I Found My Dream Job, But It’s Not in a Library: Stories From The (Out)field

Created by June Avila, Hannah Loshak, and Emily Porta for the OLA Superconference 2016

slides: goo.gl/0LqxSh

Who We Are And How We Got Here

  • June Avila, Customer Success Lead, Vantage Analytics
  • Hannah Loshak, Project Coordinator, Centre for Effective Practice
  • Emily Porta, Scrum Master, Rangle.io

What This Talk Is about

  • You have a unique skill set that can open doors to a wide variety of careers that don’t start with a capital L.
  • Bringing your skills into a new career can not only teach you new skills, but also forward the momentum of ‘librarianship’ as a whole.
  • We should consider that the future of librarianship, for most, might take place largely outside of the library.

how we sold our MLIS skills outside the library world

  • Step one: you have to learn to talk to people who aren’t librarians
  • When you enter into non-library worlds, you are the expert
  • Learn about fields outside libraries by talking to people in roles you might see yourself in
  • Learn the culture of the industry you’re getting into and understand that the job application process can be very different
  • Seeing new industry jobs as a learning opportunity - you want to gain their skills as much as they want yours
  • Manage your online presence: Linkedin, Twitter, personal homepage, portfolio

Positions and Careers outside of MLIS

  • Scrum Master, (Agile) Project Manager, Development Manager
  • Customer Success/Support
  • Project Coordinator

Also: User Experience Design/Researcher, Information Architect, Database Admin, Web Master, Technical Writer, Quality Improvement/Assurance, Knowldge Translation, Information Specialist, Content Creator, Content Marketer, SEO Specialist, Social Media Coordinator, Prospect Researcher, Business Analyst, Data Analyst, Entrepreneur!

Skills and knowledge desired in non-library occupations

Personality traits:

  • (Servant) leadership
  • Communication and situational flexability
  • Passionate, with follow-through
  • Problem solver, helper
  • Empathetic, and friendly!

Skills and knowledge desired in non-library occupations


  • Any and all technical skills
  • (Web) design skills
  • Project management
  • Critical thinking
  • Writing
  • Leadership

Next Steps

If you're thinking of branching out in to a career outside the big L, here's what you can do:

  1. Do research into positions. Cast a wide net.
  2. Use linkedin/twitter/personal contacts to get info interviews with people in that field. Stay in touch.
  3. Match up what interested you in librarianship to a new career space.
  4. Start gaining the relevant specific skills and experience! This will not be a straight path.

The End!


Be open to learning, be flexible, open yourself up to new experiences

Learn where to find opportunity: come to terms with the fact that your dream might not happen from day one; getting skills and continuous growth and improvement is more important

At the same time: push yourself, challenge situations where you are not valued as a worker, have a life plan


JUNE: @juneavila

HANNAH: @hannahloshak

EMILY: @agentemily