- Career Q & A: A Librarian’s Real-Life Practical Guide to Managing a Successful Career by Susanne Markgren and Tiffany Eatman Allen
After MLIS students achieve an understanding of the core concepts of information work, perhaps the most common series of questions they ask themselves and their professors relates to career management. Susanne Markgren and Tiffany Eatman Allen’s Career Q & A: A Librarian’s Real-Life Guide to Managing a Successful Career offers an up-to-date and practical response to these queries. Purporting to offer advice to librarians at all stages of their careers, Markgren and Allen divide their book into three broad sections based on the metaphor that one’s career is a stage: “Setting the Stage,” “Staging Your Own Set,” and “Finishing Stages.” Each section contains four or five chapters that relate to each career stage. “Setting the Stage,” for instance, includes chapters on applying for positions, from drafting a cover letter and résumé to managing online identities and preparing for interviews. The middle section, “Staging Your Own Set,” focuses on early and mid-career concerns, such as the career benefits of becoming involved with professional associations, transitions between positions both inside and outside one’s organization, and non-traditional information-related positions available for MLIS graduates. The third section focuses on transitioning into management positions, establishing professional networks, keeping up with technology trends, and preparing for retirement. Markgren and Allen offer their readers a wealth of practical knowledge and advice that comes from their combined 30 years of professional experience and their online career advice column.
Although written for librarians at all stages of their careers, this book is perhaps best suited for MLIS students and recent graduates. The advice is not only practical but also clear and engaging; it will encourage MLIS students to think beyond simply obtaining their first position to how to manage their entire careers. More experienced practitioners may find the advice offered on subjects such as career transitions or retirement too generic or cursory, although Markgren and Allen do provide a limited appendix of additional resources that may be a useful starting point for individuals looking for more information on these issues. In addition to giving their own perspective on each topic, the authors turned to other information professionals to provide advice to their readers. These additional voices of advice included interviews with prominent LIS professionals, such as the co-creator of the instant messaging reference service LibraryH3lp, as well as responses from an informal survey the authors sent to [End Page R1] various e-mail discussion groups and social media sites. There is no Canadian-specific content referred to by the authors (although 4% of the survey respondents were Canadian), making the short appendix of resources useful only for American librarians or Canadian graduates hoping to move to the United States; however, the majority of their advice is very practical in nature and applicable to both Americans and Canadians equally. The small but functional index of key concepts supports the detailed table of contents, which makes specific sections of the book easily accessible for quick reference. This book is recommended for MLIS students looking for practical advice on preparing for the job search and tips for managing their emerging careers.