Programs in library and information studies focus on turning students into
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
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
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