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Subtitled “Define and Create Your Success,” this recent and welcome addition to the collection of LIS career books is a delightfully personal compendium of advice from two of the profession’s most respected and experienced practitioners: Ulla de Stricker and Jill Hurst-Wahl. Both have worked in a wide variety of information roles throughout their careers, and bring that breadth of experience (and lessons learned) to the handbook.

In fifteen chapters, the 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 that 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.

Numerous insights about the profession are interwoven throughout, for example:

When you choose a profession that isn’t instantly and universally recognized for its work and value (the way, say, veterinarians’ and engineers’ professions are), you set yourself up for a fair amount of future work some professionals don’t typically have to do – justifying your value and making the case why you should be hired or your department’s budget sustained or increased.

Chapter topics include overviews of the profession (including its challenges and opportunities), self-assessment and career fit, professional branding, job-hunting, navigating workplace politics, becoming a manager, salary issues, and mentoring, among other topics. “Career snapshots” for 15 practitioners provide real-life career stories (and advice), and the final chapter features the two authors’ individual career stories.

Reading The Information and Knowledge Professional’s Handbook is like hanging out with two really smart, experienced, and wise mentors who aren’t going to sugarcoat any of their advice – because they know you really need the real deal. The information they provide is practical, actionable, and from this professional’s experience, spot on. A recommended addition to the literature of LIS career development.

The Information and Knowledge Professional’s Career Handbook: Define and Create Your Success. By Ulla de Stricker and Jill Hurst-Wahl. Chandos Information Professional Series, 2011. 283p. ISBN 978-1-84334-608-1.