The traditional concept of a library is being redefined from a place to access paper records or books to one that also houses the most advanced electronic resources, including the Internet, digital libraries, and remote access to a wide range of information sources. Consequently, librarians, often called information professionals, increasingly combine traditional duties with tasks involving quickly changing technology. Librarians help people find information and use it effectively for personal and professional purposes. They must have knowledge of a wide variety of scholarly and public information sources and must follow trends related to publishing, computers, and the media in order to oversee the selection and organization of library materials. Librarians manage staff and develop and direct information programs and systems for the public and ensure that information is organized in a manner that meets users’ needs. (bls.gov 2008-05-08)
For a professional career as a librarian or information specialist, a master’s degree in library science (mls) or library and information science (mlis) is generally required. Many colleges and universities offer library science programs, but employers often prefer graduates of the 56 schools accredited by the American Library Association .
Students interested in pursuing graduate studies in library and information science can prepare by:
- Completing a bachelor’s degree. While your academic major does not matter, library schools can be competitive and expect students to have a high GPA, strong scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), professional and faculty letters of recommendation, and a compelling statement of interest. Related undergraduate coursework in computer applications and programming, statistics, English, history, journalism, communication and foreign language is recommended.
- Review the SLED Testing and Education Reference Center for GRE test preps. You will want to choose Graduate Schools after clicking on Testing and Education Reference Center.
- There are specialized Library Science programs that offer dual degrees in law, economics, medical research and technology. These programs may require specific prerequisite coursework or experience for admission.
- Master's in Library and Information Science programs focus on technology as a means of accessing and dispersing information. A familiarity with computers, computer programs and internet research is helpful. Recommended UAF courses include: LS 101X, most CIOS courses; CS 101, 103, 201 and 202; AIS 101 and 310; JRN 250, 371, 471, and 472 (UAF catalog course descriptions).
Additional information for preparing for a career in library and information science can be found at:
- American Library Association
- Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Schools with programs in Library Science and/or Information Sciences: