Leaving Archives for Corporate Work, and Loving It

by Sarah Roark Schott, Head Editor, INALJ Arizona

Leaving Archives for Corporate Work, and Loving It

SarahRoarkSchottINALJThere have been a few posts here at INALJ about leaving the Library profession. Veda Darby Soberman, Head Editor of the Hawaii page wrote about it in July last year, and Naomi House, Head of INALJ, wrote a short piece in June. I know that many of you are struggling to find library or archive jobs while working away at a 9-5 or maybe multiple part time gigs outside of the Information profession. Until a couple of months ago, I was in the same boat. Working a full time job, but keeping INALJ and Indeed searches going at a similar pace as my pre-employment situation. The thing that changed for me was the realization that my full time, non-library/archive job was actually fulfilling and enjoyable. How did I get to that realization, and how can you find work in an environment that is satisfactory despite being outside of the normal post-MLS path?

Some Tips

  • I began with a list of companies and institutions I respect.
  • Don’t just think about the brands that you love, think about how those companies or institutions support their local and global communities, and their efforts to continually improve their industry.
  • It is difficult to find a large corporation that is entirely good, but if you admire programs or charities those companies fund, it can be easier to get excited about working for a corporation with a large footprint.
  • Ask yourself, can you work for a company that develops unhealthy or destructive products?
  • Working for a business that survives mainly on Department of Defense contracts, or perhaps manufactures cigarettes might be difficult for some job hunters to apply for. However, those are the jobs that pay higher salaries than many public libraries.
  • Some of you might not mind smaller paychecks, but many MLS programs come with high tuitions, so a well paid position might be a high priority for you.


Now that you have your list, start applying for openings that sound interesting or that might fit your skill set. As Information Professionals we fit easily into many different settings! Just glance at the Keywords column on the front page of INALJ and you’ll see many of the different skill sets and titles we can have as MLS degree holders. Once you have found an intriguing position, start using your experiences as a problem solver, researcher, knowledge coordinator, and data curator! My experiences in school, libraries and archives taught me how to communicate effectively, weed out the unimportant/unrelated information to find the facts, and how to manage large projects. This is what companies are looking for in new hires, if you convince hiring managers that you are more than just a librarian you can be a great asset to any department.


Finally, keep asking questions! I have found that the more questions I ask, the more I want to learn more about the industry I am in, and that leads to greater fulfillment–at least for me. Becoming an expert in any field you are working in is one of the keys to loving what you do.


Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of T160K.org, 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.