The Unintentional Librarian

by Dawn Thompson, Head Editor, INALJ Ohio

The Unintentional Librarian

Picture for INALJ pageWhen I began the library science program at Kent State University in 2007 I was unsure about my decision to attend a Masters program in library science.  My plans hadn’t included attending library school.  My plan had been to get an MFA in nonfiction from a graduate school in Virginia to which I had been accepted in 2005.  I even looked for apartments in the DC-metro area.  Alas, some family issues brought me back here to Ohio and to my second choice, library school.  In the library science program I learned not to say, “I am here because I love to read or because I love books”,  but because I want to help the public find the information they need.  It’s not enough to love books or reading, and it’s more than being able to alphabetize.  Becoming a librarian really does take a special kind of person; one who is willing to address a patron inappropriately using the library computers, one who will help a little girl (probably my little girl), find an endless supply of Strawberry Shortcake books, and one who will work with patrons who may not speak the same language to find exactly what it is they need.

But that’s why I love the idea of working in a library.  I do love books– I always have.  I love to read and learned how before I entered Kindergarten.  I spent afternoons and evenings in the Public Library where I lived as a girl, and a teenager, and now as an adult.  I am passing on to my children, an appreciation for what a public library means to a community and how libraries can be used to play, explore, learn, smile, laugh, share, and READ. It makes me proud that my daughter can recognize which local branch of our public library we are passing.  She also knows which librarian is working on what days.  She is only four and already has her favorites, as do many patrons I’m sure. Librarians are an integral part of our communities, and I am proud to be a part of it.

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.