 30, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      We graduated the same year! 🙂 I am so happy to hear you are doing work you love- I think there is so much more that we can do and I am delighted to hear you found something. Thanks so much for your comments- they mean a lot 🙂

  33. Caity Bauer
    July 29, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Thanks for sharing, Naomi! You have a really interesting perspective and a great attitude!

    • July 30, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks so much! 🙂 Glad to share.

  34. Michelle
    July 29, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Thank you for writing this, Naomi. I am considering a similar move, and it is very interesting to hear your take on it. You have made a lot of interesting points about reasons not to come back to the profession but still maintain a connection to libraries and librarians, and I can’t begin to describe how timely your words are for this point in my own life!

    • July 30, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      I hope they helped! I have no worries about libraries finding great, qualified people to take our places as we work somewhere else 🙂 For that the field is lucky 🙂

  35. July 29, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Naomi, I can’t express how much I LOVE this piece. I’m an information services librarian, a newlywed, and someone who would like to be a mom in a few years. I’ve been struggling with guilt for really wanting to be a stay-at-home mama even though I hold a professional degree. Your points about preferences, passions, and library environments make me want to wave my hands in triumph! FInally! Someone articulated what I’m struggling with! This quote may be my favorite: “I don’t have the desire for a traditional library job anymore because I believe I am better at being a library advocate outside the job.” I couldn’t mirror this more! Thanks for sharing this!

    • July 30, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      Thanks!!! You know several of the INALJ editors have been stay-at-home parents including Shelley Macon and Emiily Guier 🙂 That sentence really does some up my POV and I am so excited about the future. 🙂

  36. July 29, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Thoughtful post, Naomi! As I have my sights on graduation in December, many people have asked me what I’m going to do next. I appreciate jewels like this that help me to think outside the box.

    • July 30, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Thanks so much and it was so great to meet and chat at ALA at the Hack Library School dinner. I am sooooooo impressed by what you have done with them and so excited to continue to follow you- stay in touch!

  37. Mary
    July 29, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Terrific post. Wish you all the best in New Orleans – I love your honesty and the untraditional path you took. Thank you for all you have done to help librarians who are job hunting! INALJ is terrific.

    • July 30, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      Thank you so much! I <3 what I do!

  38. July 29, 2014 at 10:39 am

    I am in a not-dissimilar position. I’ve had a number of library jobs and still fill in on occasion but for me the combination of wanting to live rurally but also having a lot of tech skills meant that the jobs that were available didn’t fit the skillset that I had. We have a great library in town but the staff (none of whom are really nearing retirement) all are big multi-taskers and I’m a much more narrowband person in terms of what I am good at and what I enjoy. So doing public speaking to libraries, tech instruction in adult education problems and (for the last ten years until recently) online community moderation have been a better fit. The work I do for Open Library is *technically* library work but has much more in common with community moderation than working in an actual library.

    • July 30, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      It is so great that you are doing more what your skillset is geared towards. And I think community moderation and the tech side is very much like what I want to do 🙂

  39. July 29, 2014 at 10:37 am

    There’s always retail! What I tell myself every time my husband talks about not working for awhile. Great post.

    • July 30, 2014 at 11:16 am

      LOL! I have come really close to working retail again twice. I actually got the call I got a circ job in Ithaca, NY as we were driving up to move there. But if I hadn’t my first stop would have been Wegmans to see if they needed night/weekend people.

  40. MissBee
    July 29, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Great Post!!!

    • July 29, 2014 at 10:29 am

      Thanks! 🙂

      • Mary C. Mathews
        July 29, 2014 at 11:06 am

        Thanks for your post. It’s nice for me to read your perspective. I’m just coming back to libraries after working as a fundraiser and administrator in the nonprofit sector for about 20 years. I have noticed, to my great disappointment, that many librarians and other library staff are unable to see beyond libraries and appreciate the skills and experiences gained elsewhere. There are many organizations outside of libraries that employ competent people with meaningful experiences and valuable skills. Not to mention the salaries in many cases are just ridiculous. I will continue to look for library jobs but will definitely keep my options open. Thanks, again, for sharing.

        • July 30, 2014 at 11:15 am

          Definitely! I know SLA has been a big help to me as an organization, but you are actually coming from a field that many librarians end up going into. We definitely need to see changes in HR and hiring managers seeing trasferable skills as holding value!

    • July 30, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      And it was so nice to meet you

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