Nancy Kranich …Former ALA President

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

by Claire Schmieder, Senior Editor
previously published 5/6/13

This interview is from 2013

Nancy Kranich…Former ALA President and Rutgers University–Lecturer, School of Communication and Information and Special Projects Librarian

nancyk1Claire:  Your career path has been pretty amazing. What are a few of your favorite moments along that path?

  • Retrieving books for UW-Parkside by bike at the University of Wisconsin—Madison libraries while in library school
  • Reading to young children on a bookmobile at the Madison (WI) Public Library
  • Studying library networks with my mentor, Dr. Louis Kaplan, at the University of Wisconsin
  • Developing a guide to community information resources in Bridgeport, CT, with Leslie Burger
  • Lobbying in Albany and Washington for various legislative actions
  • Presenting the James Madison Award for the Public’s Right to Know to numerous legislative champions in Washington, including Senator Patrick Leahy and Vice President Al Gore
  • Developing and passing the GPO Access Act, which ensured free public access to federal electronic government information
  • Testifying in Congress about access to government information and e-government
  • Interviewing on the radio for Banned Books Week
  • Speaking out for libraries as President of the American Library Association in 2000-2001
  • Representing American libraries in developing countries around the world
  • Establishing the ALA Center for Civic Life
  • Moderating deliberative public forums in State College, PA, and elsewhere
  • Training to become a public innovator with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation
  • Teaching LIS students how to assess information policy and dissect intellectual freedom issues
  • Convening conversations with the Rutgers University community

Claire:  Favorite library?
Nancy:  I can’t narrow it down to a single library.  My favorite library building is the Salt Lake City Public Library—it is a civic temple.  Public libraries making a difference in their communities include the Johnson County (KS) Public Library, the Youngstown-Mahoning County (OH) Public Library, the Kalamazoo (MI) Public Library, the Queensboro (NY) Public Library, the Skokie (IL) Public Library, the Princeton (NJ) Public Library.  My favorite research library that engages the academic community: the University of Minnesota.  The Library of Congress is among the most impressive overall, as is the New York Public Library.
Claire:  Favorite book/s?
Nancy:  My current favorites include three people who spoke at ALA Midwinter in Seattle in 2013:

  • Peter Block, Community: The Structure of Belonging, San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009.
  • Richard Harwood, The Work of Hope: How Individuals and Organizations Can Authentically Do Good, Dayton, OH: Kettering Foundation, 2012.
  • Peggy Holman, Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity, San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2010.

And one person who just spoke at Rutgers University whose mother was a librarian and who loves libraries:

  • E.J. Dionne, Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent. New York: Bloomsbury, 2012.

Favorite thing/s about libraries and library technology?2f8cac6
Nancy:  Favorite attributes of libraries: Community building, conversation convener, informing and engaging citizens so they can participate in our democracy, serving everyone, making a difference in people lives, sparking curiosity and discovery

Technology: Social media that connects people and ideas, mobile applications

 Any blogs/websites we should be following?

The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation web site and blog at:

Peggy Holman’s blog:

Peter Block’s site:

iED: Immersive Education,

Any job hunting advice?

  • Map your personal network, within your library, within your community, and within the profession.
  • Believe in yourself and your power as a librarian.
  • Follow your aspirations.
  • Align your efforts with your aspirations.
  • Develop a sense of agency for action.
  • Tell a powerful story—your story.
  • Convert social networks around you into assets.
  • Follow the 4 A’s
    • Aspirations
    • Assets
    • Alignment
    • Agency

Bio from 2013:  Nancy Kranich
teaches at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information and conducts special projects for the Rutgers University Libraries. She served as President of the American Library Association in 2000-2001, focusing on the role of libraries in democracies.  Formerly, she was Associate Dean of Libraries at New York University, and worked at several public libraries in Connecticut and Wisconsin.  Nancy earned a master’s degree and studied for her doctorate in Public Administration from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, and an M.A. in Library Science and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. 


photo of Nancy taken from:

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.