The following post is an updated reprint of a column I originally wrote for Rethinking Information Careers, part of Rachel Singer Gordon’s LisJobs.com site. Although I’ve verified/corrected all of the links, my guess is that other, additional resources have come into being since I wrote this, so please add ones I’ve missed in the comments section!
If your wanderlust is right up there with your passion for, say, information literacy or tracking down answers to the toughest reference questions, then an international LIS position might be a perfect match for you.
Recently I had an opportunity to virtually connect with one of Hack Library School’s bloggers, Nicole Fonsh. Her career path has definitely been “alternative,” and I thought would make for a fascinating career profile. Nicole graciously agreed to let me pummel her with questions about her career path; see below for her answers.
One of the fastest ways to get the inside skinny on career success is to work with a wise and caring mentor – or mentors. But the success of a mentoring relationship depends as much on your personal “match” with your mentor as on his or her knowledge.
What should you look for when considering potential mentors?
Considering transitioning from a traditional LIS job to a job outside the familiar library roles? One of the biggest challenges you’ll face is figuring out how your traditional skill set “maps” to non-LIS positions.
In an effort to create a group of questions that could be replicated for each LIS role, I decided to take one job – reference librarian – and see how it could be taken apart as an LIS role and then parsed into non-LIS opportunities. A caveat here: I’ve never actually been a reference librarian, but have colleagues who’ve been willing to share their reference-librarian experiences with me, so this represents my best-guess interpretation of basic reference-librarian skills.
Here’s the process I would go through to map this role:
One of the ongoing challenges LIS students and professionals face is trying to figure out what skills, experience, and attitudes will enable us to make a viable contribution in the evolving workplace, be it traditional facilities-based librarianship, special librarianship, or some type of alternative LIS work.
In an effort to nail down some (any!) answers to this tough question, I tend to read as much as I can about the future of work in organizations, and recently came across an interesting publication published March 10, 2011, by the Aspen Institute, “The Future of Work: What It Means for Individuals, Businesses, Markets and Governments,” by David Bollier.
Recently I’ve been reading a book by Steven Rosenbaum called Curation Nation: Why the Future of Content is Context (McGraw Hill, 2011).
Rosenbaum’s premise is based on two ideas: “First, curation is about adding value from humans who add their qualitative judgment to whatever is being gathered and organized. And second, there is both amateur and professional curation, and the emergence of amateur or pro-sumer curators isn’t in any way a threat to professionals.”
Research on Mainstreet by Marcy Phelps
The New Information Professional by Lawson, Kroll, and Kowatch
Thanks to a recommendation from Ge Ge at Variegated Stacks, I recently checked out a really interesting blog called Hack Library School, an online resource “by, for and about library school students.” It’s the brainchild of Micah Vandegrift, a soon-to-graduate LIS student at Florida State University, and is based on the following ideas:
The good news: we know anecdotally that there are LOTS of jobs out there that would be perfect for those of us who have LIS skills. The bad news: those job include titles that make it really, really hard to figure out how to search for them.
Recently I asked the members of the LinkedIn LIS Career Options group to suggest some search terms that we could use to create a LinkedIn jobs feed for the group. We quickly came face-to-face with the dilemma that faces everyone in the profession: We know what our skills are and what we can do with them, but what do other employers call them?