Adventures of An Aspiring Librarian

What Can You Do With A Masters in Library Science (MLS) Degree?

on February 27, 2013

What can you do with your degree?

As an aspiring librarian, I will have many career options to choose from once I obtain my degree. Here are three of countless career paths ahead of me:

Public libraries–Public librarians are the kind of librarian most of you have probably come into contact with at least once in your life. It is a sector for those dedicated to community welfare and to the idea that every person (regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic circumstances) has the right to equal access to information. Public librarians evaluate, select, and obtain books and other materials for the public to use. They carefully examine their surrounding community (and its demographics) before selecting the resources, because they want to tailor the collection to their users. Public librarians often teach classes on information and computer literacy to children and senior citizens (among other members of the public). If you have a question about any topic, your public librarian probably can find the answer for you!

Academic libraries–Academic librarians work in universities and colleges. They typically have subject specialties (English, Science, Languages) and they help students and faculty conduct their research properly. They facilitate and support this learning by teaching information retrieval and research skills in instruction classes. Academic librarians typically know a lot about copyright, and they work carefully with electronic journals and database publishers to make sure students and faculty have the resources they need for their research.

Special libraries–A special library is any library that not an academic, public, or school library. Special libraries can include (but aren’t limited to): law libraries, medical libraries, corporate/financial libraries, government libraries, museum libraries, non-profit libraries, and newspaper libraries. I bet you didn’t know all those kinds of libraries existed! These kinds of organizations are specialized (hence the word) and the librarians embedded within them typically develop a certain set of skills in order to properly do their jobs.

For example, medical librarians work in hospitals to help doctors, patients and medical school students find the current and up to date information they need (whether for an immediate surgery, patient consulting, or a research paper). Corporate librarians, on the other hand, help organize and disseminate information within their respective organizations (whether by finding competitive intelligence on company rivals, aggregating and analyzing financial information, or other similar tasks).

At this point in time, my specialization focus in school is on Special Libraries and Knowledge Management. I want to work in the federal government as a federal librarian.

However, if I wanted to, I could also be one of the following (note that the word LIBRARY is not in any of these job titles): information architect, taxonomist, information management consultant, cataloger, information resource officer, research specialist.

No matter which route I choose, I know I’ll be working with people and information.

So, whether I end up here:

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or here:

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I know I’ll be happy in the end.

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