Why I Left Libraries

Allison Jai O'Dell
6 min readApr 11, 2022

Spoiler: I was broke, and job insecurity in the academy needs to change.

The author, actually taking a vacation and being silly — things made possible by leaving libraries.

For almost a decade, I worked in special collections — flitting from one library to the next, taking on a series of temporary, grant-funded positions. I moved from DC to Baltimore to Philadelphia to Miami to Gainesville to Los Angeles in response to job offers. I never once planned a vacation, because, a) I couldn’t afford it, and b) I never knew what…

Allison Jai O'Dell

Data & Solution Architect, Marketing Technology Nerd, Recovering Academic, Open to Consult: allisonjai.com