So tell me about getting a degree in Library Science

I know we have a fair share of librarians here and I’m rather curious about a degree in Library Science. I’m struggling to find any work I can, and while getting another degree (especially when I haven’t finished my current degree) isn’t an answer to my current dire straits, it might be a smart path for me in the future.

I’ve personally never used a librarian, I choose to hoof it out myself so I’ve become rather adept at finding everything I need. So what else goes into it? How long does it take? Is it expensive? Would it be worth it? Are there different requirements for different kinds of libraries? Does it pay well? How hard is it to find jobs across the country? If it helps I have my BA in History and getting my MA in American Intellectual History, so I really do love books. And I can deal with people asking stupid questions, and the odd people who inhabit libraries. Any help that can be provided would be greatly appreciated.

Not all librarians work in public libraries, I work for a consulting company. You can also work for law firms (most law librarians I know also have JDs) or science labs, corporate offices, etc. Back in the early days of the web (when I graduated) I knew a lot of trained librarians who went the tech route and maintained intranets and web pages for companies.

I feel I basically just bought my library degree. I already had a graduate degree (MA history) and for me the first round of grad school was fun, challenging and rewarding. Getting my library degree was none of those, but it allowed me to trade up career-wise (I had been working non-profits before).

Five years ago there was a great demand for trained librarians and it was touted as being the career of the future. I’m not so sure how that holds today with everyone down sizing. As a librarian (in a corporate setting) you are basically overhead and the first to go.

Most large cities have jobs for librarians, just don’t hope to live in Austin, TX. U of T churns out librarians by the basket load and there are tons of un/under-employed librarians in the city.

If you can get a job in the corporate, law or scientific arena you can make decent money (more money than a public librarian), but like I said, you’re the last to be hired and the first to be fired. I think I personally would find more job satisfaction in a university setting where you can be constantly challenged mentally, but I can’t give up the money just yet.

A love of books doesn’t necessarily translate to being librarian. I would say first and foremost you should love organization and information. In the internet age only librarians who work in big public or university libraries spend much time with books.

This topic has been covered a lot here, check out the other threads:

Tell me about becoming and being a… LIBRARIAN!

Another tale of library school woe

Recommend good places for a librarian to live and work.

Library schools?

Tell me about getting a Master of Library Science degree

Librarians, I seek school and career advice!

Why do you need a master’s to be a librarian?

Tell me about Masters of Library Science programs!

I May Become a Li-Berrian. Need Advice and Encouragement.

Don’t bother moving to Chicago, either: there are 3 major unis with library schools here. U of I; U of Wisconsin and Dominican U, and U of Chicago. Four, there are four major unis…

It’s a flexible degree to be sure. It is also one of the easier graduate degrees to get, IMO. I have one–I’m still deciding just what to do with it. Public librarianship is not a viable economic option at this point (doesn’t pay enough for my needs). Health science librarianship makes more sense, but I think there are many jobs that could use the skill set.

This is a great thread for anyone interested in becoming a librarian. It has nearly all the information you could ever need. And I would be more than willing to answer any other library school questions to the best of my ability (classes start again in two weeks! Aah!).

A few other words of advice:

Library school professors are often not the smartest people you will ever meet. In fact, most of them are pretty oblivious to how libraries actually work nowadays and this Pit thread of mine from a few months ago will sound very familiar to you if you take up library school: Another tale of library school woe

Secondly, it looks like we will soon be entering a good time to be a library school graduate. A lot of the old ladies that run the library world now are gearing up for a mass retirement in the next 3-5 years and librarians will start getting a lot younger (and more male). it’s an interesting time to be getting a degree.

Finally, libraries stopped being about just books years ago. If you want to become a librarian (especially a public or special librarian), you’ll want to disavow yourself of that notion as soon as you can.