Friday, August 17, 2018

Thinking Outside the Stacks for your Career

I recently came across the excellent post from Rose Maclin-Hurd on her blog, Archives and Sundry about librarianship and the future of libraries. It is a great post and sums up many of the questions those in our profession get about being a librarian (i.e. do you think libraries are obsolete? I didn’t know you needed a degree for that…) Contrary to the recurring articles about “libraries demise” public libraries arestill very popular with the public having expanded beyond traditional print materials to lending e-books, audiobooks, and other electronic resources. Beyond proving materials libraries are community centers with programing on gardening, gaming, resume workshops and many more for young and old alike. Librarians are literally helping to saving lives alongside providing more traditional services like readers advisory.

For those interested in librarianship as a career, while public and academic librarianship is often the most visible roles for librarians there are applications outside a traditional library. I highly recommend the Beyond the Stacks, podcast if you want a “big tent”’view on librarianship. It was a great podcast that interviewed information professionals on their career trajectory and how they built the career their post-library school including interviews with professionals in very traditional library land type roles (archivist at Baseball Hall of Fame) and also those with more non-traditional library jobs (Taxonomist at Etsy). I really enjoyed hearing about how other MLIS holders are leveraging their skill sets and experience. I have had a fairly non-traditional library career and I think more and more MLIS holders will look outside traditional librarianship in the future to build their careers.

If you’re in library school and not sure where you’ll end up I would recommend a recent presentation sponsored by the SLA Chapter of the entitled "What Do Librarianship, User Experience, Virtual Reality, and Silence Have in Common?. The speaker is engaging about their current work though also talks about how their past career experiences have lead them to their current role, which is invaluable as it shows just how wide ranging the career options are for those interesting in librarianship.