The 3 Ps of Federal Job Hunting

by Ryan Nitz, Head Editor, INALJ Alaska

The 3 Ps of Federal Job Hunting

renAre you considering federal librarianship in your job search?

Working for a federal agency is challenging in many ways, but correspondingly rewarding. Whether you’re primarily interested in the public service aspect, the opportunities to transfer and relocate, or the wide range of types of federal libraries and information centers, I’d say looking into becoming a fed is a worthy addition to the scope of your job search.

If you’re into the idea, I’d like to offer you 3 Ps that helped me in my job search:

be Prepared, be Patient, and be Pliable (because flexible doesn’t start with a P…).

Patience and flexibility being fairly self-explanitory, I’d like to highlight some things that can help in terms of being prepared. Do everything you can think of. If your LIS program has courses focused on federal librarianship, take them. If you can get on as a volunteer at a public information center for a federal agency, do that. Be creative and open to any idea that might get your foot in the proverbial door and land you some experience. Here are a few nice resources that can help you get a feel for issues in federal librarianship, and some steps you might consider taking to help you out:

A really great, informative Slideshare presentation by Helen Sherman:

Some info on scholarship money available for LIS students interested in federal librarianship:

Federal Librarian, the newsletter:

And, of course, the USA Jobs website:

(additions from NH:)

Careers in Federal Libraries GoogleGroup, LinkedIn page and Naomi House’s article on the group.

Happy 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.