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What does it mean to have a career as a librarian?

Librarianship can be placed under the broad umbrella of Information Management. A librarian is someone who works to find, organize, and make available information to those who are seeking it. In addition, a librarian also teaches people how to find and use that information. Librarianship encompasses many varied career options. Pretty much anywhere that has need for an information expert, has a need for someone with a Masters of Library and Information Science. Listed below are some examples of common career options.

Careers Types
Academic librarians work to achieve the academic goals of the college or university where the library is housed. They assist students in learning how to research, work to obtain and make available resources for them, and help them develop toward a professional career. They also assist faculty and staff with research projects, teaching classes, and are generally oriented around promoting community events for the university. Academic libraries typically have Subject Librarians, Special Collection Librarians or Archivists, Acquisition and Catalog Librarians, Public Librarians, and those who want to work in library administration, such as University Librarians and Assistant University Librarians.

At a public library, the librarian’s purpose is to support the community and promote a love of learning in the areas it serves. As with all librarians, they support the literacy of their patrons in information, research, and, of course, reading, and work to obtain items relevant to popular media. Public libraries also host community-wide events, such as reading time for children or tracking page counts for young readers, and host classes on computer literacy. They typically have a Children’s, Young Adult, and Adult Librarian, along with a team that runs the circulation and reference desks, and catalogers who help acquire and organize new media brought into the library.

(This image was originally posted to Flickr by Victor Björkund at

Typically called Media Specialists, school librarians, usually working alone, often perform all responsibilities of the library. They do what most public and academic libraries have specialists for: collection management, circulation, programming, and more! Media Specialists can expect to serve a wide variety of needs, dependent on the age group of their students. A school librarian is there to serve the education needs of the students and promote lifelong learning and research.

There are many other opportunities available to those with MLIS degrees outside of schools, academic, or public libraries. Corporations need experts to organize and make available company information in a way that is accessible by their employees. Law Firms and Law Schools usually house their own libraries. There is even a need for librarians to work in prisons or jails to maintain and circulate collections for prisoners during their stay. It is safe to say that anywhere that has information needing to be organized and accessed by people is in need of someone with librarian skills.

Interested in working at a library? Click the button below to see if BYU Library has any job openings!