At SLA’s Annual Conference in Boston this past June, I had the opportunity to moderate a career panel. Kim Dority spoke, and also provided SLA’s closing keynote address. Both inspiring and practical, Kim provides the kind of advice that motivates each of us to find our most rewarding career path and be our true selves. I reached out to her recently to discuss her forthcoming book, Rethinking Information Work, 2nd edition.
Dee: The first edition of Rethinking Information Work is a highly holistic approach to career planning. What updates did you include in the new edition?
Kim: The updates I made reflected the substantial changes the profession has undergone in the past ten years, both contracting and expanding. For example, school librarianship has taken a terrible employment hit in recent years as more and more school administrators decide that having a knowledgeable, trained teacher-librarian working with students is no longer a budget priority for them. It’s a terrible decision for many reasons (all highly documented), but it’s the new reality. So when I wrote about school librarianship as a career path, I tried to be as honest and factual as possible about the career realities.
On the other hand, the emerging opportunities in disciplines like data management, digital asset management, embedded librarianship, user experience design, data visualization, instructional design, and digital content creation and marketing (to name just a few) are expanding like crazy.
The challenge for LIS professionals is to 1) figure out what these jobs are called, since the titles and job descriptions are still sorting themselves out, and 2) effectively “map” or translate their LIS skills into language that aligns with the hiring organization. So I’ve tried to include useful, actionable information about new types of LIS work, job titles, and skills translation.