Library Jobs: Searching Outside-the-box

by Aingeal Stone, Head Editor, INALJ Northwest Territories

Library Jobs: Searching Outside-the-box

DSC00078Whether you are a new graduate or a seasoned veteran, job hunting with its attendance cycle of testing, interviewing and rejection can be demoralizing heartbreaking. Often there are too few positions with far too many applicants. In my experience, I have found that a willingness to relocate has greatly increased my chances of success. And why not consider relocation? Trust me; your children will adjust to a new town/country/school district just fine and your spouse should be more than willing to move for the benefit of your career, as you may have done the same for them in the past.

Relocation aside, I wanted to discuss and introduce in this month’s blog non-traditional or alternate career possibilities for library trained workers, and by library trained workers I am referring to MLS’s, MLIS, and Library Technicians.

Christina Bennett McNew makes three suggestions: work for a vendor; work for a publisher; or work for companies in your community. Working for a vendor is a great way to learn about cutting edge technology and services.  It also builds confidence through constant interaction and networking.  Investigate career opportunities with companies that produce library databases, automation systems, and other products.  Most vendors post job vacancies directly on their company web site.   Work for a publisher; explore academic presses, STM (scientific, technical, and medical) publishers, book publishing companies, and popular presses. Examine your favorite journal or magazine to find out if it’s part of a larger publishing group. Many publishers work with vendors, subscription agents, and sometimes libraries to negotiate contracts.  With the explosion of electronic licensing, publishers need employees to negotiate copyright agreements to protect their content. Companies in your community more often than not have various departments doing work suited to librarians.

Many companies employ staff in records management, medical informatics, company archives, technical writing, and as bibliographers.  Although these positions can be difficult to find, they do exist. Often large corporations hire staff through more than one general staffing agency, which is why knowing an internal contact is key. Networking is an important step in finding contacts. Sometimes who you know is more vital that what you know in the job search. Knowing someone who works for a local company can put you in contact with the right person, department, or staffing agency.  He or she may be able to ask around, find out where to send applicants, and possibly put in a good word on your behalf.

Mia Breitkopf has a list of 61 job titles for librarians that do not include the word “librarian”, such as Creative Project Manager, Director of Community Service, Web Analytics Manager, Information Resources Specialist, Technical Information Specialist, and Documentation Specialist. You can check out the entire list at Information Space. Being aware of some of these titles might help to widen your job search and bring you success.

And finally I want to direct you to a very interesting story written by Jane Greenstein, “Library Science Without the Library, a recent MLS grad who does not want to work as a librarian and who discusses where her library degree has taken her career wise.  Happy (job) hunting!

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.