Library and Information Science  Program Description


Insider Info

dotPrograms in library and information studies focus on turning students into information experts.

Librarians need a master's degree in library and information studies. Library technicians take one- or two-year associate's degree or certificate programs. To advance to higher positions, you'll need a master's from a program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA).

Most programs incorporate a practicum, or work placement. Placements may be paid or unpaid.

Typical courses include information technology, children's literature, marketing and public relations, classification methods, history of the book and much more.

"Students often work in teams on projects that frequently deal with clients," says Bertrum MacDonald. He is director of a school of library and information studies. "For example, the students in the course on marketing and public relations worked with staff at [a research center] to design and develop a Web site for the center."

Most programs offer specialized training. For example, the University of Michigan offers preparation in library and information studies, archives and electronic records management, information economics, policy and management, and human-computer interaction, according to Maurita Holland, a professor in the program.

"Courses include foundational material in theory and principles of information access, organization, collection, management and use," Holland says. "More specialized courses include such diverse offerings as user interface design, information visualization, management of information technology organizations, [and] preservation of archival materials."

MacDonald says students need good people skills, good listening skills, the ability to pay close attention to detail and good organizational skills.

Any courses in computers or information technology would be helpful in preparing for this program, he says. Students also could get experience in group work, public speaking and organizing events, he says.

Margaret MacLean is chair of a two-year technician program. She suggests students volunteer at their high school library or their local public library.

The main costs are tuition and books.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Librarians

Directory of Accredited LIS Master's Programs
Published by the American Library Association

Subject Research Guides
Browse through an extensive list of research guides for many subjects

National Archives and Records Administration
Explore an online exhibit

Just the Facts

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