Liz Koehler …In Six

My interview with success story Liz


Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Liz: The posting for my current job was sent out through my library school listserv in February of my final semester. It landed in my lap–I had barely begun my job search at that point.

Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Liz: I just recently went to a conference in Denver and visited Colorado Academy, a PK-12 independent day school. Their secondary school library was so fun and welcoming! I was most impressed with them because so many of the decorative accents and unique things about the library could be done very inexpensively. It was inspiring for me!

Naomi: Favorite book?
Liz: This is a practically-impossible question for librarians! I guess I’ll have to say Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Liz: My favorite thing about libraries is BOOKS! I love the smell of books and talking to kids about reading. Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone have a strong emotional reaction to a book–even if it’s a negative one.

Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Liz: I read Buffy Hamilton’s blog, The Unquiet Library, and I really appreciate her candor. I think she starts really important discussions. I also really love Jennifer LaGarde’s blog, The Adventures of Library Girl. She posts all kinds of great professional development things on Twitter, too. (Her screen name is @jenniferlagarde) I would also recommend that librarians consider including authors in their Twitter PLNs. I follow dozens of middle grade and young adult authors, and I really feel like it makes me a better librarian because I learn about up and coming books. (Also, my students are really impressed when I have insider knowledge on Tom Angleberger or Lauren Oliver!)

Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Liz: Create an electronic portfolio, and update it constantly. Share it with prospective employers, even if they don’t ask! An easy way to do that is by mentioning the url of your portfolio in your cover letter. Make sure that you include the most important information at the top of each page of your portfolio or in some other place where it can be easily seen. In addition to your resume, make sure to include work samples, recommendations, and information about your philosophies on librarianship. Don’t be afraid to show some ideas of the types of things that you’d like to incorporate into your new work environment. Let the best you shine through!

I’m a new librarian, currently finishing up my first year as the Middle School Librarian at an independent school in Georgia. I earned my B.A. in English Adolescence Education at SUNY Fredonia and my M.S. in Library Science from UNC Chapel Hill. I was not one of those people who always knew that she’d be a librarian. In fact, when I applied to college, I was trying to be a screenwriter! But, thanks to a series of happy accidents, I found myself in the library profession. I have experience tutoring and teaching writing, reading, and information literacy skills at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels, but I hold a special place in my heart for middle school. One of the most interesting jobs I ever held was as an ESL and writing tutor in college. That experience taught me so much about communicating with and teaching people! I’m also certified to teach secondary English, and I know that my English education experience has made me a better librarian. I worked as a research assistant for the director of my School Library program at UNC, and that experience allowed me the opportunity to be published in several professional journals, which was very helpful during my job hunt! I’m a member of several education- and library-related professional organizations.

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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