Jennifer Jacobsen-Wood …In Six

My interview with INALJ success story, Jennifer

Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Jennifer: I am lucky enough to have two library jobs. One is at my local, small, rural library, which I basically begged for, despite it being a shelving position. I found this position via networking. I knew both the previous shelver and the librarians at this library, so I was able to find out when someone was leaving, rare, since this library has very little turnover. While I hate the term “networking,” I do think making connections within the library world is important.

My second library job, as a reference substitute at a mid-sized library, I found via INALJ. I am ending my first year in an MLIS program and thought I’d start watching job listings, both to hopefully augment my practical experience and to get an idea of what skills, knowledge and abilities employers are seeking.

Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Jennifer: This is corny, but I love the small public library I grew up going to as a child, the Sunnyland branch of the Washington, IL Public Library. While others in my neighborhood were playing ball, I was a pretty constant resident at the library, often reading the most books in the summer reading program, helping the librarian shelve books and avoiding both household chores and my annoying younger sisters.

Naomi: Favorite book?
Jennifer: I really love the Harry Potter series. Some of my best memories of raising my two children revolve around read Rowling’s series. Additionally, while they loved books before HP, I do think the series is what ensured they would be life-long readers.

Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Jennifer: While this may sound naïve, I love how libraries are largely egalitarian in nature. The libraries I work at have a varied clientele and I appreciate how everyone has access and everyone is treated with respect.

Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Jennifer: I subscribed to LITA’s technology listserv in order to learn about both the technology problems libraries face and how other libraries have solved such issues.

Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Jennifer: I began my job search well before graduation and was willing to accept a less-than-ideal position in order to work within a library and gain hands-on experience. Additionally, in applying for positions, I have stressed my customer service experience and positive attitude about the public, as so much of circulation and reference work is about engaging with the public in a positive manner.

Jennifer Jacobsen-Wood is, in her own words, “the oldest living grad student.” She is entering her second year of graduate school, obtaining a degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois. Librarianship is her third career- with her first as a postal clerk, the second, managing a database for a small non-profit.

She loves books, libraries, baking and running; oh, and her children and husband. (But mainly books.)

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.