rusq: Vol. 51 Issue 4: p. 380
Sources: Working in the Virtual Stacks: The New Library & Information Science
Margaret Henderson

Research & Education Librarian, Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia

One hears talk everywhere about changes in the field of librarianship, and the interviews in this book will help readers learn about the new directions the profession is taking. Laura Townsend Kane, assistant director for information services, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, has interviewed thirty-four successful librarians about their careers, jobs, and technology to provide a wide-ranging review of librarianship now.

Particularly well suited to new librarians and those wishing to change roles, this book is an update to Kane's 2003 book, Straight from the Stacks: A Firsthand Guide to Careers in Library and Information Science (ALA). In this new book, Kane arranges her interviews by roles rather than type of library because technology has dissolved many of the traditional boundaries in librarianship. Each chapter begins with an overview of the roles being covered. The interviews generally cover interviewees’ job duties, how they started and progressed in the profession, how they have participated in professional societies, and how they keep up and stay connected with the field.

The interviews are fascinating, especially for those who are familiar with the interviewees’ blogs or other writings, and will give the reader a good sense of how the interviewees became influential in their areas of expertise. A few common lessons emerge: be flexible and ready for change; pursue what you enjoy; be ready for multiple responsibilities; and become active in local, regional, and national groups. Most of the librarians share links for the blogs, listservs, and websites they use to keep up with new developments in their areas. In many cases, their positions evolved based on both external conditions and their own skills, so it is evident that one should keep learning to be ready for the new roles that are appearing in the field. The interviews also make it clear that, although advanced or subject-specific degrees are not necessary, they can lend credibility, so there will always be a place for second-career librarians.

All in all, this is an informative and interesting book about the many roles of librarians today.



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