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October 1, 2012 / NextStepU

Major Monday – Library and information science

The last time you walked into your local library, you may have had a question about a book or reference that you were looking to find. You probably sought out one of the librarians working at the time and he or she was probably able to easily come up with a multitude of different sources or information on what you were looking for. What you probably didn’t think about was the fact that

Now that’s a library.

this librarian doesn’t know all of this information off the top of his or her head. Librarians actually have to pursue a graduate degree in order to become professionals in their field. If you have ever considered being pursuing a career as a librarian, then a graduate degree in library in information science may be right for you.

Education

According to the College Board, a degree in library science is most often pursued at the graduate level. Common majors that students declare as an undergraduate before pursuing a higher degree include history, communication, english and literature. It is encouraged that students pursue and undergraduate degree in the field which they hope to specialize in as a librarian such as in the fields of science or psychology. Typical courses taken at the graduate level include library media methods, storytelling, categorizing and classification, collection development and resources for young adults. Often, most of the learning in a library science major comes from doing observations in actual libraries as well as in-class learning.

What to know before you apply

Students should have an idea of what they want to pursue with their library science degree after graduation in order to take courses that will best prepare them for their careers. For example, school librarians need certain requirements and certifications that would be different from a local library or an archive. In addition, students should be willing to gain experience as a member of the American Library Association, as a coach or tutor, or by working as a volunteer or paid member of a local library throughout the course of their schooling. Students should be organized individuals who are able to work well with people, are able to work successfully with technology and, it goes without saying, be passionate about books.

Salary

Most students who pursue this major are likely looking to have a career as a librarian. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, librarians earned an average yearly salary of $55,670 as of 2009. Another optional career path is that of an archivist, which involves caring and keeping track of permanent and historical documents. This career earned an average of $49,600 per year as of 2009 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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