Jess Wallis …In Six

My interview with success story, Jess


Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Jess: I found it on the Simmons College GSLIS JobLine. I had been searching very seriously for several months, and unsuccessfully applying to a lot of public libraries before I decided to branch out and apply for a special library job.

Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Jess: The Lyons Public Library, my hometown library in Upstate New York. Years later, it still feels like home.

Naomi: Favorite book?
Jess: Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood.

Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Jess: The culture of collaboration among librarians. When I started this job, I knew nothing about transportation libraries, resources, etc., but I have since found several wonderful groups of librarians whose news and advice has made my life a whole lot easier.

Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Jess: The only blog I follow is the Lipstick Librarian, and always find her posts entertaining.

Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Jess: Even if you think you want to work in a specific kind of library, it’s a good idea to broaden your search. Particularly in an area where public and academic library jobs are scarce, I found that I had more luck getting a job in an organization that was looking for people with skills including library science (but not dedicated to hiring a librarian). I know that people writing job ads are not always really sure what they want, so don’t be afraid to tell them that you are what they want, even when they haven’t specifically said so in the ad.

Jess currently runs the Resource Center and Resource Library for National RTAP, a Federal Transit Administration-contracted program dedicated to providing training and technical assistance to support rural and Tribal transit. In January, she graduated from Simmons College with an MLS concentrating in archives management. She had a brief stint in a small historical society before working a menial job to pay the bills, then finding her current position. Prior to becoming a librarian, she graduated from Smith College with a biology degree, served two fulfilling terms as an AmeriCorps member, and worked for several non-profits.

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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