Library and Information SciencesDo you enjoy tracking down who invented the first gene splicing techniques? Can you find a summary of major technological advances leading up to the creation of the Internet? Do you know who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993? Can you name the world’s deadliest disease? Where can you go to find information about the most up-to-date research on children, adolescents, drugs and the media? A career in library and information science will give you the advanced technical and research skills you need to track down answers to questions like these and many more. (Answers below.)
How much do you really know about doing research in today’s electronic information age? The need for academic librarians with subject and technical specialties is increasing dramatically as information continues to grow exponentially and access to quality information becomes more challenging. By combining your major with a Master’s in Library Science, you can be assured of a challenging and rewarding lifelong career with mobility and advancement potential.
Library science is often a misunderstood profession. If you want to be a librarian because you like to read and think the library is a nice, quiet place, you are in for a surprise. The functions of most libraries have changed dramatically over the years due to tremendous advances in technology. “The work of librarians, especially newly minted ones, is becoming much more diversified, with many hours spent on, for example, Internet-related activities, which may not have been ‘traditional’ but are quickly becoming the norm.” 1 Technologies like the Internet, electronic databases, and advanced online library systems have made the modern library an active, busy, and yes, a noisy place to work.
Students are often surprised to learn that in order to become a professional librarian, a Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences is required. A M.L.S. degree is generally considered the terminal degree for most practicing librarians. However, several institutions offer doctoral and Ph.D. programs for librarians who wish to become faculty at library schools or individuals who eventually want to become library directors.
Choosing the right graduate program for information studies is very important. While more than 200 institutions offer such programs, only 49 schools in the United States are accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Choosing a school that is not accredited by ALA may severely limit your employment prospects after graduation. If you are thinking about going to graduate school for library science, consult the list of accredited library schools found in a book called The Bowker Annual: Library and Book Trade Almanac. (This book is located in the Reference Room at Z 731 .A47 2007.) It also contains scholarship resources and valuable information about the library profession.
The Bowker Annual provides a list of accredited schools, their mailing address, and electronic contact information. You should contact a library school directly for application information. Library school requisites will differ from school to school. Most require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), while a few may only ask that you have a certain undergraduate GPA. It is wise for you to take the GRE regardless. You should be sure to apply to more than one graduate program and programs that require the GRE outnumber those that do not.
For more information, visit the following web sites:
- American Library Association (ALA)
- Directory of Accredited Library and Information Science Programs
- Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)
- Association of Research Libraries (ARL)
- Association for Library and Information Science Education
1The Bowker Annual: Library and Book Trade Almanac. Ed. Dave Bogart. 44th ed. (New Providence, NJ: R. R. Bowker, 1999) 389.
Paul Berg first performed gene-splicing in 1973.
The 2001 World Almanac and Book of Facts provides an excellent history of events leading up to the creation of the Internet.
Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, when left untreated, Rabies Encephalitis, a viral infection of the central nervous system, is the most deadly disease in the world.
The Handbook of Children and the Media is an ideal source for research on children, adolescence, drugs and the media.