Services aren’t Servants: on personal responsibility in the job hunt

by Naomi House, MLIS

Services aren’t Servants: on personal responsibility in the job hunt

INALJlogo INALJ aims to be one of the best jobs resources out there for information professionals of all stripes.  When I came up with the name (I need a Library job) on October 16th, 2010 I wanted something my fellow classmates at Rutgers MLIS program would instantly understand and identify with.  Rutgers faculty emphasized non-library as well as library jobs for graduates, but the truth is the “L” in MLS/MSLS/MLIS still stands for “library” so I chose to include it purposefully but not restrictively as part of my branding.  I also assumed it would never be seen by more than a few dozen classmates.  I was wrong.  Job hunters in all 50 states, every province in Canada and even in 50+ other countries access on a weekly basis.  They come for the jobs, advice and community that my volunteers and I have built.

We provide a service- one that is free to everyone. 

Our mission is to provide jobs that librarians and information professionals can do including ones that push the boundaries into software and database development, social media management, prospect research and development and so much more.  Why should any individual job hunter be a fan or a fit for every single job INALJ posts?  Why should we rebrand and change our name just because a few librarians cannot see the term “library” as more?  I am thinking about the larger “We” not the million “I”s when I post and share jobs.  I believe strongly that job hunters must be their own best advocates.  That means signing up for multiple listservs, networking and doing informational interviews and checking a variety of sites.  It does not imply that these services that provide these jobs to you at no or low costs should change or limit what they offer because “you” do not have an interest in outside the box jobs.  Advocating means taking personal responsibility but not changing or limiting what others have access to.  Use the tools but don’t try to change them or even better, create something new to help job hunters. Someone once asked me why I don’t make changes or have a suggestion box- and the answer is simple.  INALJ is what I want it to be, well sourced quantity for those who “Need” a job.

I can say with absolute certainty that I am so happy each and every time a librarian or info pro finds a job.  I have been doing this for over 3 years now and those emails always give me great joy.

So a special shout-out and thanks to all the INALJ Volunteers, to ALA JobList, to Nancy Faget at Careers in Federal Libraries, to Rachel Singer Gordon of LISJobs, to SLA’s Career Center and to all the listservs and job scrapers and to every person giving of their time and efforts to make this whole difficult process easier for job hunters.  Merci and many, many thanks!

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. 


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