by Ruth Lincoln, former Head Editor, INALJ Washington, DC
previously published 12/17/13
Connect with the Library World When You Don’t Work in a Library
Look inside any organization, university, or business, and you’ll probably find a few people with an MLS. They might be called “Knowledge Manager”, “Information Architect”, or any number of titles (see the INALJ left sidebar for more suggestions!).
I’ve never held the official “librarian” title, but my current and previous jobs all greatly utilized the knowledge and skills I gleaned during my MLS education. I always enjoy connecting with other librarians and sharing our experiences. While I love my work, those relationships are sometimes missing.
Librarians (no matter the official title) are a really friendly bunch. Reaching out beyond my normal work circle has been great to meet some great people, get inspired, and lend my own advice. Here are some ways you can connect with the library world even when you work in a “non-traditional” library role or organization.
Stay abreast of what people are talking about in the library world. Even if you don’t work in a library, you can still “speak the language” and know the hot topics. There’s no shortage of blogs and articles to keep you busy, but I always scan ALA Direct headlines and read the stories that interest me most.
I’ve connected with some terrific people since volunteering with INALJ. We’re a mix of students and recent-ish graduates, and it’s been so helpful to share experiences and solicit advice from people who understand your scenario. And we’re always looking for new volunteers!
Your local library is always looking for volunteers. It’s the perfect place to gain practical experience and work alongside librarians with diverse histories and experiences..
Join an Association
Check out your local library association and attend some events. It might seem daunting to see where you fit in, but you will find your place. Talk to the directors, reach out via email, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. and you’ll find there are great people to connect with or know of others who can help.
If you’re an ALA member, the New Members Round Table (NMRT) is a terrific (and cheap) way to meet recent graduates and learn about the ALA organization and where you might fit in. Plus, it’s super easy to join a committee as soon as you join. Or try SLA and their local divisions.