Mid-career librarianship looks different for everyone. Maybe you’ve worked in libraries for ten years, or you’re halfway to retirement. Maybe you’ve reached the highest level of a hierarchy you care to reach. Most of the literature about mid-career librarianship tends to focus on advancing to leadership or administration, but many of us are more concerned with how to continue to grow professionally without moving upward; how to make decisions about staying in an institution (or the profession); sustaining yourself amid burnout, constant change, wage compression, or even boredom; and navigating cultures of white supremacy, patriarchy, and hierarchy.
In four sections, Thriving as a Mid-Career Librarian collects the experiences of mid-career librarians as they grapple with these questions and the roles that marginalized perspectives, intersectionality, and privilege have played in their careers:
Section 1: Staying Engaged in Your Career
Section 2: The Role of Identity in Shaping Mid-career Librarianship
Section 3: Being Your Own Advocate
Section 4: To Lead or Not to Lead?
Chapters explore maintaining engagement and avoiding burnout; informal mentorships; the doctorate; union stewardship; addressing incivility; post-tenure fatigue; balancing ambition, personal fulfillment, and life; and much more.
It can feel like everything gets harder, more political, and further under-resourced with each passing year. Thriving as a Mid-Career Librarian offers strategies of community, support, and advocacy that can help make it possible for us to thrive and help others to thrive. At mid-career, we may not have the same bright-eyed enthusiasm we possessed as new information professionals, but we have other things: the contributions we make to our communities and the wealth of experience we have built up since those days.
About the Author
Brandon K. West (he/him) is the head of Research Instruction Services and liaison to the social sciences at the State University of New York at Geneseo’s Milne Library. His research interests include examining the intersections of information literacy and online learning, applying instructional design principles to enhance student learning, and addressing LGBTQ+ issues in libraries. He has a MEd in educational technology from Grand Valley State University, a MLS from Texas Woman’s University, and a MS in curriculum development from the University at Albany. He was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Librarianship in 2019. This is his third volume for ACRL Publications, with the former being Creative Instructional Design: Practical Applications for Librarians (2017) and Reflections on Practitioner Research: A Practical Guide for Information Professionals (2020). His advice is to not take your work home with you as often as possible and make time for hobbies—your job is not a hobby. You will be a better librarian if you allow yourself to decompress in your free time.
Elizabeth Galoozis (she/her) is head of Information Literacy and Student Engagement at the Claremont Colleges Library. Her research interests include critical information literacy, feminist pedagogy, and identity in the library workplace. Her work has appeared in Library Quarterly, In the Library with the Lead Pipe, Library Juice Press, and at ACRL, CALM, and LOEX conferences. She is the co-editor, along with Carolyn Caffrey and Rebecca Halpern, of Hidden Architectures of Information Literacy Programs: Structures, Practices, and Contexts. Her creative work has been published in Phoebe, Air/Light, Sinister Wisdom, and RHINO, among others. She advises mid-career librarians to articulate their personal values and come back to them when making decisions.