My Presentation at the American University in the Emirates, MLIS Program Feb. 15, 2013

by Naomi House, MLIS

New Trends in Information & Reference Services: Speaking at the American University in the Emirates, MLIS Program
Feb. 15, 2013

It was my pleAUE 5asure to give a presentation entitled, New Trends in Information and Reference Services, at the American University in the Emirates on February 15th, 2013.  The program is the first library school program in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  It was my distinct honor to meet and discuss not only this topic, but other topics such as INALJ and different careers opening up to MLIS students, with the faculty and many of the students, who are members of what will be the first graduating class.

I was put in touch with Professor Jassim Jirjees, Ph. D, who founded the program and is coincidentally, a fellow Rutgers grad, by the Special Libraries Association, Arabian Gulf Chapter.  He has had a remarkable career and it was AUE 3fascinating to be able to meet with him and discuss how the field has changed as well as our alma mater, Rutgers.  He has worked in Baghdad previously and founded another Library School program in Yemen.  He is a well published author of many books and journal articles as well.

I work, in my non-INLAJ life, as a reference, marketing and acquisitions librarian for a federal government contractor (meaning I work at a federal library).  One of my key presentation points was about sharing information and building an international community of librarians.  I encouraged those assembled to Join the Conversation:

•Librarians are global
•We are more than just  ‘librarians’
•There is so much online
•You can volunteer virtually
•Read up on what others are doing globally
•And contribute to the conversation- publish and present!


The biggest trends in reference that I have noticed are changed expectations, AUE 2technologies, communities, roles and titles/names of information pros.
I briefly touched on the following and it lead to some great questions from the students in the question and answer part of the presentation.


New Expectations – Free, Full-text, Online
New Technologies – Mobile; Platforms; Systems
New Communities – Of practice; Online
New Roles – Who works in a library?  What about Google?
New Names – Informationist, Knowledge Manager, etc


One of my favorite topics to speak on is competitive intelligence.  Many years back I attended a session with Sabrina Pacifici of the fabulous blog,, on competitive intelligence.  I see this as being a growth field for AUE 4MLS/MLIS candidates and so I shared with the students and faculty Sabrina’s Competitive Intelligence – A Selective Resource Guide and Got Competitive Intelligence presentation.
This also lead to some discussion about job titles that librarians can now be known by and my Keywords on the left sidebar on my website,


I was lucky enough to have time to speak with students and faculty individually after the presentation.  Many are already working in libraries and see the profound benefit that this additional education will bring to their libraries and career goals.  The faculty are involved in some cutting edge research and are highly motivated to introduce their students to not only the academic world of library science but also the practical world.
AUE 1I am hoping to return soon and be able to take in a lecture or presentation at the American University in the Emirates.  Perhaps by that time I will learn the art of balancing tea in a glass cup with no handles.  Several students realized quickly that this was not a skill I had yet acquired and made me a make-ship sleeve for my cup.  I follow the university and program now on LinkedIn and I look forward to hearing about the new innovations that this first class of UAE MLIS students put in place and watching their careers develop.


And two final photos from the end of my visit (yes, that is a sunburn on my face)  🙂


All photo credits except the final two are by Mr. Jirjees’s son.  The Final two are by my husband, Sana Khan, and his cousin.  Many thanks to Jassim Jirjees, Ph. D. for hosting me!

reposted from 3/20/13  ( dubai )


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.