Information / Library Sciences

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What can I do with this major?




Academic Library

  • Service to Faculty and Students
  • Reference
  • Circulation
  • Technical Services: Acquisitions, Cataloging, System Automation, Indexing/Abstracting, Archiving
  • Special Collections
  • Media Services
  • Teaching
  • Administration/
  • Research
  • Publishing

Universities and colleges

Earn a master's degree in library or information science from a program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Any bachelor's degree in liberal arts is good preparation. Classes in communications, foreign languages, business management, computer science and statistics can be helpful. Related undergraduate degree is useful when working with particular specialties such as art or agriculture. Develop excellent computer skills. May work one-on-one with students and faculty or teach and present seminars. Others may work in more technically-oriented positions such as systems design or database management.

Gain experience in business and management to work in administration. Work part-time in a college or university library to gain relevant experience.

Public Libraries

  • User/Reader Services: Reference, Information and Referral Services, Youth Services, Special Collections
  • Technical Services: Acquisitions, Serials Management, Collection Development, Cataloging, System Automation, Archiving
  • Administration

Central libraries

Library branches

Library services to jails, retirement homes, hospitals, etc.


Develop a broad liberal arts background and earn a master's degree in library or information science from an ALA accredited program. Take many computer courses. Should enjoy working with new technology. Some librarians specialize in a particular subject area, such as government collections or technology, or a particular type of materials, such as maps or photography. Creativity, a flair for drama, a positive attitude, and an enjoyment of children are important for those working in youth services. May coordinate events and plan programs for youth of all ages. Take courses in child development and psychology.

Special Libraries & Information Centers

Large hospitals, medical schools

Law firms, law schools, bar associations

Large corporations

Industrial and scientific collections

Research labs

Local, state and federal government agencies

Nonprofit organizations

Public libraries

Colleges and universities

Art schools

Museums and art institutions


Historical societies

Publishing houses

Advertising and public relations agencies

News organizations and electronic media

Picture services

Motion picture studios

Television stations

Trade and professional association

Earn a master's degree in library or information science from an accredited program. Most positions require a bachelor's degree in a field related to the collection topic, e.g. business, science, art, etc. Some require graduate degree in the field. Many law librarians have the Juris Doctor (law degree). Knowledge of foreign languages may be required in certain fields. Special collections librarians generally have interests, skills, and knowledge related to collection. May work with particular populations in special libraries, e.g. lawyers or doctors. Develop skills in research and a solid background in information technologies. Special collections exist on a countless array of topics, not all are included here.

Information Systems Technology

  • Design/Development
  • Management/
  • Database Administration
  • Computer Support
  • Network Administration
  • Programming
  • Systems Analysis
  • Training

Libraries: Public, academic and special

Data processing centers


Research centers



Professionals involved in information systems help organizations with the storage, retrieval, and management of records or information and incorporate and support information technology into an organization. An undergraduate degree in management information systems (MIS) or computer science is the preferred background before earning a master's in information science. 

Build a strong computer background in programming skills using several languages, various operating systems, database management, software and networks. Increase employment opportunities through product-related certification or by earning Certified Computing Professional (CCP) status conferred by the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals. CCP's must pass an examination and meet various requirements. Gain related experience through internships, co-ops or part-time employment. Develop excellent written and oral communication skills. May work with technical and non-technical staff. Learn to work well on a team.

Information Services

Information service agencies: Research centers, Self-employed/consulting, Large corporations

Provide information research and services to corporations, writers or individuals needing information or references on a particular subject. Develop excellent research, writing and organizational skills. Expertise in an industry or subject area may be helpful. Supplement undergraduate curriculum with courses in business to gain an understanding of marketing principles.

Electronic Publishing

Database producers

Distributors of electronic publications

Electronic publishers


Create and distribute publications in electronic form. Develop writing skills through classes in English, journalism or technical writing. Learn advanced website design and programming.

Strategies for placement in Information/Library Sciences

  • Qualifications important to the field include the ability to work well with people, good written and oral communication skills, intelligence and curiosity. Research and computer skills, an eye for detail and a general love of learning are also essential.
  • Understanding trends in media, computers/technology, and publishing is important to success in profession.
    Virtually any undergraduate degree can offer good preparation for graduate programs.
  • Supplement undergraduate curriculum with courses in communications, media, computers, business or technology. Some areas of information or library sciences may require related bachelor's or master's degrees.
  • Choose master's degree programs in library or information science that are accredited by the American Library Association to maximize employment opportunities.
  • A doctorate, either Ph.D. or DLS, may be required for research and university teaching in information science programs or to reach the highest levels of library administration.
  • Currently most library science professionals work in school and academic libraries, but employment opportunities are growing most for information scientists in settings such as corporations, consulting firms and information brokers and in environments involving information on the Internet.

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section
504/ADA /ADEA Employer.


Jobs for Librarians and Information Professionals
American Library Association 
Special Libraries Association
Society of Archivists 
The Academy of Certified Archivists