What Jobs Can I Get with a Library Science Degree?

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue with a library science degree. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and licensure information. Schools offering Archival Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Librarian?

Individuals who obtain degrees in library science are qualified to work as librarians in a variety of different capacities and settings. They work in schools, public libraries and specialized settings such as law and medical libraries. Librarians who specialize in a particular subject are often expected to regularly read and research within their specialty. As a librarian, you will need to be good with technology, have good communication skills, work well with others and problem-solve effectively. It is also possible that you will manage other librarians or assistants.

See the table below for more information about this career option:

Degree RequiredMaster's degree
Education Field of StudyMaster of Library Science
Key ResponsibilitiesOversee acquisition, organization and maintenance of library materials
Check books in and out of library
Facilitate location of library materials by patrons
Licensure/CertificationTeacher certification or licensure may be required if you choose to work in a school
Some states require librarians to be certified
Job Growth (2014-2024)2%*
Average Salary (2015)$58,930*

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Types of Librarian Jobs Are Available?

If you earn a master's degree in library science, you'll be eligible to obtain a variety of different librarian positions. You might become a librarian within a public library or information center, or you might find a position working within an elementary, middle or secondary school library. You could also become a librarian with a large university or research library.

A degree in library science can also prepare you to become a librarian in a specialized field. With specialized training, you might become a medical librarian and stay on top of the latest developments and publications in the healthcare field. You could also become a law librarian and maintain records, information and publications relevant to the legal profession.

What Does the Job Involve?

No matter where you find a position, your job as a librarian is to acquire and organize materials, and help library patrons track down information. You might be responsible for maintaining and cataloguing books, periodicals and scholarly resources. As technology becomes more prevalent in the field, you'll also be increasingly responsible for tracking down information through electronic sources.

When you work as a librarian, you might also be responsible for performing some basic administrative tasks. These might include checking out books and materials to patrons, organizing book discussion groups or child storytelling sessions, creating new patron accounts, issuing library cards and managing information systems.

What Does the Degree Involve?

You need to have a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree in order to obtain a job as a librarian. Nearly any undergraduate major can prepare you to enter an accredited MLS program at a college or university. The American Library Association accredits 49 MLS programs around the nation.

Once enrolled in a 1- to 2-year MLS program, you should learn the basics of information science, library science, and research and evaluation methods. You may also learn how to perform the specific jobs and duties of a librarian, including materials acquisition, materials processing and library administration. You should also learn how to use the Internet to track down information and master online reference systems.

What Salary Could I Expect to Make?

Around 131,550 librarians were employed around the country in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Their mean annual salary was $58,930 in 2015. Some of the highest-paying industries for librarians at that time included government agencies, elementary and secondary schools and college, university and professional schools. Job growth for librarians is projected to be slower than average from 2014 to 2024.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A similar career that you might consider in place of becoming a librarian could include archivist, curator or museum worker. In these careers, you will also be expected to hold a master's degree in your area of employment. As an archivist, you will carefully handle and store important historical documents, work with other researchers, head up educational programs in the community and deal with a variety of record types. Curators are also known as museum directors and manage a museum's collections and exhibits by handling the loan, payment and interchange of collections. They also conduct research and have contact with the community. Museum technicians work with curators to preserve and appropriately handle the pieces in exhibits. You will also be responsible for keeping records of the condition of each piece while in your care.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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