Becoming an Independent Information Professional

How to Freelance, Consult, and Contract for Fun and Profit

by Melissa M. Powell, Editor
Foreword by Loida Garcia-Febo


A must-read resource for information professionals considering a career outside of a traditional library setting—being a freelancer, consultant, or contractor.

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Cover image for Becoming an Independent Information Professional

October 2017

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 158
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Librarianship: Philosophy, Values, and Issues/LIS Profession
  Librarianship: Philosophy, Values, and Issues/General

Many LIS professionals and students are interested in independent work opportunities, either as a full-time career or on a temporary or part-time basis. This book shares the experiences of successful information professionals who work as contractors or consultants.

Have you ever dreamed of "life outside the library?" If you've ever wondered how you, as an information professional, can carve out a career or even find lucrative temporary work serving as a contractor, consultant, or freelancer, this book is for you. Editor Melissa M. Powell and other successful independent library professionals will help you decide if contracting is right for you, describe what to expect as an independent information professional, and identify the key steps to take.

This book is for any librarian in any type of library or any LIS student who wishes to do independent work, whether as a full-time consultant, trainer, or contractor or on a temporary or part-time basis. Readers will learn how to perform a self-assessment to decide if consulting work is a good fit for them and understand the market for values-based consulting. The book addresses important topics and common questions for those new to being a contractor, such as establishing a legal structure for your business, financing your start-up and maintaining the books, marketing, working with clients outside of the library profession, and project management. A list of resources and sample forms are also provided.


  • Helps librarians to determine whether they are suited for the career of being an independent information professional
  • Presents practical advice on every aspect of launching a successful career as an independent information professional—from legal and financial necessities to marketing and management strategies
  • Offers experience-based insights into the ethics and values of working independently
  • Shares candid testimonials from practicing consultants who describe what it's like to be an independent information professional
Author Info

Melissa M. Powell is a librarian currently working as an Outside Sales Consultant for The Library Corporation. She has worked for more than 35 years in libraries as a paraprofessional and degreed professional, in addition to a four-year "retirement" to work in the book selling and publishing industry. In 2006 she created her own company, BiblioEase, working as an independent consultant for over 10 years primarily in the areas of technical and public services. Powell continues to share her passion for library work by mentoring new librarians and consultants, introducing libraries to new technology, and participating in online forums and professional organizations.



"All librarians who have thought about hanging out their own shingle and consulting as freelance information professionals must read this collection of informative chapters. . . . [T]hese chapters are as encouraging as they are informative. Opportunities are out there. This work will help the entrepreneur succeed."Booklist Online

"This is a cohesive book that tackles both the upsides (freedom to choose projects) and drawbacks (uncertainty, the lack of a steady paycheck) of consulting. VERDICT An excellent primer for anyone, not just information professionals, considering freelancing or consulting."Library Journal

"Whether seeking a full-time independent career or a side hustle, readers will find this to be an exceptional tool. Best use will be for librarians or LIS students seeking independent work. Highly recommended."ARBA

In the News

Circulating Ideas, 151: Melissa Powell, 2/19/2019

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