So You’re Thinking about being a Head Editor…

by Nena Schvaneveldt, Lauren Bourdages, and Kate Kosturski

So You’re Thinking about being a Head Editor…

3editorsAbout a year ago, a plucky group of people said yes to a new venture – being head editors on states pages on INALJ. Some are staying, some are going, leaving openings for future Head Editors.

If you’re thinking about it, here’s what you might want to know to see if you’re a good fit:

1. You believe in INALJ’s mission and are open minded to the entire spectrum of jobs that Library and Information professionals can do. You believe that every LIS professional has their own skill set and their own path, and you know that those skills and paths don’t only mean posting “traditional” LIS jobs. If you only post jobs with “librarian” in the title, your page will probably be pretty bare. You’ll also be doing a disservice to the wide range of people who check your page – everyone from people considering a Master’s to people ready to be the head of a department. People checking your page may be interested in database management, archives, or even just a page job to get in on the ground floor. Let them decide which ones to apply for – we just make them available.

2. You’re willing to put in the work every weekday, even when life gets crazy. Every weekday, we clear out old jobs, add new ones from volunteers, and check websites. This can take an hour or two, depending on how big the state you cover is. For a small state, like Utah, many days go by quickly. For a state like California, this will take a bit longer.

3. You can manage your time. I mentioned before that Utah is a fairly small state in terms of library jobs. I could, however, drastically increase my amount of work by making sure the HTML on my page is flawless and check every site on Utah’s page daily. I don’t, for my sanity. I’ve come up with strategies to make sure I’m doing what I need to do – making sure the sites on my page are checked weekly and the INALJ Utah page is updated daily with correctly formatted jobs. I have had to let go of my desire for INALJ Utah to be a shining beacon of perfection.

4. You’re willing to help out your fellow Head Editors. If you’re unable to update your page, you’d have to find a sub. Of course, this works best if everyone is willing to sub at least part of the time.

5. You like putting yourself out there. Some of the Head Editors have gone on to present at conferences or amassed large Twitter followings. If you want to hide behind a shroud of anonymity and plug along, this may not be a good fit for you.

6. You haven’t thrown a computer out a window. Okay, seriously, sometimes managing a website means things go wrong, like your HTML gets screwy and won’t do what you want. Being able to troubleshoot is a good asset, but so is knowing when to call in backup.

7. You’re willing to march to the beat of someone else’s drum. Even though you manage a whole state by yourself, this isn’t license to do whatever you want. You’d be an important component of a cohesive whole, which means playing by the rules. If you’ve participated in any of the INALJ communities on LinkedIn or Facebook, you know that we cultivate a culture of positivity. That’s an example of something that’s reinforced. If you want to be Head Editor because taking over the state page is a step to taking over the world, you might want to reconsider.

8. You can give us something to talk about with your blog posts. Blogging isn’t an optional part of being a Head Editor. I’ve found that writing snippets ahead of time to flesh out later is very helpful, because inevitably that deadline sneaks up on me.

9. You can commit to a year. Yes, it’s like asking you to gaze into a crystal ball and know what you’ll be doing in a year. I am much busier at work than I was this time last year, and I’ve had to work on my time management to make sure I get everything done in a timely manner. It’s really good for consistency.

10. You have the intestinal fortitude to professionally call out mistakes. As the head editor, you will manage assistants. If they aren’t living up to the expectations of their jobs, you will notice and have to let them know.

11. You’re comfortable communicating completely by email, in fact you enjoy it/prefer it. Email is the primary method of communication between all of the INALJ volunteers. It will be how you hear from Naomi, from the other Head Editors, and your Assistants. It’s completely on you to keep up to date and in touch; if you know you need an extension on your blog post for example, it’s solely on you to email Naomi and the Articles Editor well in advance.

Being a Head Editor has taught me a lot, but it’s not for everyone. If you don’t want to wrangle HTML or work every day, but you want to give back to INALJ, you could be an assistant.

If any of this sounds exciting to you, email for the details! INALJ needs some great Head Editors, assistants, and more!



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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.