Publishing Can Get Your Library Career Off the Shelf

If you are contemplating what to do with that new library degree, or what move to make in your current career as a librarian, take a look at publishing. That’s what Kalle Covert, a digital resources librarian at McGraw-Hill Education told attendees during a panel at SLA’s June meeting.

Today, librarians are wearing many different hats, Covert says.

“We really can’t be defined by place anymore,” she says. “There are so many librarians working in non-traditional roles and in non-traditional places. But I would argue that there are still a lot of skills that these librarians have in common, and a lot of these skills are highly transferable and highly desirable in the publishing world, so if you have an interest in moving outside of a traditional library role, I’d definitely encourage you to look at publishing, there’s a lot of opportunities for librarians. Your skill set really is desirable.”

Among these opportunities are sales, training, marketing, and product management, Covert says. “It comes down to marketing yourself, knowing your skillset, knowing what you’re good at, [and] finding your niche. Maybe even taking that to the publisher and telling them this isn’t necessarily a librarian job you’ve advertised here, but a lot of librarians can do it and do it extremely well.”

After getting her library sciences degree in 2012, Covert says her first job was working in a health sciences library. She moved on to a vendor librarian position at a New York City startup that created citation software. There, she was part of a four-person librarian team, out of a company of 20 people. She took the position with McGraw-Hill Education in 2014 because she wanted the opportunity to work with health sciences resources again.

A career in publishing gives librarians an opportunity to use their diverse skill sets, Covert says.

“There really are opportunities for librarians at all stages of their career,” she says. “I started fairly early in my career working for library resource providers, but it’s a great second job for a lot of people who just want a more reliable 9-to-5 schedule, or consulting roles, but all different types of specialists are really desirable in publishing—subject specialists for their broad market knowledge, our electronic resources librarians for their knowledge of library tech and the library landscape, they already speak that language, as well as acquisitions librarians, librarians working for consortia who are already skilled in contract negotiation and in vendor management.”

For more insights from Covert about McGraw-Hill Education’s resources and library careers, please watch her presentation from SLA 2016 in Philadelphia.



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