The skill set of a library science degree prepares graduates for careers in many fields and settings — not just the library.
Have you ever wondered how to translate your skills of organizing information, researching ideas, and maintaining records into a successful career? A library science degree might fit the bill.
Library science teaches learners how to catalog and manage books and other forms of information. All librarians need a master's in library science, but a degree in this field also applies to many careers outside the library.
Read on for our primer on the skills a master's in library science can help you develop, along with how to translate these abilities to other fields.
Skills Honed in Library Science Degrees
A library science degree helps students develop as researchers with strong abilities in gathering, organizing, and interpreting information. They also develop strong management, communication, and leadership skills through learning to correctly organize and maintain databases and oversee other workers.
Library science majors also need strong technology skills. As part of their coursework, they learn to use data visualization and data management tools to catalog, organize, and find records. They need strong problem-solving skills to help them analyze, troubleshoot, and solve technical issues with little supervision.
What Career Paths Do Library Science Degrees Open Up?
Master of library and information science (MLIS) graduates most commonly work as librarians in public libraries, schools, colleges, universities, and museums. Their specialized skill sets also land them work as archivists and database managers in hospitals and government agencies.
A library science degree can bring you to surprising places. Some library science majors translate their skills in research, management, and independent problem-solving to specialized manager roles in nonprofits, consulting firms, and marketing companies. The ability to archive and organize information can also lead to employment in community resource centers and laboratories.
Furthermore, library science majors can use their strong technology skills to find employment as data administrators and managers in healthcare and the corporate arena.
How You Can Use a Library Science Degree
Community organizers manage the activities of their respective communities for a specific purpose — often advocacy. They commonly find employment in nonprofits, working toward fundraising, political lobbying, or raising awareness about social justice issues. Like library science majors, they need strong orgnaization, management, and leadership skills.
Content Operations Manager
Content operations managers oversee the creation and dissemination of different kinds of web content for organizations. They typically work in marketing, public relations, and advertising. These professionals need solid skills in management, technology, and research to oversee writers and develop quality content.
These workers create, maintain, and upgrade databases for businesses. They can find employment in fields like insurance, healthcare, and education. Database managers need the strong technology skills developed by a library science degree, including data management and visualization abilities.
Digital Assets Manager
Digital assets managers often work in corporate settings, acting as archivists for the digital images, written content, and videos held by a company. Like library science majors, they need strong skills in data management, research, and leadership.
These managers oversee changes in business processes, marketing strategies, and product design in different organizations. They typically work in management and consulting services. The problem-solving, leadership, and technology skills of library science majors come in handy in this career.
Knowledge managers store, distribute, and manage assets that allow corporate entities to operate efficiently. In the companies and enterprises where they work, they often serve a role similar to both a consultant and a librarian, organizing information and helping others with research. These managers need the strong problem-solving, leadership, and management skills developed in library science.
Library Operations Manager
Library operations managers oversee staff, interact with the public, and handle the operational well-being of large libraries in postsecondary schools or public settings. These specialized managers typically have strong skills in research, leadership, and management, along with strong written and verbal communication abilities.
Marketing and Promotions Manager
Marketing and promotions managers create programs to generate interest in products and services. They typically work in corporate settings in advertising or public relations organizations. A library science major's strong skills in leadership, technology, and management come in handy in this career.
Webmasters perform the major organizational, design, and technical duties for a website's upkeep. They can work in several settings, including corporate, educational, and nonprofit work environments, and sometimes need to collaborate with marketing and branding departments. Webmasters need strong technology and independent problem-solving skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Librarians a Dying Profession?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects faster-than-average employment growth for librarians from 2019-2029.
Is an MLIS Degree Worth It?
An MLIS degree will boost your standing in the job market, as it demonstrates to employers that you have strong skills as a researcher, leader, and independent worker who will require little supervision.
What Can You Do With an MLIS Degree?
An MLIS degree can help you get a job as a librarian, organizer, manager, or archivist in corporate, nonprofit, and educational settings.
How Much Does an MLIS Cost?
Students can expect to spend around $29,000 for an MLIS degree. The average net price for students at public schools awarded grant or scholarship aid averaged $14,581 for the years 2017-2018.
How Long Does It Take To Get a Degree in Library Science?
It typically takes two years to earn an MLIS, depending on your course load. If you complete an accelerated program, you could earn an MLIS in a year.
Matthew Sweeney received his Bachelor of Arts in English with a specialization in English literature from Portland State. His writings on music and culture have appeared in the publications Eleven PDX Magazine and Secret Decoder. In his free time he enjoys reading, cinema, hiking, and cooking.
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