Peter Szabo …Music Librarian

This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions

by Dawn Thompson, Head Editor, INALJ Ohio

Peter Szabo …Music Librarian

peterszDawn:  How did you find your job at the Music Librarian at Ohio Wesleyan University?
Peter:  The Music Library Association’s web site (  They have a list of current openings that relate to various kinds of music librarian positions.


Dawn: Tell us a little bit more about what a Music Librarian does?
Peter:  In my experience (Academic Librarianship) music librarians do a variety of things and often straddle both public and technical services, especially if a branch library is involved.  Music librarians also teach and provide reference assistance.  Teaching usually comes in the form of library instruction but can also involve music specific courses, like music appreciation or more advanced courses, especially if they have advanced degrees in music which many do.  Music librarians engage in collection development for many different formats: print (books, scores), recordings (physical and electronically streamed), electronic resources (article, scores, recordings).  Music librarians also often do cataloging which goes well with someone who has music expertise.  Lastly, music librarians often research and publish in music and/or library science.  Again, my description is in terms of academic music librarianship (which is what I do) but there are other types of music librarian positions – for Public libraries, Symphony orchestras, Radio stations, and more.


Dawn: Favorite library you have been to?
Peter:  New York Public Library; Ohio State’s newly renovated main library; University of Kentucky’s main library; University at Buffalo’s Music Library


Dawn: Favorite book?  Favorite musical recording?
Peter:  I’ve got more favorite recordings than books – One of my favoritPicture for INALJ pagees is the Brecker Brothers’ self entitled album.  That’s some great funk.  I also love the Chamber Orchestra of Europe’s recordings of the Beethoven symphonies.  Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” is also on the top of my list – and probably most jazz enthusiasts.


Dawn: Any websites, blogs or feeds we should be following?
Peter:  A blog that I find interesting (and useful) is “the scholarly kitchen” (, produced by the Society for Scholarly Publishing.  It deals with various issues related to scholarly communication.


Dawn:  Any job hunting advice?
Peter:  Spend time on your cover letter and tailor it to the job that you’re applying for.  I hear that cover letters are becoming a lost art – don’t let it happen to you!  Also, it helps to monitor sites that include job postings – professional organizations that are either national or local.  For example, as I mentioned earlier, the Music Library Association’s web site posts jobs related to music librarianship that open up all over the country.  However, it’s also a good idea to keep an eye on more regional job lists.  The state of Ohio has several.  Lastly, be patient.  It might take you a while to find the right fit.


Peter Szabo has been the Music Librarian at Ohio Wesleyan since 2003. He develops and maintains the Kinnison Music Library, provides reference assistance, and teaches information literacy sessions for music faculty members. In addition to his duties as the music librarian, Peter is also a part-time Public Services librarian at Ohio Wesleyan’s main library (Beeghly) where he holds office hours and is liaison to 4 other academic departments, including: Black World Studies, ‘Ancient, Medieval, & Renaissance Studies’, Philosophy, Religion, and Fine Arts. Peter earned his Master of Library Science degree from the University at Buffalo, and has two degrees in music (an M.A. from Eastern Illinois University, and a B.A. from Rutgers University).


Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its 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. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of 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 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; 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 been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.