Melanie Sellar …of Librarians Without Borders

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

melanies My interview with Melanie Sellar, founder of Librarians Without Borders, “a non-profit organization that strives to improve access to information resources regardless of language, geography, or religion, by forming partnerships with community organizations in developing regions.”  “Our vision is to build sustainable libraries and support their custodians and advocates — librarians.” (taken from here)


Naomi:  How did you come to work for (or start) Librarians Without Borders?
Melanie:  I founded it when I was an MLIS graduate student at the University of Western Ontario (Canada).

Naomi:  How can librarians help Librarians Without Borders?
Melanie:  Lots of ways! You can sign up as a member for free (can’t argue with that price) here. As a member you’ll receive e-newsletters about our work, including any volunteer or donation opportunities. You can also like us on Facebook to keep in the loop.

Like any non-profit, we always welcome monetary donations to help us run our programs. Right now, we have a donation drive to help fund a stipend for a librarian in Guatemala. Our team are all volunteers, so the money we raise is all for our work.

Naomi:  Can you speak a little about your experiences with libraries?  Any favorite libraries or experiences with them?
Melanie:  I’m the Education Services Librarian at Marymount College, a private liberal arts college in Los Angeles.  I’ve been here four years now, and spent my first two years post-MLIS at the University of California, Irvine. In my previous life I was a computational linguist and technical writer. I was converted when I met a really engaging librarian at a very wintery party in Ottawa, Canada. I had never considered the career before that day, although I had been searching for a new pathway. It really was an “aha” moment for me.

Naomi:  Favorite book(s)?
Melanie:  I’m such a Canadian: I love Margaret Atwood. I’ve also recently realized how much I enjoy the genre of magical realism.

Naomi:  Favorite adaptation (book to film or even film to book)?
Melanie:  Lord of the Rings trilogy. (But I really wasn’t into The Hobbit).

Naomi:  Are there any blogs or websites we should be following?
Melanie:  Well certainly Librarians Without Borders! Other great organizations in the same space include IREX, EIFL, and Beyond Access.

Previously published on 3/1/13 and 8/18/13

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. 


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