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Master’s of Library Science Careers – A Database of Opportunities

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Many young professionals dream of becoming librarians. Many others find an allure in information technology and data management in the modern world. Such information-related professions almost always require an MLS or Master in Library Science degree. This article breaks down the best jobs for those with a master’s degree in library science. We will review what’s required for each position and how to best utilize the information learned in an MLS program.

What is a Master’s in Library Science Degree?

A Master’s in Library Science or MLS can alternatively be called a Master of Library and Information Science or MLIS. It can also be called a Master of Science in Library Science or MSLS. MLS degrees are advanced graduate degrees that qualify professionals to work in critical library-related jobs. To become a librarian, one typically has to have a master’s degree in library science or a related field. A bachelor’s degree is not enough these days. It is beneficial to pursue a MLS program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) to ensure you are receiving a quality education.

You can pursue a Masters in Library Science either in-person or online. To acquire this degree, you must start with a bachelor’s degree. Your undergraduate degree can be in almost any academic discipline. Many library programs encourage applicants to have diverse educational backgrounds. Library science is the study of information collection and organization in library settings. It also includes a lot of education on information professions and tasks. An MLS degree teaches the following:

  • Library organization of works and content
  • Information-related software systems
  • Management of large quantities of information
  • How to search for specific information in large databases

These unique skills are applicable and useful in a variety of industries. For example, they can be helpful in the IT industry, general business, finances, and many more. Therefore, becoming a librarian isn’t the only option available to those with MLS degrees. They can also find employment across industries depending on their preferences and work experience. However, most jobs for MLS graduates revolve around library or information organization work.

Top Master’s in Library Science Careers

An MLS prepares graduates for a multitude of occupations. However, some of these are better than others. Check out the best jobs for MLS graduates below.

Public Librarian

Average Annual Salary: $61,190
Projected Growth: 9%

Those with an MLS are always qualified to become public librarians. Public librarians perform all necessary professional librarian tasks for public libraries, such as those found in counties, cities, or towns. Public schools may also employ them as school librarians.

Regardless, public librarians typically specialize in different areas of library technology. These include:

  • Reference
  • Technology
  • Public relations
  • Outreach
  • Collections management

Collections management concerns the growing and maintenance of a library’s collection of materials. In larger libraries, collections management can be a primary focus for the staff.

Depending on the number of employees, public librarians may work out of reference desks. They help individuals find research materials or specific books. If they work at a school, they may also help students with research projects.

Alternatively, public librarians may emphasize community and patron connections. They could form long-lasting bonds with community members or perform outreach work to increase public support for local libraries. Practically all public librarians help patrons find what they need or order books from partnered libraries in the area.

The work of a public librarian is perfect for those who love books, information and cultivating collections over time. Public libraries can range from small to large. Generally, the larger the public library is, the more experience an applicant needs to work as a public librarian.

Private Librarian

Average Annual Salary: $62,550
Projected Growth: 9%

In contrast, a private librarian works for libraries in universities, research centers, private foundations, or corporations. They may also work for the libraries of large companies.

Regardless, private librarians do many of the same tasks as public librarians. They provide reference and research assistance for those who need it and offer research literacy instruction for internal clients. Furthermore, they may help staff and patrons develop their research and technology skills.

If a private librarian works for a university, they could teach students how to use the library’s integrated catalog. If necessary, private librarians oversee the repair and maintenance of various library research or audio-visual equipment.

In addition to these duties, private librarians may perform tasks such as:

  • Sending email correspondence
  • Delivering regular library updates and newsletters
  • Repairing and binding internal library materials, like books or manuals
  • Processing new materials and adding them to collections
  • Supervising workers for shelving and inventorying library materials
  • Developing and maintaining library manuals
  • Attending library meetings and workshops

The primary difference between public and private librarians is their employer. The fundamental duties remain the same.

Library Director

Average Annual Salary: $54,384
Projected Growth: 9%

Both public and private library directors handle many essential tasks for day-to-day library operation. For example, they may help launch or provide reader advisory tools. They may also oversee interlibrary loan programs. These allow libraries to loan books to one another for the benefit of their patrons.

Furthermore, library directors maintain online public access catalogs so patrons know the available resources when visiting a library. Because of this, library directors frequently work with database administrators. Other library director duties include:

  • Training and hiring new library staff
  • Conducting community outreach programs
  • Giving presentations to organizations or schools
  • Representing their library at city or county meetings
  • Overseeing marketing activities
  • Reviewing library brochures and website updates
  • Managing social media posts

In many ways, a library director is the final word for library operations. They make sure the library runs properly and has a positive reputation in the community. These professionals also handle administrative tasks. Directors receive good wages, and most find their work extremely rewarding.

Archivist

Average Annual Salary: $60,050
Projected Growth: 19%

Library archivists can work for private or public organizations, though they usually find employment at private or nonprofit groups. Library archivists usually store film, audio, print, or other media files carefully and safely.

More generally, library archivists ensure the safety of all historical archives. They may work for museum programs, universities, large corporations, and nonprofit organizations such as hospitals.

The mission of a library archivist is to preserve and organize information to share properly and safely with the public or clients. For example, a library archivist may work for a museum where they make sure that all of the media materials for that museum are carefully collected and stored. They organize it for easy reference access. When necessary, they help the museum display the material to the public.

Depending on their specialization, some library archivists may also work in repairing or restoring old media. They may repair books or old film rolls, for example. Many library archivists also manage big data warehouses for digital archives.

If they have the expertise, some library archivists may maintain extensive collections of books, newspapers, periodicals, and other print-formatted media. Note that most archivists require extra training in information science or archives management. This is doubly true for library archivists who work for big or significant organizations, such as national museums.

Government Records Analyst

Average Annual Salary: $43,000
Projected Growth: 11%

A government records analyst reviews and assesses record-keeping and data maintenance. As the job title suggests, these professionals work for government organizations. They can work for either state governments or the federal government.
Regardless, government records analysts always look for ways to improve record-keeping and data maintenance for government databases. For example, a government records analyst may work for police organizations to ensure the proper organization and storage of their crime data. The analyst then periodically reviews the records and makes sure that all records remain accessible.

This is very important for solving crimes and maintaining individuals’ confidentiality.

Chief Information Officer (CIO)

Average Annual Salary: $131,000
Projected Growth: 6%

CIOs can also be called chief digital information officers or IT directors. These executives ensure their companies have the technology needed to accomplish company goals.

In simpler terms, chief information officers:

  • Oversee the purchasing and installation of new technology or software
  • Make sure that current software is appropriate for company goals and needs
  • Ensure that company records and management practices are ideal
  • Practice data management strategies with subordinates

In many cases, chief information officers must work hard to ensure that corporate data is kept safe and well organized. Many states and countries enact legislative rules to heavily penalize companies that don’t properly store and protect consumer data.

Therefore, chief information officers are essential to modern organizations, especially larger enterprises. Depending on their experience, these executives may earn well over six figures. However, most chief information officers require additional education or certificates to prove their suitability.

For instance, if one has just an MLS degree, they may also need to get a certificate in IT or data management. This proves that they can specialize in the digital information sphere.

Library Systems and Applications Developer

Average Annual Salary: $71,190
Projected Growth: 22% (for software developers)

A library systems and applications developer makes sure that a library’s information and data storage systems are running well. They may also oversee the upgrading of library systems for new technologies or data storage systems.

For example, many libraries have a collections research system. This allows librarians or patrons to search through a library’s extensive collection for a single book or piece of information. If a software or program update is needed, the library systems and applications developer may oversee the change.

Note that library systems and applications developers don’t usually order system changes. They work under superiors who decide when to change library systems. Therefore, library systems and applications developers need a lot of experience in IT app development.

These cross-disciplinary professionals often benefit from having certificates proving their coding or app development expertise. But it’s not always necessary depending on how complex the technology for a library is. Smaller libraries may hire applications developers who just have MLS degrees and some experience.

Information Architect

Average Annual Salary: $98,860
Projected Growth: 8%

Information architects implement data-driven design strategies. These strategies help make websites and applications more informative or easier to use.

For example, a library may have an extensive database for university students. However, many students complain that finding the information they need is challenging. Perhaps the website is clunky and hard to navigate. The information architect then comes up with changes to the website to make it user-friendly. They use data such as surveys, time spent on-page, and personal research to develop workable solutions. They may or may not handle some or all of the actual programming and app development work. For more extensive libraries, information architects usually outsource this work to IT professionals.

Knowledge Management Specialist

Average Annual Salary: $65,000
Projected Growth: 12%

Knowledge management specialists also frequently have MLS degrees. These professionals work in many industries ranging from finance to insurance to pharmaceuticals. Overall, though, knowledge management specialists:

  • Evaluate key organizational or library data
  • Present that data in a simplistic and understandable way to executives
  • Distribute the data to others

All this work aims to help companies implement the best data management practices. Therefore, they can improve efficiency and achieve their goals more consistently.

Knowledge management specialists work with big corporations, government organizations, and other groups. Because their work can pertain to practically any data set, they often find work outside libraries despite their MLS backgrounds.

Curator

Average Annual Salary: $60,110
Projected Growth: 19%

The job of a curator is a perfect fit for many MLS graduates. A curator decides what goes into a library’s collection. They also determine items no longer needed in a collection. Curators are important so that libraries only have relevant or desired materials. Libraries have limited space, after all.

Curators make decisions based on market research, patron requests, and other information. Depending on where they work, curators may have more or less power over selecting the materials in a library. Smaller libraries often give curators more power. Larger libraries frequently tell curators what to look for and what to donate to smaller libraries or get rid of.

In any event, curators spend most of their time cataloging, researching, and culling collections. They ultimately decide what a library has on its shelves.

Research Lead

Average Annual Salary: $96,000
Projected Growth: 20%

Any good MLS degree program includes training on performing proper research. This knowledge is invaluable while working for a university or a corporation.

Research leads:

  • Undertake specific research projects for their employers
  • Design and administer tests or surveys to collect data
  • Organize and analyze the data from their research results
  • Present the research results compellingly and clearly to executives or other superiors

Research leads typically find work in laboratories or universities. For example, they may be in charge of collecting and organizing all the data from a massive survey involving thousands of individuals.

Creative Project Manager

Average Annual Salary: $90,000
Projected Growth: 8%

Creative project managers can work for companies, the federal government, nonprofit organizations, and other groups. These professionals have generalized job titles because their responsibilities include many different things.

But regardless, all creative project managers:

  • Oversee the foundational work and goals of a new creative project
  • Help hire the right people to complete the project
  • Set budgets for the innovative project
  • Gather the information for the creative project
  • Help organize the creative project’s information and data as needed

“Creative project” can mean anything from a new company initiative to a nonprofit charity drive or anything else.

Creative project managers often have MLS degrees because they prepare them to oversee teams and handle lots of information. In particular, MLS graduates with undergraduate degrees in the arts find this role a superior fit.

GIS Map Specialist

Average Annual Salary: $46,910
Projected Growth: 4%

MLS degree holders can also become GIS map specialists. These professionals use special software to interpret geographic data. Then they create and update maps and graphs for libraries or other organizations.

GIS in this title stands for Geographic Information Systems. Professionals may have titles like cartographer or GIS technician. Regardless, an MLS degree can prepare professionals for this job due to its focus on data management and informational organization.

But to become a GIS map Specialist, one also needs a bachelor’s degree in cartography or geography. Therefore, MLS degree holders might be slightly overqualified for a GIS map specialist position. Still, this could be a suitable career if one wants to pivot away from library-focused work. Cities or urban planning organizations frequently employ GIS specialists.

They can also find work in rural areas by working for small farmers or large farming conglomerates. Some GIS map specialists work with scientific researchers like biologists or ocean mappers.

Digital Archives System Administrator

Average Annual Salary: $80,600
Projected Growth: 5%

Lastly, digital archives system administrators manage digital archives for corporations or libraries. The federal or state government also employs these professionals. For example, the Smithsonian museums use digital archives system administrators. Such administrators ensure that the Smithsonian’s digital archives stay organized and up-to-date.

As administrators, these professionals often oversee subordinates in collecting and organizing new data. Their job tasks and responsibilities may include:

  • Training new data analysts or specialists
  • Handling the addition of new data to an archived system
  • Making sure that the archive system is easy to navigate and use for research or client purposes
  • Overseeing digital archives’ security and software updates
  • Handling complaints about the digital archives
  • Representing the archives to executive boards or their superiors
  • And more

With many of these jobs, MLS graduates would do well to get an IT-related certificate. Such certificates prove the knowledge of how to handle IT systems and software capably.

Summary

As you can see, there are many high-quality and desirable jobs for MLS degree holders. If you have a master’s degree in Library Science, you can apply for any of these jobs, depending on your preferences. Many earn reasonably high salaries between $60,000 and $100,000.

Of course, you can always go the traditional route and become a librarian. No matter what job you want, you’ll first need to earn your MLS degree. GetEducated.com has a detailed catalog of MLS degree programs available online. Check it out today!

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