Characteristics of the Successful Twenty‐first Century Information Professional

Vivian Grainge (Library and Information Services Manager, Freeth Cartwright LLP, UK)

Program: electronic library and information systems

ISSN: 0033-0337

Article publication date: 25 July 2008




Grainge, V. (2008), "Characteristics of the Successful Twenty‐first Century Information Professional", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 327-328.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The aim of this book is to be practical, insightful and helpful to library information professionals (LIP) who wish to learn, evolve and be the best information professional they can be.

As such it is intended for professional library and information services (LIS) staff and LIS students who want to be more successful as information professionals. My view is that it is more suited to the junior level LIP and students than for those more advanced in their careers. It serves as a good introduction to the library and information professional. The author considers that most of the topics in this book have been addressed in other books, but not from the viewpoint of information professionals, in one practical volume. He has, therefore, attempted to draw all the topics together in one, easy to read manual.

It fired my imagination and I will certainly be trying out some of the tools and techniques in my own work situation. The writing style is clear, direct and easy to understand. However, in places I felt it was rather too simple and I was puzzled about who the target audience was really meant to be.

Having said this, however, I felt there were two particularly useful contributions for more senior staff – the visualising paragraph in the “You are creative and keen to innovate” chapter, and the chapter “Adding value”.

The book is structured to describe the 16 “most essential characteristics” that the author has identified from his own experience and studies like the Special Libraries Association ‘Competencies for Information Professionals’ as being the most necessary to be successful in this field.

Depending on the reader's interests, this book may be read from cover to cover or the user can select chapters to be read on their own. Each short chapter covers one core skill area. These range from the basic characteristics and skills needed to be a LIP, such as information searching to the more highly developed or broader skills areas, for example those related to project management.

Other chapters include “being creative and keen to innovate”, “being a search engine guru“, “seeing the bigger picture”, “maintaining a healthy work life balance”, “showing leadership”, “persuading others”, “effective networking”, “adding value”, “having effective presentation skills”, “how to measure value”, “managing your time (and how to say no!)”, “information architecture”, “technical jargon”, “effectively marketing yourself” and “keeping up to date”.

Chapters are clearly set out in a simple format with succinct headings and short paragraphs. The first paragraph sets out the nature of the characteristics; this is followed by short, snappy paragraphs on techniques, guidelines and procedures about how best to achieve this.

There is a particularly useful chapter covering technical jargon. This includes an alphabetical listing of major acronyms and technologies currently available in the information situation. Chapter 17 “You are always up to date”, describes tools and techniques on how to do this, with pointers to mailing lists, web addresses and RSS feeds to assist in this. A comprehensive bibliography and index are also included.

This book is not only an excellent practical manual‐type guide, it is inspirational in writing style and makes one feel like rushing off to work and setting it all up. I think this book is a must for all LIPs.

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