New Opportunities Emerging for Library Science Professionals
Libraries have been impacted by two major factors within the last three decades: the innovation of new technologies and the tightening of their budgets. To adapt to these new realities and serve constituents, many organizations have broadened some services while curtailing others. With these changing conditions continually afoot, library professionals must often shift their focuses to find new opportunities. Thankfully, many are responding by adopting new skills and pursuing a master’s degree in library and information science to remain attractive to employers.
Google Has Not Made Librarians Obsolete
While the library science and information fields have undergone massive changes, jobs for library science graduates can still be found. most certain way to remain employable. As sources of information become more varied and numerous, specialists are still needed to aid researchers and patrons in navigating them. While search engines such as Google are extremely useful tools, the librarian is still a guide to locating resources in book format, periodicals, databanks and more. For some, you provide fast answers to quick questions while to others, you become Virgil to their Dante through vast collections of information.
Technology Aids in Preserving Rare, Priceless Sources
Groundbreaking tools now allow libraries to archive more resources, including older materials that could suffer damage from exposure to air, chemicals and the ravages of time. The digitizing of text and photographs furthers the preservation of history, as evidenced by the special collections website of the Pontifical College Josephinum’s A.T. Wehrle Memorial Library. This also includes larger scale projects at other institutions worldwide, such as the American Museum of Natural History’s archiving of over 7,000 photographs taken during a Bering Strait expedition in the late 1800s.
Museums, Archives and Nonprofits Offer Other Possibilities
Despite broad shifts and ever-changing conditions in the library and information science field, its relative stability translates to additional opportunities over the next decade. Pursuing a master’s degree, such as a Master of Management in Library and Information Science, expands your capability of pursuing a wide range of career options. Management becomes a definite possibility, and your degree could also lead to archive, curation or museum work. Combined, those fields are projected to see a 7% growth in the next decade per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Applying to Library Science Master Degree Programs
If you’ve mulled over the prospect of returning to school, now may be the best time to do so. Working professionals may benefit the most from choosing an online curriculum, as you’ll be able to continue in your career during your studies. Although entry requirements differ from institution to institution, you’ll likely need to have a bachelor’s degree and have graduated with a career grade point average of at least 3.0. If you have these already in place, you’re probably good to go in starting the application process.
You should check with each college or university for specific requirements before you begin, but keep in mind that most schools ask for the same kinds of materials when you apply. Be prepared to obtain letters of recommendation and transcripts of prior schoolwork. You may also be asked for graduate admissions exam scores, as well as a short statement detailing the reasons for your interest in the degree program.
Be Flexible and Willing to Learn
Library and information science is a rapidly changing and expanding field. Picking up additional education can lead to gaining useful skills that make you an invaluable resource. The abilities to plan for an organization’s immediate and long-term future, guide patrons to useful materials, master new technologies and preserve priceless sources of information will be needed in the next few years. Pursuing a master’s degree in library science now could lead to better career opportunities later.