What Kinds of Jobs are Available with a Library Science Degree?
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
7. Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning
8. Administration and Management
- Alphabetical List of Institutions with ALA-Accredited Programs | American Library Association
Alphabetical list of ALA-accredited LIS programs
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:
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.
For more information on the library profession, check out these websites
- Start Your Journey! | American Library Association
- Explore a Career in Libraries... | American Library Association
Information on starting a career in libraries.