Open Cover Letters

by Leigh Milligan, Head Editor, INALJ Wisconsin

Open Cover Letters

stephenxflynnOne of my favorite websites that gives me motivation during my job search is called Open Cover Letters. This website is a collection of anonymous cover letters submitted by hired librarians and archivists. Each cover letter is titled by the position that the anonymous person wrote the cover letter for.  The website even breaks down the letters into categories such as the different types of libraries.  This all is extremely helpful, especially when I am looking for motivation to apply to a specific type of library job, for example, Youth Services.

How do I know these letters are legit? The creator of the website Stephen Flynn looks into each letter he receives and makes sure the librarian was hired at said joopencoverlettersb by a Google search or by checking an e-mail address. Check the FAQ out more information about the website.

The cover letter is one of the most important aspects of the job search process because it’s the first impression an employer will get of you. It’s the first impression that will either get the employer to read your resume or put it in the discard pile, or it could be the first impression to achieve an interview. It is also the area of the job search process where most struggle, including myself.

There are many great websites out there that focus on sample cover letters and job search tips for librarians, however this is the first website I have come across that just focuses on cover letters for librarians and archivists, which is great for me because it is the field I want to work in.  It is also very motivating that these cover letters actually achieved results for a real librarian or archivist, and are not just samples.  It gives me hope that I will be able to find a library career and that some day I will be able to write a great cover letter and then become part of the library-working world.

This is my favorite cover letter to date:  It first attracted me because I myself am a crazy cat lady. It also shows how uniqueness and creativity is a great quality of librarians that most hiring librarians are looking for their employees to bring to the table. If done right, like this cover letter, it can achieve fantastic results!



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. 


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