Librarians at large: alternative careers in bookstores, private libraries and publishing


If you’re after something a bit different, there are a multitude of career options outside of the ‘traditional library path’ that you can pursue with your library qualifications. Many library school graduates have gone on to create rewarding careers in a variety of non-traditional roles. One such example is Alex Berman, who wrote a guest post about his experiences in the Hack Library School blog.

After graduation, Mr Berman started work as a Content Manager at Kaplan Publishing. He created metadata for their products and implemented metadata standards for their content. From his experiences in this role, he realized how valuable his LIS skills were in a variety of positions outside of libraries. At the time of writing the blog post, Berman was working at Reader’s Digest as a business analyst and product owner for the company’s internal CMS systems. Mr Berman’s story is inspirational, and he offers many practical tips for those who are keen to try an alternative career path.

Another possible career option is ‘private library curator’, where you can build personal libraries for clients. This may involve working with decorators or architects who need to fill the libraries in homes they have built, but do not have this particular expertise. You may have special requests for rare books, or for items on particular subjects. Kinsey Marable has been building private libraries since 1999 – he was an investment banker before he opened a rare book store in 1994. Nick Dunne builds beautiful custom libraries for customers in over 60 countries, beginning this business from a London bookshop that opened in 1936. “Dunne has kitted out a hotel, at least one cruise ship and a fleet of private jets”. If building private libraries doesn’t tickle your fancy, you could always just own a book shop!

If you need more ideas on alternative careers, and LIS careers generally, the Simmons Library guide contains a wealth of resources and knowledge on the topic. If you’ve got suggestions about more alternative careers for librarians, we’d love to hear them! Feel free to join in the conversation in our comments below, or on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn using the tag #interlibnet.

Michelle De Aizpurua, ILN Content Officer

Posted in Discussion topics, Round 2016A and tagged , , , , , , .

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