Book Review . . . Career Options in Library and Information Science

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Another book that I’ve been browsing is A Day in the Life: Career Options in Library and Information Science edited by Priscilla K. Shontz and Richard A. Murray (2007). At 420 pages, this is not a book that you sit down and read cover to cover. Rather it is organized as a series of chapter entries grouped according to library setting, which allows the reader to read what interests them, for examples Special Libraries only. The chapter sections are Public Libraries, Academic Libraries, School Libraries, Special Libraries, Consortia, LIS Faculty, Library Vendors, Publishing, Associations, and Nontraditional.

Each chapter section has chapters that are basically the written report from an information interview with a professional who specializes, such as GIS/Map Librarian, Head of Technical Services. The entries generally follow the same format with an introduction to their area of expertise. Then they describe their typical workday, explaining the various tasks they might work on. The professional shares their opinion on the pros and cons of the position. Then at the end there is a brief discussion of how to get a job like theirs. There is also a Related resources section for each position.

What I really enjoyed about this book was the variety of library positions described. As many of my fellow MLIS students agree, going on library tours and hearing how librarians got started in this profession is really fascinating and exposes us to new areas of libraries that we did not know before. This book is like going on information interview after information interview. An advantage to this book is that it covers a global perspective, with librarians working in countries beyond the US such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

I would recommend this book to anyone considering Library and Information Studies, MLIS students already in the program who want to explore career options, and for people looking to make a shift from library position to another. The list of resources and associations is extremely useful. The discussion of what librarians do is useful to share with those people in your life who do not really understand what librarians do. The entries are not very long, usually 2-4 pages, but I found each one to be full of information and advice. Definitely an interesting read.

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