Online Discussion Forum January 2006

Third Time's the Charm: Choosing a Career in Librarianship by Paula McMillen on the LISjobs website.

From Engineer to Librarian by Dave Hook on the LISjobs website.

Leaving Science for LIS by Julie Hallmark and Mary Frances Lembo in the online Issues in Science and Technology Librarianshp

The Internship Bridge by Stacy Shotsberger in LIScareer

Why Switch?

1. Love the excitement, the variety, the interaction with all sorts of people, and the brain power needed to be successful in this position.

2. Librarianship is the profession of refugees from other professions. I am inclined to believe that people come to librarianship because they want to do something to feed the heart and soul.

3. A lot of people choose librarianship after they’ve had other careers. Part of being a librarian is having a wide range of knowledge.

What recommendations do you have for making the switch to librarianship?

1. Complete an internship or substantial volunteer work

    * Allows you to see how your background fits into the library profession

    * Potential to establish relationships with librarians to ask career-related questions to aid the transition

    * Any experience working in a library or customer service is extremely worthwhile

    * An internship can provide confidence in your choice to choose librarianship as a new career

2. Consider doing your class projects for a "real library”

3. See a career counselor

4. Staying somewhat involved in your first career can sometimes be an asset to your career in librarianship.

Challenges and strategies for managing the transition

1. Make a list of all of the aspects of your current career that apply to being a librarian. These could include working with people, making presentations, etc. When interviewing, you can point out these transferable skills.

2. Make sure to translate the skills into library terminology. Do not assume that a library search committee will understand the terminology used in your previous profession, or that they will see a direct transfer to libraries. Spell it out clearly as possible.

3. Prepare for a potential change in financial situation. Looking at this issue objectively before you begin in an MLS program and making the appropriate lifestyle changes can be beneficial.

4. People switching from established careers where they have responsibility and proven capabilities may find it challenging to transition to a new career. Potential career switchers need to be ready for this initial change in status.

5. Friends and family may make surprising comments about your switch to librarianship

6. Some libraries, depending on the type of library, can have a very different work environment than one may be accustom to in their old job.

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