Staying Sharp While You Search

by Emma Pinault, Head Editor, INALJ Delaware

Staying Sharp While You Search

Emma PinaultIf you don’t find a librarian position soon after you finish library school, it can be a challenge to keep your skills sharp and your knowledge of the field up to date during an extended job search. This can be even harder if you’re working full time in an unrelated job while searching for library positions. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind:
1)      Stay in touch with old library school classmates. These people are your future professional network, and the ones who are working in libraries right out of school can tell you a lot of things your professors never mentioned.
2)      Get to know your local libraries. These can be another great networking opportunity, and another great resource for gaining practical experience. Introduce yourself to the librarians. Spend half an hour every other week getting to know the databases and other electronic resources your local libraries offer. And don’t limit your exploration to the local public library – if there’s a university or community college near your town, find out what their policy is on visitors and go say hello.
3)      If you have some more spare time, see if your local library needs volunteers. It’s not the same as working at the reference desk, but it’s still a possible way to get to know professionals in the field.
4)      Find a few amusing or inspiring library blogs and add them to your reading list. This can be a way to keep up with developing trends outside your local area. It can also provide a morale boost, reading about exciting things happening in libraries, when you are getting discouraged with your search.
It can be hard to keep up your knowledge and enthusiasm if you’re searching for a long time, but staying focused and seeking out opportunities to learn and network in your area can help.

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.