What Are Library Studies?

If you are interested in what it takes to keep a library operational, then the field of library studies may be right for you. By reading below, you can learn more about library studies and opportunities associated with the industry. Schools offering Archival Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Library Studies Defined

Library studies, also known as library science, is a combination of using computer technology and other management tools to preserve, catalog and offer informational resources to visitors and patrons of libraries. You could work as a librarian, library technician or library assistant to organize library materials and help patrons find resources. Library work is normally divided into the three areas: administrative, technical and user services.

Important Facts About Library Studies

Common Courses Cataloging and classification methods, collection management techniques, archival studies, intellectual freedom laws
Online Availability Many schools offer library science degrees online
Specializations Academic librarianship, digital librarianship, urban public librarianship
Continuing Education State library association conference, American Library Association conference, courses at state libraries

Educational Requirements

Various types of undergraduate library studies programs exist. If you're looking for an assistant position, many libraries accept candidates with only a high school diploma and provide on-the-job training. A high school diploma may also be sufficient if you want to work as a technician at a smaller library, but a postsecondary certificate or associate's degree may be necessary for positions in many libraries. A library technician associate's degree program covers topics in cataloging, circulating, processing and ordering library materials.

Librarians, on the other hand, normally need to have a master's degree in library science. When you're looking for the right school, ensure that the program is accredited by the American Library Association. To enter a master's degree program in library science, you can have a bachelor's degree in any subject. Program length varies, but most library science programs take 1 to 2 years. If you want to work at a public school or public library after graduating, most states require that you become licensed or certified. You may also need teacher certification to work at a school.

Work Opportunities:

Library Assistant or Technician

If you're just starting out in this field, you might be able to find an internship or work-study job as a library assistant or library technician. In this role, you'll directly work with visitors to help them find the materials they need. You may help people check out books, or you could accept returned books. You could also register new patrons and issue new library cards.

When you're not interacting with visitors, you'll help obtain, organize and prepare library materials. While you will be working under the supervision of a librarian, you are expected to complete your job duties independently. Other duties may include removing old texts from circulation or preparing materials that the library can't use for sale.


Once you've acquired some experience and completed your master's degree in library science, you are in an excellent position to become a librarian. As mentioned earlier, your career would normally fall under a specific area of library studies, such as technical services, administrative services or user services. As a librarian, you may also specialize. For instance, you may become a medical librarian, automated system librarian, school media specialist or government librarian.

Depending on your specialization, you might work directly with visitors and patrons of the library to make sure they're using the library's resources properly and finding the information they need. You might manage other library staff and oversee the ordering and processing new materials. Other duties could include developing databases of library materials, reading book reviews to see what is available, preparing budgets and planning community programs such as storytelling programs for young children.

Salary and Job Outlook Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clerical library assistants earned a median annual income of $23,910 in May of 2014. The top 10% of earners made $38,420 or more per year. Library technicians had a median annual wage of$31,680, with the top 10% earning upwards of $50,190. The BLS projected that library assistants and technicians would experience a 5% increase in employment from 2014 to 2024.

In May of 2014, librarians had a median annual salary of $56,170. Those in the top 10% of earners made $87,060 or more per year. The BLS predicted a 2% increase in job opportunities from 2014 to 2024, which is slower than average in comparison to other occupations. An increased use of electronic resources and budget limitations may decrease the need for librarians. Competition for jobs is expected to be fierce early in the decade, but should be better later in the decade when older librarians retire.

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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