Library Science Degree: How to Get it and the Possible Career Paths

library science degree

When you think of a degree in Library Science, you may picture somebody who works in a library that can help locate a book with ease or can answer your questions about using a computer. These are great skills to have and are helpful to a community, but a Library Science degree can be bigger than that. Libraries, schools, businesses, and companies wouldn’t exist without help from a library science specialist.

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Some people may not even know you could get a degree in Library Science. There is a lot that happens behind the closed doors of a successful and thriving library, and a person with a Library Science degree is the person controlling most of the gears.

Although being a Library Specialist seems like a niche degree, a career specializing in library science can provide a lifetime of opportunity–and it’s not even always at a library. Many library science specialists work with youths, adults, retirees and seniors, people in correctional facilities, and important businesses and firms. Some library science specialists are even self-employed, work electronically, or are freelancers.

About the Library Science Degree

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Library Science is a degree that provides a nearly endless amount of career opportunities. If you love to help and teach people, have experience in computers and research with an eye for detail, and a thirst for learning and finding answers, then majoring in Library Science could be for you. While attending school for a library science degree, you will also gain important skills like writing, data research and analysis, communication and team work, and computer science.

What Is the American Library Association?

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A degree in Library Science is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). The ALA is a nonprofit organization that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the biggest library association in the entire world and accredits academic programs that prepare professional librarians.

Programs that are approved by the ALA offer degrees such as Master of Library Science, Master of Arts, Master of Librarianship, Master of Library and Information Studies, and Master of Science. If a program is ALA accredited that means that the program meets the ALA Committee on Accreditation’s Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies.

If you enroll in a program at a school that is accredited by the ALA, like a Library Science degree, then your hard work is recognized by employers and your career opportunities are enhanced.

What Can You Do with a Library Science Degree?

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A library science degree, and other programs like information systems and technology, are generally accredited by the ALA which maximizes your career opportunities. Today, many Library Science professionals work in schools and libraries. However, career opportunities are expanding with those who have information and technology expertise due to the Library Science degree. With skills like these, a Library Science specialist can work in corporations, firms, businesses, and other careers that require and involve expertise in the Internet and research.

Related skills, classes, and degrees include journalism, technical or business writing, programming, web design and development, database management, outstanding organizational skills, knowledge of foreign languages, education and teaching, business and administration, and public speaking and presenting. Some careers, like an academic or school librarian, may also include a teaching certificate. Some libraries may help you acquire one though others may require that you get your own.

Library Science Career Outlook and Salaries

A degree in Library Science can open so many doors because it is such a flexible career and the knowledge you could gain help build special, expertise skills. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment opportunities to grow for library science professionals by 2% by 2024. Though the rate is expected to become limited by government budget restrictions and the availability of electronic resources, librarians with library science and technology experience are expected to have a greater chance of employment than average.

Archivists and related positions are expected to increase by 7% due to the increasing number of business and corporations that need help to manage their growing collection of records. The median salary for an archivist is $50,500. Salaries vary by position and employer, but the median salary for librarians is $57,860. Librarian directors earned a median salary of $61,805.

Academic Librarian

An academic librarian works at a community college or university and is expected to work one-on-one with students, teachers, and other faculty. An academic librarian may also present seminars and presentations. Classes in communications and computer science could be helpful. An academic librarian would have skills specializing in many media, archiving, publishing, teaching, research support, and referencing and circulation.

The median salary for this library science degree career is about $61,000.

School Librarian

A school librarian works at K-12 schools or for school districts. Much like an academic librarian, a school librarian can help teachers develop lesson plans and the ability to work and teach with children. School librarians may also give presentations to help a teacher with a specific curriculum unit. Many states require a Master’s in Library Science or a related field. With a degree in Library Science, you could also become a teacher, administrator, or a media specialist within a school environment.

The median salary for this library science degree career is about $56,000.

Public Librarian

A public librarian can be many positions, such as an information specialist, an administrator, or a catalogue specialist. A public librarian may be employed at central libraries, a library branch, or could provide library services to jails, retirement and nursing homes, hospitals, and many other places.

The median salary for this library science career is about $55,000.

Special Collection Librarian

A public librarian can be many positions, such as an information specialist, an administrator, or a catalogue specialist. A public librarian may be employed at central libraries, a library branch, or could provide library services to jails, retirement and nursing homes, hospitals, and many other places.

The median salary for this library science career is about $55,000.

Information Service

An information service librarian is important to large corporations and information service agencies. A librarian that specializes in information servicing may also work independently as a freelancer. This library science career requires skill in areas like researching, index and abstracting, online retrieval, programming, and database management.

The median salary for this library science degree career is about $42,000.

Information Systems and Technology

An information systems and technology librarian could be employed by universities, libraries, corporations, data processing centers, or government agencies. This library science career helps organizations with the storage, retrieval, and management of records or information. Positions include design and development, management, web development and maintenance, reprography, information architecture, programming, system analyst, and more.

The median salary for this library science degree career is about $42,000.

Electronic Publisher

An electronic publisher with a library science degree—also known as a digital librarian—has the potential to be employed by many types of business. This includes database producers, business firms, universities, nonprofit organizations, electronic publishers like online magazines, websites, or newspapers.
An electronic publishing specialist could also freelance. This career path usually requires professionals to create and distribute publications in electronic form.
The median salary for this library science degree career is about $54,000, though it ranges from $22,000 to $99,000 nationally.

There are many other jobs and positions that can be occupied with a Library Science degree. It often requires skills like communication, teaching, and Internet expertise, which can be spread across many plains.

Conclusion

A librarian is the unsung hero in their community. They work behind the scenes but are vital to the everyday function of many local communities, organizations, businesses, and companies. With accreditation from the ALA, prospects for those with this degree are nearly limitless–and the skills that are learned from a Library Science education are priceless.

If you are interested in helping your community, being the cog that keeps things running smoothly, and putting your educational, informational, and technological skills to use, then consider pursuing a Library Science degree. You could be a librarian just like famous historical figures Benjamin Franklin, Melvil Dewey, the ancient Greek scholar Eratosthenes, and many others.

Visit the American Library Association website at http://www.ala.org to find accredited programs and schools near you. There are 59 accredited programs, and two that are candidates seeking accreditation. Don’t wait any longer to pursue your dream career.

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