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What Kinds of Jobs are Available with a Library Science Degree?

Updated on January 10, 2016

The Librarian by Arcimboldo


A Library Degree can lead you to places you never expected

What kind of jobs are available with a library degree? There are lots of different kinds of libraries out there, and lots of different kinds of librarians. Some work with the public, some with private companies, some with adults, some with children... but all of them work with information, and in our increasingly digital world, a librarian is not only somebody who invites people to read good books, but somebody who enables others to discover timely, accurate information that is otherwise difficult for them to find and properly interpret. Librarians are teaching in your school, researching for doctors in your local hospital, and working as a Web Analytics Manager for your local corporation. Your local library - it's about books, and a whole lot more.


How do you get a Library Science Degree?

A Library Science Degree is typically a Master's Degree from a University that offers a Library and Information Science Department. In some cases, this academic discipline is now referred to merely as "Information Science." At the University of Texas at Austin, a student enrolled in the MIS department will complete forty hours worth of graduate level coursework to obtain his or her degree. These courses will explain how people in the modern technological environment collect, organize, and present information in a wide variety of formats to an eclectic mix of people in different environments. The American Library Association lists these six elements as the Core Competencies of Librarianship:

1. Foundations of the Profession
2. Information Resources
3. Organization of Recorded Knowledge and Information
4. Technological Knowledge and Skills
5. Reference and User Services
6. Research
7. Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning
8. Administration and Management

Library shelves
Library shelves | Source

Traditional Library Careers

Public Librarian - A librarian in a public library is trained to understand basic cataloging rules for organizing information found in books, DVDs, and other tangible formats in a logical and consistent manner. He or she is likely to work at an information desk, helping customers find specific books, movies or other items, or researching the collection to find the answers to specific reference questions. These questions could involve anything from stock prices to recipe ingredients, to instructions on how to fix a car or how to do a science experiment. Public libraries serve everyone from toddlers just learning to enjoy board books to senior citizens looking for the smartest investment strategies to aid in their coming retirement. Public librarians troubleshoot computers, solve the mysteries known as reference questions, and create educational and entertaining programs for the public. Public librarians review new books, tell stories, and preserve treasured manuscripts of bygone days.

School Librarian - A librarian in a school library is very likely to have a teaching certificate instead of, or in addition to, the master's degree in library and information studies. A school librarian will create a collection that is meant to serve the curriculum needs of a specific grade level. The school librarian will create educational programs that encourage children to use the information resources available to them in a multitude of formats, and will provide instruction on mastering information in print, media, and digital formats. The school librarian will also become an expert on communicating with teachers, administration, and the students they all serve.

Academic Librarian - Academic librarians support the research efforts of student and faculty at institutions of higher learning. At larger universities, these academic libraries may be very specialized by academic field, and many academic librarians have advanced degrees in the specific academic discipline that is served by their particular facility. A major university might have libraries devoted to engineering, history, chemistry, fine arts, or a specific foreign language. Many universities employ archivists, who are library specialists devoted to the preservation and digitization of older manuscripts. Academic librarians will employ research databases and advanced digital searches to find scholarly materials not always available in a non-academic setting.

Special Librarian - Special libraries support the information needs of a wide variety of fields, including law firms, seminaries,hospitals, museums, charitable organizations, and even private businesses. The job descriptions of special librarians are as diverse as the institutions they serve; they are alike in that the information professionals involved with each institution are dedicated to collecting, organizing, and retrieving the information needed for that particular organization.


Nontraditional careers for people with Library Science degrees

With the advance of the internet and the huge information explosion, new opportunities now exist for librarians that have never existed before. Increasingly, library professionals can now find work in these new, exciting fields:

- Information Architect

- Information Management Consultant

- Taxonomist

- Records Management

- Social Software Specialist

- Search Engine Evaluator

As information technologies develop, new opportunities for development in the world of information science are certain to increase. The possibilities for tomorrow's information professionals are endless.

Video created by HieAnon in support of an application for the Librarianship Into the Future scholarship, at the iSchool @ Syracuse University.


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    • Paxash profile image

      Darcie Nadel 14 months ago from Louisiana

      I'm currently applying to library science graduate programs, so this was a very useful and informative hub for me. Thanks for writing it!

    • ESPeck1919 profile image

      ESPeck1919 5 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      I had no idea there were so many options out there for that degree. Very interesting hub!

    • Written Up profile image

      Written Up 5 years ago from Oklahoma City, OK

      Well written and informative. Awesome hub.

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 5 years ago from Virginia

      I found your article very interesting as I've been looking at this career path over the past year, and it is amazing how many different types of jobs are in this field. Nice work communicating this information and great pics.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      That front pic, really amazing! I liked this hub. There's quite a few oppotunities in this sector, even with downsizing in the public arena.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 5 years ago

      Really informative hub with useful information. I worked at a Medical Center Library for a couple of years and it opened my eyes to the fact that there are so many types of libraries/librarians out there. Before I worked there I always pictured a library as my little local library or my college library which I rarely frequented.