3 Off-the-Beaten-Paths to Librarianship

by Claire Schmieder, Senior Editor
previously published 5/23/13

3 Off-the-Beaten-Paths to Librarianship

Claire.SchmiederLibrarians have so many amazing skills, all of which are transferrable into any number of careers. If you’re having trouble finding a traditional library job, maybe it’s time to start searching for less conventional, but equally as rewarding, positions. Here is a tree-tops view of three positions in which any librarian could flourish.

You could be an Information Scientist.

Information scientists organize data (typically in electronic format) and make it accessible to the users in a variety of environments, like universities, corporations, and hospitals. Though a solid understanding of technology is certainly important, this job isn’t just about databases, programming, or computer networks. Information scientists show the path between statistics/data and their use in everyday life.

For more information, see the Association for Information Science and Technology’s (ASIS&T) website.

Or, you could easily use your skills as a Knowledge Manager.

Knowledge Managers are usually found in corporate settings. Their main responsibilities center on acquiring, organizing, storing, sharing, and using knowledge. It’s also about transforming plain old data (i.e. facts and figures) into knowledge that helps companies make better products, provide better services, and, yes, make more money. Media, public health, and public policy are just a few fields that employ knowledge managers.

Visit the Knowledge Management Professional Society (KMPro) website to gain further insight.

Perhaps you’d make an outstanding Records Manager.

Records Managers are typically found in corporate settings, but these positions also show up in archives and the federal government. Records Managers efficiently control creating, receiving, maintaining, providing access to, and disposing of an organization’s records. They often write disaster recovery plans, too.

ARMA International is the professional organization for information governance. Browse their website for more details on records management.

These are just three examples of alternative careers for librarians. To find more, try using the INALJ keyword list (look to your left) in larger job databases or aggregators like Indeed or Simply Hired.

For more discussion of this topic, please see:

How to Become a 21st-Century Librarian

61 Non-Librarian Jobs for LIS Grads

And see the Keywords for Job Searching on the left sidebar on INALJ.com

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of T160K.org, 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 20.5 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. 

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