Resources for the Mid-Career Librarian

Blair, Linda. "Mid-Career Job Satisfaction: Plateaus and Passages." In Careers in Music Librarianship II: Traditions and Transitions, eds. Paula Elliot and Linda Blair, 71-81. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, 2004. 
Linda Blair, Head of Cataloging at the Eastman School of Music, discusses the factors that contribute to mid-career job satisfaction of music librarians. Topics covered include environment, people, flexibility, restructuring, and personal strategies. Includes bibliography.

Curran, William. "Succession: The Next Ones at Bat." College & Research Libraries 64, no. 2 (2003): 134-40.
Throughout North America, more than 83,866 librarians will soon reach the age of 65 and will be taking, or plan to take, retirement. The exodus of practicing librarians will result in a severe shortage. With the departure of the older baby boomers, a serious collective loss is imminent in terms of experience and expertise because there are few experienced, trained, middle-level managers, supervisors, and administrators within the "middle" age group of librarians who could ensure appropriate succession in the libraries following such a massive retirement exodus.

Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki. “Looking for a Job.”

This webpage from the “Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki” contains links to online job search resources, blogs and websites to watch, posts and articles to read, as well as general tips for job seekers.

McTyre, Ruthann. “Change: How a ‘Veteran’ Music Librarian Keeps Up.” Music Reference Services Quarterly 10, no. 3-4 (2006): 33-41.

Originally given as informal presentation at the Midwest Chapter Meeting of the Music Library Association in 2006, this article examines how mid-career librarians handle continuous change.

McTyre, Ruthann Boles. “Professional Associations and Societies for Music Librarians.” In Careers in Music Librarianship III, ed. by Susannah Cleveland and Joe C. Clark. Middleton, WI: A-R Editions, 2014.

McTyre provides an overview of music-related library organizations, non-music-related library organizations, and relevant music organizations. She discusses the benefits of each organization as well as its activities, publications, and service opportunities. The chapter concludes with advice about how to get involved in an organization, with an emphasis on how to make the most of the Music Library Association annual conference.

Pawlowski, Amy. “Career Flexibility: Moving between Position and Institution Types.” In Careers in Music Librarianship III, ed. by Susannah Cleveland and Joe C. Clark. Middleton, WI: A-R Editions, 2014.

Having worked as a librarian in many different environments, Pawlowski provides valuable insight into career planning on a broader level. She offers advice about moving between different types of institutions and positions, leaving the field, and reentering the field. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how to increase one’s marketability through the use of networking, professional organization involvement, professional development, and mentoring.

Quist, Ned. “Upwardly Mobile: Music Librarians Leave the Nest.” In Careers in Music Librarianship III, ed. by Susannah Cleveland and Joe C. Clark. Middleton, WI: A-R Editions, 2014.

As someone who recently made a move from music librarianship to administration, Quist discusses the attraction of a bigger playing field, a seat at the table, and new knowledge. Drawing on the experiences of four other music librarians turned administrators, he discusses why music librarians make the change and why music librarians are well prepared to become good administrators.

Smith-Borne, Hollig and Mark A. Puente. “Staying Current: Keeping Skills and Knowledge Relevant in a Dynamic Professional Landscape.” In Careers in Music Librarianship III, ed. by Susannah Cleveland and Joe C. Clark. Middleton, WI: A-R Editions, 2014.

In a field facing continuous change, Smith-Borne and Puente emphasize the importance of staying current. They discuss avenues for professional development, including credit and non-credit courses, leadership training programs, massive open online courses (MOOCs), training opportunities offered by library consortia, professional association conferences and preconference workshops, webinars and webcasts, social media, and professional literature. The authors offer specific examples of each that would most benefit music librarians, as well as an appendix of recommended journals.

Wade, Linda Burkey and Carol Smallwood. Job Stress and the Librarian: Coping Strategies from the Professionals. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2013.

This collection of essays contains practical information on dealing with difficulty co-workers, dealing with stress, and navigating career changes. Of particular interest are the chapters “Stuck in Security: The Mid-Career Frustrations of the Tenured Academic Librarian” and “No Time Like the Present: Proactive Retirement Planning.”


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About MLA

The Music Library Association is the professional association for music libraries and librarianship in the United States. Founded in 1931, it has an international membership of librarians, musicians, scholars, educators, and members of the book and music trades. Complementing the Association’s national and international activities are eleven regional chapters that carry out its programs on the local level.