Things That Make Me Smile in Public Libraries

by Renee Holden, Head Editor, INALJ Nebraska

Things That Make Me Smile in Public Libraries

77491_539638406062729_675693252_oI have read so many articles and have heard so many stories about the declining budgets and difficult times of public libraries. I have heard from so many people that question the need for public libraries since everything can be found on the Internet. However, amidst all of this doom and gloom in the public library world, I can still find things in the public library that I work in that make me smile.

  • The joy of a child reading their first chapter book without any help.
  • The excited look on a patron’s face when you tell them that their favorite author’s new book is available to check out and take home with them today.
  • Introducing a patron to the super exciting world of graphic novels.
  • Watching a group of children go crazy when they find out that the library loans out video games for free.
  • Helping a patron, who recently lost their job, with their resume and then finding out weeks later that the patron you helped with their resume found a new job.
  • I think that the best example of what make me smile in a public library is when I learned that a exercise DVD that I recommended to a patron helped them lose 30 pounds.

I love being a public librarian and despite everything happening in the library world today; I know I will always be able to find something to make me smile.

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.