Who is this book for?

Although not every chapter of this book will be useful to every potential reader, if you belong to one or more of the groups below, this book may help you:

Library paraprofessionals

Whether you’re considering library school or perfectly happy where you are, you need to keep up with changing times as badly as your librarian co-workers do. If you are actually considering library school, this book should help you get ahead of the game. It is my hope that this book will prove especially useful for paraprofessionals who for whatever reason feel daunted by the idea of pursuing a master’s degree.

Library-school and iSchool students

Ask any working professional to hear the refrain, “I didn’t learn that in library school!” It follows, then, that library schools and iSchools represent the beginning, not the end, of your learning. Keeping your skills sharp and up-to-date is a basic career need! Yet I have seen a fair few graduates flail badly (or worse, go stale) once away from the structured clarity of the classroom environment. This book should keep you from becoming one of the flailers or the stale.

Unemployed professionals

I’m sorry. It’s not fair. You got through school, but you haven’t found the job you sought. You are part of the reason this book is free to read—you can’t afford to pay for yet more instruction! Fortunately, you can learn an awful lot that’s useful and that makes you more employable for no more investment than your time. I hope this book helps you do that, and I wish you good luck.

Professionals seeking opportunities

Feeling stuck? Hoping to move up, or on? Need to move to a new place, and want to maximize your employment options there? Failing where you are, and hoping to find a place where you won’t fail? (Oh, can I relate personally to that one.) Wherever you are, this book aims to get you the skills to go where you want to be.

Professionals fearing job loss

It’s ugly out there, what with employer loyalty all but dead. You may have given years or decades of your working life to your employer… but their needs have changed, and you don’t fit the way you once did. If you fear you may lose your job because of changes in the information industries that you don’t understand or feel ready for, this book can help you realign yourself.

Professionals faced with significant job change

Reorganization fever has hit academic libraries and archives hard, and I doubt they’re the only workplaces affected. You may have been ordered outright to acquire new knowledge or skills. Even if you’re keeping your job title, that title may signify something rather different than you remember, or even than you signed up for. If you’re willing and able to learn, though, you have a better shot at controlling your destiny and making organizational change work for you. This book can help.

Administrators seeking to expand staff skillsets

If you’re on the other side of the reorganization—the supervisory side—you may be feeling rather daunted at all that is now expected of you and your possibly-shrinking staff. You may also be uneasily aware of change resistance and unwillingness to learn among your staff. Standard professional development doesn’t seem to be helping. What’s wrong, and how can you start to fix it? This book contains a chapter especially for you.

LIS instructors

The single hardest thing about transitioning from librarian work to LIS education for me? Making my peace with how hard it has become to keep up my knowledge through praxis. I don’t have time to do all the software bricolage and learning-by-walking-around that I once did.

Yet letting my knowledge decay isn’t an appetizing option either, much less becoming the obsolete, out-of-touch relic that LIS graduates complain most bitterly about.

Three years of teaching have reassured me somewhat. I can keep up. I can avoid growing stale. The tools and techniques I use for this are the same tools and techniques I used as a professional, and the same tools and techniques I write about in this book.

If you came to LIS instruction through your research rather than through praxis, as many LIS instructors with doctorates have, this book should help you work out how to supplement your existing knowledge with praxis-oriented skills and mindsets. Gathering knowledge like a practitioner will help you learn and then teach what practitioners most need to know.

Continuing-education providers

Continuing professional education is different from classroom teaching. Learner goals are different. Logistics are different. The educator-learner relationship is very different; you have significantly less authority than does a classroom teacher. The final chapter of this book explains the differences and suggests ways to deal with them.