Connect with the Library World When You Don’t Work in a Library

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

ruth.lincolnLook 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.


Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular LIS jobs resource (formerly I Need a Library Job). Founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ’s 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 has had over 20 Million page views and helped thousands of librarians and LIS folk 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 a month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this many new jobs published daily. She was a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and has served on the University of Maryland iSchool Board from 2014-2017. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and now lives part time in Western NY and Budapest, Hungary. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.