Library and Information Science Schools Colleges & Universities

Library and information science schools allow you to stoke your passion for learning, and teach you to help others do the same.

Students Attending Library Schools Learn to Challenge Themselves and Inspire Others: Wake up with the alarm, make the coffee, head to work. Then, work. Come home, exercise, eat, relax, and sleep. While the order and the particulars vary from person to person, almost all of us have established a routine that makes it easier to accomplish daily necessities. But when the days and weeks amass like so much tract housing, we can begin to feel more machine than human. This surely in large part explains why we plan vacations, but most of us can't afford--literally or figuratively--to travel more than a few times a year. What, then, can permeate the monotony on a more regular basis? Easy: the thrill of learning.

Library Colleges Teach the Practical Alongside the Theoretical: Whether facilitated by books or internet research, the joy of discovering something new in our reading is matched by precious little else. A librarian's task is to help others tap into this same sense of fascination. What's more, library work offers a great deal of variety; in any given week, a librarian may classify materials, help a student find pertinent resources, write an abstract, conduct classes, and supervise employees. If you're an organized and intellectually curious person who seeks a line of work in which you both learn and do new things every day, you may want to investigate your local library schools.

Most librarians need master's degrees. Some universities offer library science as an undergraduate major, but any program will suffice; in fact, if you plan to work in a special library (e.g. law or medicine), you may want to pursue a bachelor's degree in the appropriate field of specialization. Programs at library and information science colleges usually take one to two years to complete, and provide instruction in the following:

  • • Intellectual freedom and censorship
  • • The role of information in society
  • • History of printing
  • • Research methods
  • • Classification, cataloguing, indexing, and abstracting
  • • Computer science

Along the way, students of library schools have plenty of opportunities to both network and gain hands-on experience. In addition to volunteering in a library, you may also decide to join Beta Phi Mu (library science honor society) and/or the student chapter of the American Library Association.

Good Job Opportunities for Graduates of Library Colleges: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts average employment growth for this field, yet also highlights the favorable job opportunities expected to result from the large number of individuals retiring from these positions. Graduates of library and information science schools who are open to working in nontraditional settings--within nonprofit organizations or consulting firms, for example--should enjoy especially good career opportunities. According to recent data collected by the BLS, librarians earn a mean annual wage of $55,670.

The writer Karin Hansen holds a degree in English from San Francisco State University.

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