Summer Reading List: Can’t Miss Essentials and Innovator Guidebooks

Career Blog

Published: June 12, 2019 by Greta Snyder

You started the SJSU iSchool MLIS program because of your insatiable curiosity and desire to grow your career; so, let’s keep up the momentum! Summer is a great time to hit reset, recommit to your values and take some time out for self-care and refreshing your thirst for knowledge by reading some game-changing books. This week’s post will give you a great reading list of interesting and essential nonfiction books for LIS professionals to explore.

Books, say it out loud, see just the word is relaxing, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be super productive! Last week, we reviewed SJSU iSchool’s awesome career podcasts and if you are enjoying tuning in and keeping your learning hands-free, many of these books are available as audiobooks, so you can listen while you go for that long-awaited bike ride by the beach. Many books are also super affordable and portable as e-books (and sometimes even free for SJSU students through King Library), so you can take your career-building library with you and keep learning on the go. Links for where to find each book are included below. Happy reading!

Essential LIS Career Development Books

Be Opportunity-Minded: Start Growing Your Career Now by Caitlin Williams: Indispensable words of advice from an ALA Career Coach and former SJSU instructor; this book focuses on exploring opportunities and cultivating a positive mindset and strategies for growth. Listen to the author on the American Libraries Dewey Decimal Podcast.

Available here: ALA Store, Amazon, King Library

Career Transitions for Librarians: Proven Strategies for Moving to Another Type of Library by Davis Erin Anderson and Raymond Pun: do you already work in a library and joined the MLIS program to expand your career, potentially to another type of library or even another field? This book is a crucial tool to help remove the fear and guide you through the process.

Available here: Google Books, Amazon

The Librarian’s Skillbook: 51 Essential Career Skills for Information Professionals by Deborah Hunt and David Grossman: what is better than 2 experienced LIS professionals providing a skill-based roadmap for your career that provides case studies and examples of 51 crucial LIS skills? Check out the book’s companion website.

Available here: Amazon

The New Information Professional: Your Guide to Careers in the Digital Age by Judy Lawson, Joanna Kroll, and Kelly Kowatch: full of useful information and organized clearly to breakdown different pathways. This book allows you to choose your own adventure as you explore options to identify career titles, internship ideas, and necessary skills laid out in a flowchart manner to help you visualize your career. Read a book review here.

Available here: ALA Store, Amazon

Rethinking Information Work: A Career Guide for Librarians and Other Information Professionals by SJSU iSchool’s amazing Career Consultant Kim Dority: do you need Google Maps for your career? This is the book for you; let Kim take you for one heck of a ride! This book explores creative directions that give you options, provides strategic insight and much-needed assurance that you can reach your dream destination. As one reviewer on Amazon writes “Every LIS professional and student should own this book!”

Available here: Amazon, King Library

Cross-Discipline Career Development Reads

Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together by Pamela Slim: provides a helpful perspective of how to tell your own story and create narrative cohesion from all your work experiences in order to craft the tale of your future

Available here: Amazon, Audible

The Book of Beautiful Questions: The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead by Warren Berger: do you seek to lead, inspire, make better decisions and anticipate opportunities with fresh approaches? This book can help you ask the right questions to elevate your skills with actionable advice.

Available here: Amazon, Audible

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain:  this book is a lifesaver for introverts, a really intriguing and compassionate analysis of personality traits that will help you better understand yourself and others – whether you are the life of the party or at home reading this book right now.

Available here: Amazon, Audible, King Library (physical book)

Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams – Barbara Sher – as LIS professionals we are frequently creative dabblers with many passions, and this book embraces this approach with strategic ways to not panic or feel distracted.Instead, Sher encourages you to leverage your dazzling array of interests and skills. The result? As one Amazon reviewer writes, “finally! I feel understood, validated and liberated to be who I am!”

Available here: Amazon, Google

Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic:  an intriguing look at fundamentals of data visualization and how to effectively communicate information in presentations. Very useful skills for iSchool coursework, leadership roles and those looking to purse data analytic positions.

Available here: Amazon, Audible, King Library

Interesting LIS/Librarianship Books

Crash Course in Marketing for Libraries – by SJSU iSchool’s own innovative and brilliant Dr. Sue Alman:  first, if at all possible take Dr. Alman’s exceptional course, INFO 283 on Marketing. But if you miss it, all LIS students should read her book to understand library marketing (a crucial current skill) and be sure to check out her insights on the crucial career game changer of self-marketing.

Available here: Amazon, King Library

Wholehearted Librarianship: Finding Hope, Inspiration, and Balance by SJSU iSchool’s phenomenal Dr. Michael Stephens:  hot off the presses July 8, 2019, pre-order this inspirational release from a true visionary thinker in the field. Read the ALA blurb.

Available for pre-order here: Amazon, ALA

Also, have you taken his INFO 287 class Hyperlinked Libraries? If not, you 100% must try to, but at least take the chance read his previously released The Heart of Librarianship: Attentive, Positive, and Purposeful Change (ALA Editions, 2016). This book offers an insightful pathway to envisioning how to not just manage change in a digital hyperlinked and physical world, but to lead it and realize the potential for positive impact to your career and patrons.

Available here: Amazon, ALA, King Library

Is Your Current Career or Career Path a Teacher-Librarian or Children’s Librarian?

Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real About Race in School – Mica Polluck – This selection of collected essays tackles a very tough topic and is an essential tool to work through these issues, providing practical advice for equity in education every day.

Available here: Amazon, King Library (physical copy)

Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom (The Norton Series on the Social Neuroscience of Education)Patricia A. Jennings – Anyone that works with children or has one knows that it is crucial to remain calm and carry on with focused intention; this book provides practical steps for cultivating an exceptional learning environment and keeping yourself revitalized.

Available here: Amazon, Google

Want to Be a Leader, Influencer and/or Innovator?

The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen and Clayton M. Christensen: do you want to be a disruptive innovator? This book analyzes top innovative leaders in tech and other fields to identify the top shared traits of “associating, questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting,” and then provides actionable steps to put these attributes into practice yourself.

Available here: Amazon, Audible

Linchpin: Are you Indispensable by Seth Godin:  ever feel afraid to step out on a limb, take a major chance at work or pursue a creative dream? This book is your pep talk to keep putting yourself out there and really celebrate all that you have accomplished as well as what you can do.

Available here: Amazon, Audible

Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Hartford:  in the LIS field, we constantly deal with chaos, disruption, change and embracing the unknown, so you will love this book! Check out my book review here.

Available here: Amazon, Audible

Ready to Take a Deep Breath?

Self-compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Dr. Kristin Neff:  summer is a great time to get a little Zen, let go of doubts, keep putting yourself out there to connect with others, and build the career you dream about; let this book talk you through it!

Available here: Amazon, Audible

Final Notes

Keep reading for upcoming posts on other creative ways to learn this summer: virtual conferences or webinars (both recorded and upcoming), free MOOCs, taking specific skill-focused classes or training online, writing and submitting papers to academic journals or online publications, and blogging.

Important update from iSchool: Full 2019 LIS Job Report or check out the overview.

I’d love to hear what you are reading and recommending, both non-fiction and fiction, or how you are discovering new ways to learn this summer! Please comment below, email me, or Tweet or DM at me @futuregreta.

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Librarian's Skillbook

Thanks Greta, for promoting The Librarian's Skillbook. I'm just back from the SLA (Special Libraries Association) conference and still hear how the book changed the careers of colleagues.

RE: Librarian's Skillbook

Thanks Deb! It is such a great resource for students and current LIS professionals, and I am thrilled to hear that colleagues at SLA shared how much it positively impacted their careers with you! As a student starting the serious job seeking process, I cannot thank you enough for all the worthwhile advice and guidance provided by your book.

Thanks again for reading my blog and I look forward to following future projects you work on!


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