A few weeks ago, I was in the Z section of my school’s library (that’s the library studies section, which is invariably located as inconveniently as possible – in my case, on the sixth floor of our six storey library) and came across a stack of books about LIS careers. My interest continued to grow as I discovered, to my surprise, a promising selection of material from the present decade. Despite not yet being the ILSS, it occurred to me that my classmates would almost certainly be intrigued by this discovery, and that, just as certainly, they would probably not come across it on their own. So without further ado, I present you with the ILSS Book Club!
First up is Straight from the Stacks: A Firsthand Guide to Careers in Library and Information Science by Laura Townsend Kane. The book is divided into chapters covering different areas of librarianship:
- Public librarianship
- School media librarianship/child and young adult librarianship
- Academic librarianship
- Nontraditional librarianship: corporate and freelance
- Medical and law librarianship
- Library directorship
The meat of each chapter consists of “spotlights,” that is, personal stories told by information professionals, detailing exactly what they do in their jobs and offering advice for those considering steering their careers in that direction. These professionals tend to hold prestigious positions and always have interesting stories to tell. Each chapter also lists a good number of job titles within the given area and offers detailed descriptions of each position.
I would recommend this book to anyone with any interest in breaking into the information field. If you’re interested in information but don’t know where to start, start here. It’s a quick read at 155 pages (or even less if you already have some idea of which chapters interest you – the author doesn’t waste any time on information that applies to all information professionals), which means you won’t lose interest partway through, but it also won’t answer all of your questions. Additionally, it’s not the freshest information available: published in 2003, it’s more recent than the creation of Wikipedia but older than Facebook. My other minor criticism is that it doesn’t include any salary information.