ILSS Book Club: Rethinking Information Work

Today’s offering is Rethinking Information Work: A Career Guide for Librarians and Other Information Professionals by G. Kim Dority.

The middle chapters are divided into three sections: the traditional path, the nontraditional path, and the independent path. These sections are included to remind readers of the diversity of opportunities in the field, but the main focus of the book is on the issues that apply to all information professionals. Much of this involves self exploration, including exercises such as charts to fill in with your career goals – I find this a bit hokey, but I’m sure some readers find it useful.

This one includes salary information – it doesn’t go into too much detail, but I feel it’s still worth noting. You’ll find figures (from 2005, so fairly fresh) for school, academic, public, and special librarians, and I’m awarding it major bonus points for including Canadian salaries.

The biggest strength of this book is its resources. Each chapter ends with a list of books, articles, and online resources, and these are generally useful and current. In fact, the sheer volume of resources is almost a hindrance – you really have to wade through the lists.

It includes basic information about the variety of careers available, but it doesn’t go into detail about any of them. Blurbs such as “why you might love being an academic librarian” are helpful but brief, so in terms of exploring possible jobs, consider this a starting point. It encourages readers to “think outside the box” when it comes to traditional career paths, so it may be most useful for readers interested in special libraries and independent work.

Overall, this is not the most exciting book – it focuses on things like marketing yourself, which is important when starting the job hunt but probably not interesting for students who have a while to wait before graduation. On the other hand, the resources are so appropriate and plentiful that I would recommend checking this one out, even if you only skim through it.

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2 thoughts on “ILSS Book Club: Rethinking Information Work

  1. If people find this book interesting, they might also consider The NextGen Librarian’s Survival Guide by Rachel Singer Gordon. She’s a pretty snappy writer, and also provides numerous external resources via URL, kept up to date on her website.

    I’ll loan it to you if you’d like to check it out. I imagine the library has a copy somewhere too. :)

  2. Ahniwa: Thanks for the offer, but I actually already picked that one up at the library. I’m planning to review it soon.

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