Friday, October 23, 2009

Article Note: Short one on changing librarian career

Citation for the article:

Fontenot, Mitchell J., "The Ambidextrous Librarian, or 'You Can Teach a Middle-Aged Dog Some New Tricks!'" Reference and User Services Quarterly 48.1 (Fall 2008): 26-28.

Read via EBSCO.

This is a short article with tips and advice for "older" (read middle age) librarians who may want to change their career. The career path in question is from a specialized field in librarianship, law librarian, to more general academic reference and instruction. Only problem I had with the article is the promulgation of the eternal line that there are massive retirements coming and thus tons of new job openings. We have not seen that happen, and given current economic conditions, it will not be happening anytime soon. I wish people would stop doing a disservice and finally face some reality. The author was fortunate to turn a temporary position into a permanent one, but that is more the exception than the rule.

So, putting aside my minor objections, the author does provide some good tips. Since his new position is tenure-line, he discusses the responsibility of writing for publication, which I was happy he did so since this is not often discussed in the literature. He talks about how his first efforts were rejected, but he persevered until he got published. At the end of the day, the message for us readers is to keep an open mind, be flexible, and remember to keep on learning. These are things all librarians are (or should be) capable of doing.

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