Digital Archives

Salaries of librarians with an ALA certified education are nearly $5,000 more than librarians without certified degrees.

There are more than 200,000 librarians employed in the USA and approximately 80% of them are women. Roughly two thirds of them work at a public library and the rest work at private institutions or non-profit organizations.

Surveys consistently show that librarians report lower stress levels from work than many other professions. No job is stress-free, but librarians do have a more pleasant work environment than many other jobs.

Library and Information Science degrees and careers

Believe it or not, professional librarian career paths are far more numerous and diverse than most aspirants realize. Besides conventional mental imagery of the familiar figure behind huge mahogany front counters wearing spectacles pushed far down their long noses, modern librarians may be found in a broad range of work settings that run the full gambit from public libraries, to private research librarians, institutional law school libraries, secondary school libraries, historical society archive libraries and federal government libraries.

Below is a bird's eye preview of one relatively little known non-traditional librarian career path

Library and Information Science (LIS) specialization

Besides collections compilation and management, librarians must evaluate, organize, analyze, package and showcase massive quantities of data, as well as train patrons in its proper usage and access. Accordingly, LIS specialization curricula provide introductory knowledge about research, prevailing theories and practical approaches to library and information science. Those primary instructional emphases aim to impart relevant knowledge and develop high proficiency in representing and organizing informational infrastructures, in addition to IT and digital data and collections needs and usages.

LIS career prospects

Per most recent available U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) official projections as of 2010, non-traditional librarian positions will grow faster than average over the next decade, with most rapid growth anticipated for "special" data archive facilities like medical, legal, consulting, publishing and corporate libraries.

Cited grounds for this expectation is concurrent correspondingly increasing demand for specialized skills in managing vast data quantities, which must then be analyzed evaluated and organized in a customized manner designed to best suit a specific's organization's needs by employing the latest IT resources. Such skill sets are reportedly proving to be highly marketable across all business and industry sectors.

Library and Information Science (LIS) specialization sample careers

One prominent higher educational institution's official website features a conspicuous pronouncement that "LIS specialization qualifies graduates to join the leading New Age future wave of librarianship that continuously anticipates and responds to never ending imminent upcoming challenges of today's Information Age.

A list of specific real-life employers immediately follows that features the following partial roster of prestigious organizations and highly esteemed institutions:

  • New York Public Library
  • CNN
  • Library of Congress
  • Cornell University
  • Columbia University-Law Library
  • National Library of Medicine
  • Dow Chemical
  • CIA
  • Yale University

Specific educational preparation for LIS specialization

The same graduate program's official website featured content goes on to list various curricular components required for LIS students, including but not limited to the following:

  • Information Resources and Services
  • Information Seeking Behavior
  • Human Interaction in Information Retrieval
  • Online Searching and Databases
  • Information Architecture
  • Information Teaching for Literacy and Learning
  • Semantics-Based Knowledge Descriptions and Organization

As the foregoing partial listing clearly illustrates, students who choose an LIS specialty have many pleasant surprises that lie in wait just around their next level of study. Not to mention innumerable opportunities and available channels that remain wide open for handy usage in diligent micro-scale efforts that aim toward affecting truly positive major change on a macro-scale.

Therefore, this writer's closing commentary is meant to address would-be professional librarians with a word of encouragement. As once-popular solo vocalist Melba Moore advised in a 1980s hit, if you don't follow your dreams, you'll never know what's on the "Other Side of the Rainbow" at your journey's end.

Do you have a real interest in working with the community, improving the education of our future generations and being part of an institution that maintains the history, stories and experiences of our past? If so, then a career as a librarian might be right for you. This resource is designed to provide information on librarian careers, educational requirements, and job specializations to help you decide if becoming a librarian is something you want to pursue.

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