Dec 06 2009

Libraries in the Information Age: New LIS Career Book

Published by kim at 8:55 pm under careers

Wondering where your LIS career might be headed in the coming years? You may want to check out the second edition of Denise K. Fourie and David R. Dowell’s Libraries in the Information Age: An Introduction and Career Exploration (Libraries Unlimited, 2009). Firmly positioned in the new realities of LIS work, this new book addresses the Internet, social networking, community outreach, and shifts in staffing approaches, among other topics. You know, the things that are either threats or opportunities for us, depending on how the day is going!
Types of Library Job Opportunities
Intended primarily as a textbook for U.S.-based LIS programs and especially for students who haven’t had experience in libraries, the book’s organization reflects this overview approach. After introductory chapters on “Redefining the Role of Libraries” and “A Brief History of Libraries,” the authors then explore in depth the “Types of Library Job Opportunities” in public, school, academic, and special libraries.
For each type of library, the book provides basic information about the library’s mission and audience, objectives and standards (where applicable), and types of services. Each descriptive section is a bit different in topics covered; for example, the overview of public libraries covers age-specific services, reference services, outreach services, library management, staffing, the e-rate, the Gates Foundation, public library use, etc.), while the coverage of special libraries includes types – research, federal, corporate libraries and information centers, and other – then provides information on library and information management.

Collections, Materials Processing, Circulation, and Reference
Subsequent chapters cover four specific types of library activities: collections, preparing materials for use (processing), circulation, and reference services. From there the authors move on to a lengthy chapter on ethics in the information age, a brief overview of job search basics, and an exploration of evolving library services (including online services, fee/free services, new online research capabilities, serving people with disabilities, supporting family/genealogy research, and the impact of staffing on libraries providing these new services.

Reflecting its library textbook focus, each of the book’s chapters concludes with a summary, study questions, and a print and online resources list. Illustrations, photos, and screenshots round out the text.

Learning More About Your Professional Options
Libraries in the Information Age joins a growing collection of very useful titles about LIS careers. Others you may want to check out include:

Building & Running a Successful Research Business: A Guide for the Independent Information Professional, by Mary Ellen Bates, 2003. 472p. ISBN 0910965625.  The bible for LIS pros considering becoming independent researchers.

A Day in the Life: Career Options in Library and Information Science, by Priscilla K. Shontz and Richard A. Murray. Libraries Unlimited, 2007. 464p. ISBN 1591583640.  Essays by nearly 100 professionals performing a wide range of LIS roles provide valuable “in the trenches” insight into various LIS job options.

The Information Professional’s Guide to Career Development Online, by Sarah L. Nesbeitt and Rachel Singer Gordon. Information Today, 2002. 401p. ISBN 1573871249. Using online tools to build and expand your career options.

Jumpstart Your Career in Library and Information Science, by Priscilla K. Shontz, Steven J. Oberg, Robert N. Klob, and Robert R. Newlen. Scarecrow, 2002. 208p. ISBN 0810840847.  Focuses on opportunities for those just beginning their LIS careers to grow those careers through career planning, developing interpersonal and leadership, networking, and more.

The Librarian’s Career Guidebook, by Priscilla K. Shontz. Scarecrow,  2004. 592p. ISBN 0810850346.  Sixty-three essays by a diverse range of practitioners address how to find, secure, keep, and grow jobs (and careers) in the library profession.

The Nextgen Librarian’s Survival Guide, by Rachel Singer Gordon. Information Today, 2006. 208p. ISBN 1-57387-256-3.    From one of the leading “nextgen” thought leaders, an introduction for young LIS professionals to the realities and opportunities inherent in their career choices.

Opportunities in Library and Information Science, 3rd ed., by Kathleen McCook. McGraw-Hill, 2008. 160p. ISBN 007154531X.  Brief but useful overview of LIS profession, including types of LIS work, education/training requirements, and salary projections.

What’s the Alternative? Career Options for Librarians and Info Pros, Rachel Singer Gordon. Information Today, 2008. 288p. ISBN 1573873330.   Describes a wide range of nontraditional LIS careers, what they entail, and pros and cons; includes interviews with practitioners.

And last (but hopefully not least!), my book:

Rethinking Information Work: A Career Guide for Librarians and Other Information Professionals, by G. Kim Dority. Libraries Unlimited, 2006. 236p. ISBN 159158180X.  Overview of alternative career paths open to LIS practitioners, plus coaching on how to develop a career path that enables readers to achieve multiple and ongoing career goals.


Kim Dority is the Vice President of Content and Strategy for, founder and president of Dority & Associates, Inc., and author of Rethinking Information Work: A Career Guide for Librarians and Other Information Professionals (Libraries Unlimited, 2006). She can be reached at



One Response to “Libraries in the Information Age: New LIS Career Book”

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