A Day in the Life: Career Options in Library and Information Science. Priscilla K. Shontz and Richard Murray, eds. Libraries Unlimited, 2007. 464p. ISBN 1591583640.
Like having 90 LIS professionals sit down and tell you everything you ever wanted to know about what it’s like to do their kind of work. Includes profiles from those practicing in school, public, and academic libraries as well as numerous non-traditional roles. Multiple voices, multiple career paths – a terrific resource.
Affelt, Amy. The Accidental Data Scientist: Big Data Applications and Opportunities for Librarians and Information Professionals. Information Today, 2015. 240p. ISBN 1573875110.
Director of Database Research for Compass Lexecon, a global economic consultancy, Affelt is uniquely qualifed to help LIS professionals understand the big-data carer opportunity and the knowledge necessary to pursue it. This is one of the emerging areas of professional opportunity for LIS grads and practitioners.
Bates, Mary Ellen. Building & Running a Successful Research Business: A Guide for the Independent Information Professional, 2d ed. Cyberage Books/Information Today, 2010. 500p. ISBN 0910965859.
Don’t even consider becoming an information broker without reading this book first. Those who have heard Bates speak at LIS conferences will recognize her voice here: smart, funny, realistic, and supportive. Bates walks readers through the entire range of issues related to starting, running, and growing the business, plus takes you through a “day in the life” scenario that provides a realistic view of what this career choice really looks like. She makes it clear that if you’re thinking about this line of work, you’ll need to master both your core marketable skills and the competencies necessary to be an entrepreneur (see, for example, “The Project from Hell,” p. 177) – and then provides the insights necessary to do so. A key resource for both students and practitioners.
Bates, Mary Ellen. The Reluctant Entrepreneur: Making a Living Doing What You Love. Niwot Press, 2014. 216p. ISBN 061597595X.
Whereas Building & Running a Successful Research Business was written specifically for information professionals seeking to use build practices based on their skills as researchers, The Reluctant Entrepreneur takes a broader approach and is meant for anyone providing any type of professional services to clients. (As Bates puts it, that includes therapists, consultants, accountants, and graphic designers as well as freelance taxonomists, consulting content strategists, and independent information project managers.) Because of this different perspective, the new information and insights are an expansion, rather than a repetition, of those found in Research Business.
Career Transitions for Librarians: Proven Strategies for Moving to Another Type of Library. Davis Erin Anderson and Raymond Pun, eds. Rowman & Littlefield, 2016. 270p. ISBN 1442263725.
Describes various types of LIS career transitions and profiles professionals who’ve successfully changed environments. Each person profiled makes it clear that whatever career path you choose, you can always head in another direction should circumstances, your interests, or your career goals change.
de Stricker, Ulla. Is Consulting for You? A Primer for Information Professionals. American Library Assn Editions, 2009. 101p. ISBN 0838909477.
From well-known library and information consultant de Stricker, this brief primer first addresses the realities of a consultant’s life and whether or not that would be a good fit for you, and then moves on to how to get established and “get down to business.” See especially chapter 5, “Business Planning: Is There a Market – and a Living – for Me?” before quitting your day job.
de Stricker, Ulla and Jill Hurst-Wahl. The Information and Knowledge Professional’s Handbook: Define and Create Your Success. Chandos, 2011. 294p. ISBN 1843346087.
These highly-respected, experienced authors provide detailed, practical career advice that comes across as a cross between coaching, mentoring, and okay, (in the nicest possible way), a bit of nagging. But it’s clear their goal is to help readers avoid career potholes if possible. To that end, the tone and format is strongly prescriptive, letting readers know in no uncertain terms how certain situations should be handled in order to help ensure career success.
Dority, G. Kim. LIS Career Sourcebook: Managing and Maximizing Every Step of Your Career. Libraries Unlimited, 2012. 246p. ISBN 159884931X.
Overview of the key phases, stages, and transition points in LIS careers, including such topics as LIS Job Hunting, Starting Your Career Off Right, Managing, Leading, an Transition Points (for example, taking a career time-out or relocating your career). Each chapter is split equally between information and recommended resources.
Dority, G. Kim. Rethinking Information Work: A Career Guide for Librarians and Other Information Professionals, 2d ed. Libraries Unlimited, 2016. 264p. ISBN 978-1610699594.
Comprehensive exploration of job and career opportunities within the LIS universe, while also focusing on self-knowledge, career development strategy, and navigating career transitions.
Eberts, Marjorie and Margaret Gisler. Careers for Bookworms & Other Literary Types, 4th ed. McGraw-Hill, 2008. 176p. ISBN 0071545395.
Think libraries, publishing, magazines and newspapers, freelance writing, research, teaching, and bookselling…. The authors include interviews and practitioner profiles, give tips on how to move into specific career tracks, and include a selective list of resources for each career. Although this is a good brainstorming-starter, it’s a bit unrealistic on how expansive (and decently-paying) these options are, so approach the glowing descriptions with a bit of skepticism.
Fourie, Denise K. and David R. Dowell. Libraries in the Information Age: An Introduction and Career Exploration, 3d ed. Libraries Unlimited, 2016. 349p. ISBN 1591584345.
Intended as an LIS course textbook, Libraries in the Information Age presents perhaps the most mainstream take on library work. It provides a thorough overview of types of libraries and librarians, plus their activities (collections, preparing materials for use, circulation, reference service, and evolving library services). Especially useful for those considering more tradition LIS paths.
Gordon, Rachel Singer. What’s the Alternative? Career Options for Librarians and Info Pros. Information Today, 2008. 288p. ISBN 1573873330.
Gordon focuses on a multitude of non-traditional (read: not public, schools, or academic) LIS roles, with an emphasis on identifying transferable skills and applying them to a variety of alternative jobs such as knowledge management, competitive intelligence, working for a vendor, or independent work.
Hakala-Ausperk, Catherine. Renew Yourself: A Six-Step Plan for More Meaningful Work. ALA Editions, 2017. 152p. ISBN 0838914993.
A workbook-style program for revisiting personal values, understanding your options, identifying skill gaps, and creating plans for growth. Intended for both new professionals and those further advanced in their careers; the author is the editor of Public Libraries’ professional book review column as well as an active professional contributor.
Hibner, Holly and Mary Kelly. Taking Your Library Career to the Next Level: Participating, Publishing, and Presenting. Chandos, 2017. 103p. ISBN 9780081022702.
Hibner and Kelly, both public librarians, address a very specific aspect of LIS career development, i.e., building your professional reputation and visibility through professional engagement. This focused approach on career brand-building tactics, with an emphasis on social media, publishing, and presenting, enables the authors to provide practical, actionable advice. Highly recommended for LIS professionals at any stage of their career.
Hunt, Deborah and Grossman, David. The Librarian’s Skillbook: 51 Essential Career Skills for Information Professionals. Information Edge, 2013. 202p. ISBN 0989513319.
Deb Hunt (former SLA president) and David Grossman have collaborated on a guide that essentially lays out what LIS professionals should know in order to expand their career skill sets and adapt to new job opportunities. The book leads off with chapters on the importance of the skills identified, transferability of skills, and an introduction and overview of the 51 “hottest skills.” Those skills are then grouped into chapters devoted to computer and technical skills;”beyond reference skills,” and “business and management skills,: among others. A key resource for the profession.
Johnson, Marilyn. This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All. Harper Perennial, 2011. 304p. ISBN 0061431613.
In the midst of the profession’s hand-wringing and anxiety attacks, Johnson has written a delightful, witty, and spot-on paean to the amazing work librarians do as educators, archivists, and community knowledge curators. For those considering the profession, this is an upbeat and positive take on the profession’s future as well as its future opportunities.
Kane, Laura Townsend. Working in the Virtual Stacks: The New Library & Information Science. American Library Association, 2011. 167p. ISBN 9780838911.
Updating her previous work, Straight from the Stacks (ALA, 2003), Kane provides another valuable look at career paths for today’s information professionals. The book’s 34 profiles are grouped into librarians as 1) subject specialists, 2) technology gurus and social networkers, 3) teachers and community liaisons, 4) entrepreneurs, and 5) administrators. Each chapter leads off with an overview of the type of work, environments, responsibilities, skills, and relevant professional associations.
Lawson, Judy, Joanna Kroll, and Kelly Kowatch. The New Information Professional: Your Guide to Careers in the Digital Age. Neal-Schuman, 2010. 200p. ISBN 555706983.
An exceptionally detailed (and valuable) look at career options in the emerging digital information world, with extremely useful “career maps” of related career paths for specific field, such as archives and preservation, records management, human-computer interaction, social computing, and information systems management, among others.
Making the Most of Your Library Career. Lois Stickell and Bridgette Sanders, eds. ALA Editions, 2014. 110p. ISBN 0838911862.
The contributed work of ten practitioners focuses on how to launch and manage your (traditional) library career. Some of the most interesting advice is around how to try to introduce change into an organziation that might not initially prove, ah, excited about doing things differently.
Markgren, Susanne and Tiffany Eatman Allen. Career Q&A: A Librarian’s Real-Life, Practial Guide to Managing a Successful Career. CyberAge Books, 2013. 240p. ISBN 1573874793.
Many of us have been reading the authors’ excellent Library Career People advice columns (http://librarcareerpeople.com) for years, and their book is both a compilation and expansion of their previous LIS career insights. Highly recommended for MLIS students, those new to the profession, as well as those who’ve been in their careers for awhile but are encountering new career challenges.
Matarazzo, James M. and Toby Pearlstein, with the assistance of Sylvia James. Special Libraries: A Survival Guide. Libraries Unlimited, 2013. 167p. ISBN1610692670.
Descibed as an advocacy book aimed at special/corporate librarians “who wish to retain their positions,” this excellent compilation of savvy strategies and tactics pulls no punches when describing the fragile position of many special libraries today. However, the authors are both highly respected for their always-perceptive analysis of the special library environment, and theirs is the advice that’s most likely to help you retain that position.
Monson, Jane D. Jump-Start Your Career as a Digital Librarian: A LITA Guide. ALA Neal-Schuman, 2012. 248p. ISBN 1555708773.
A compendium of 12 essays contributed by 21 practitioners, this LITA guide first describes what a digital librarian is and does, how to prepare for this type of information role (MLIS coursework), and how to pursue a career as a digital librarian (as a new grad or career transitioner). The guide then covers technical aspects of digital librarianship, including coverage of digital imaging, metadata, digital project management, etc. Although as expected of any work that focuses on tech specifics, many of the details here will be superceded by ongoing tech changes and advances, the guide nevertheless provides a useful overview of this growing career opportunity.
The Portable MLIS: Insights from the Experts. Ken Haycock and Brooke E. Sheldon, eds. Libraries Unlimited, 2008. 316p. ISBN 1591585473.
If you’re wondering whether a career as a librarian is for you, The Portable MLIS is a great place to start. With enthusiastic entries by some of the profession’s best-known practitioners and leaders, this book will give you an insider’s sense of what a career as a librarian might offer – both challenges and rewards.
Shontz, Priscilla K. and Richard A. Murray. What Do Employers Want? A Guide for Library Science Students. Libraries Unlimited, 2012. 118p. ISBN 1598848283.
The most current and comprehensive examination of the increasing trend for special librarians to become embedded in their organizations’ operational units. A must-read for those considering special librarianship as a career.
Woodward, Jeannette. A Librarian’s Guide to an Uncertain Job Market. ALA Editions, 2011. 112p. ISBN 0838911056.
Written for “at-risk” librarians (that is, those at risk of losing their jobs) in a supportive yet still authoritative style, Uncertain Job Market walks you through the steps necessary to be prepared for the worst, even as you hope for the best. Woodward’s focus is on understanding how to recognize impending changes in the profession or your workplace that signal potential jobs in jeopardy, preparing for the economic and emotional fall-out of unemployment, and laying the groundwork to transition into alternative job opportunities and paths.
Note: although all linked book titles go to the Amazon site for information purposes, I do not have an affiliate relationship with the company and would heartily encourage you to purchase these books through your favorite independent bookstore or borrow from your local public library.