Library science is one of the most stimulating humanities and social sciences careers to pursue. In an era where access to information has become more digitalized, this career option still offers a rewarding experience for those dedicated to investing their qualifications. Thousands are drawn each year by its continued relevance, earning college degrees that equip them with skills needed for success in these lucrative professions.
According to the most recent data from Zippia, degree holders of library science find various employment opportunities. However, many graduates often opt to work in the education sector than in any other industry. (Zippia, 2022).
To paint a more vivid picture, this guide discusses what can you do with a library science degree and the different career paths you can take based on your educational attainment. It also points out how much do librarians make, the essential skills you need to develop to succeed in this field, and the many ways in which you can advance your career.
In "University libraries response to COVID-19 pandemic: A developing country perspective," a paper published in The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Rafiq et al. (2020) discussed how the role of librarians is transforming today: "Interviewees talked about societal and extended roles of libraries and librarians in their communities in COVID-19 pandemic. They considered the role of libraries tackling misinformation and fake news, mentoring and guiding the community members." Further, they note that "Librarians may play a role in promoting open access, open science, and more flexible copyright laws. They may also work for improving digital and information literacy skills by developing tutorials and arranging online programs." This pretty much defines what is library science in today's times.
It is likely that you are considering a library scientist career because you love reading. If you choose to pursue this path, you will have access to all the resources you need in your workplace to continue this passion. You will also be kept informed about the emerging trends in the literary and art scene.
Life-long learning accompanies library science degree jobs. In this field, you will have a chance to expand your knowledge every workday. Along the way, you will also learn about the evolving technologies in library science.
Most libraries have policies for maintaining silence. There is a sense of calm and serenity that will be a part of your everyday life. If you are a reflective person drawn to quiet spaces, pursuing a librarian career path is perfect for you.
Librarian jobs do not demand much time and physical energy from professionals. You will have plenty of that to spend on your life outside work. Library science salary, which averages $60,820, will also allow you to live comfortably. If you are aiming for a higher compensation rate, you also have the option to explore the industries in the chart below.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021
Are librarians in demand? Between the years 2020 and 2030, librarians and library media specialist occupations are projected to grow by 9%, faster than the average growth for all occupations in the United States, which is only at 8% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021). This increase is equivalent to 13,000 new library science jobs (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021). In total, 156,500 professionals will be needed to occupy said positions by 2030 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021).
|Electronic Resources Librarians||$53,813||9%|
|Government Records Analysts||$80,000||25%|
|Postsecondary Teachers in Library Science||$89,528||12%|
|Postsecondary Education Administrators||$52,675||8%|
|University Library Services Directors||$64,473||9%|
Job opportunities for library science graduates often demand a set of technical and non-technical skills that are necessary to accomplish entry-level position tasks. Some of these skills are listed below.
Many people ask how to become a librarian. The first step for any aspirant is to take an associate degree or a bachelor's degree. A librarian degree is a gateway to pursuing continuing education or becoming employed in an entry-level position in library science. Below are some of the job opportunities that you may land after completing these types of college degrees along with the corresponding library science degree salary for each.
Teaching assistants make the learning environment easier to deal with for teachers and students alike. They help teachers plan a library science course and conduct their lessons and help students solve their individual learning difficulties. They also assist in monitoring attendance and performance, managing classroom behavior, checking assignments, and grading, among others.
Median Annual Salary: $20,977
Library technicians take care of day-to-day administrative duties in the library. They help manage information resources, assist patrons in accessing library services, and implement book loan and return policies. They also help maintain and organize the physical and digital spaces of the library.
Median Annual Salary: $38,581
Information officers collate data relevant to their organizations and design systems to make them easily accessible to stakeholders. They also check existing documents for mistakes and correct errors as necessary. Research, fact-checking, and database management skills are essential for someone in this position.
Median Annual Salary: $63,500
A bachelor's degree can land you a job as a digital archivist. The main role of digital archivists is to collect, store, and preserve historical documents. They create systems and write metadata descriptions for easy access to these files. They also ensure that electronic documentation processes are in line with laws and regulations.
Median Annual Salary: $58,039
Electronic resources librarians help improve organizational access to digital materials, such as e-books and databases. They select and procure electronic subscriptions, coordinate with vendors regarding license agreements, and disseminate relevant information to users. They also plan and conduct training programs to enhance user knowledge of library systems and technologies.
Median Annual Salary: $53,813
Editors are responsible for evaluating manuscripts and ensuring they are ready for publication. They spot and correct grammatical, stylistic, and factual errors. They also coordinate with authors for revisions.
Median Annual Salary: $56,912
Research analysts are responsible for business data collection, analysis, and visualization. They are experts in using different research methodologies, writing data-driven reports, and presenting research results to executives. Their work informs the financial and strategic decisions of an organization.
Median Annual Salary: $59,396
It is highly unlikely that you will be able to get a career in library science with just a certificate. As shown in the chart below, 90.3% of librarians and media collections specialists in the United States have at least an associate degree (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021).
Aspiring library science professionals are advised to complete an undergraduate degree and pursue continuing higher education. Degrees will give professionals a competitive advantage in a field where more than six in 10 have either a master's or a doctorate degree (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021).
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021
Library science graduates typically pursue a master's degree and then move on to applying for a doctorate degree. Continuing higher education can help them land positions with more responsibilities and higher compensation rates at public libraries, universities, publishing companies, and government offices. Listed below are specific positions that one may land after acquiring further education.
Instructional coordinators are focused on curriculum design and implementation. They work to improve teaching methods and educational materials in a learning institution. Part of their job is to conduct training and development programs for teachers. They are also the ones who evaluate and recommend textbooks and other learning resources that will serve the objectives listed in the curriculum.
Median Annual Salary: $61,792
Government records analysts provide assistance to state and local government offices in implementing laws and regulations related to records management. Their tasks include enhancing record systems and processes, training administrative personnel, and monitoring overall record management operations.
Median Annual Salary: $80,000
Library science teachers are responsible for designing course guides and collating reference materials for class use. They facilitate discussions, create assessment tests, dedicate time for student consultation, and give students grades at the end of each semester. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021), there are 5,000 postsecondary teachers in library science in the country in 2020.
Median Annual Salary: $89,528
Postsecondary education administrators direct several administrative processes in colleges and universities, including admissions, registration, and student affairs. Someone with this job must have organizing and interpersonal skills as he or she will often have to deal with files and people. One's daily tasks will include scheduling appointments, managing records, budgeting and creating financial reports, and coordinating with other staff and faculty.
Median Annual Salary: $52,675
University library services directors work to enhance library services for students and faculty. They conduct research on market trends and patron needs and develop policies and programs based on these. They also manage the financial, administrative, and operational processes and systems of the university library.
Median Annual Salary: $64,473
Publishing directors oversee every step of the publication process, from author acquisition to promotional and marketing campaigns for final manuscripts. Their duties include training publishing staff, monitoring their work progress, and ensuring that outputs will be released on target dates. To meet the demands of this position, someone must have extensive knowledge of publishing market trends, project management, and financial management.
Median Annual Salary: $82,166
The American Library Association offers two certification programs for library science graduates. These certifications can help you stand out among candidates who may have attained similar or higher degrees.
Professionals in the field of library science are not limited to exploring the positions listed above. Below are just some examples of other career opportunities that they can explore.
Book curators conceptualize and design exhibitions for art museums, libraries, and universities. Their job is to research the target genre, find books that fit the category and negotiate prices for its acquisition. They are also the ones who arrange the pieces in a way that tells the message or story agreed with their clients.
Median Annual Salary: $41,656
Information architects improve the search capabilities of a website. Their job is to make the user experience better by organizing website information in a way that makes it easily discoverable. In addition to library science skills, someone in this position would need to be proficient in using web-based platforms and programming languages.
Median Annual Salary: $99,140
Is library science a good career? In pursuing it, you can become a pillar of an institution that shapes minds. Librarians play an active role in community-building. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, they help shelter people who turned to libraries to access e-learning classes and materials.
Library science professionals help information services become accessible to all, especially the economically disadvantaged. As the digital gap becomes more pervasive, their professional lives can only become more relevant and meaningful.