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Library Science - Overview


Library science programs prepare people to work as librarians or consultants. Students learn to buy, organize, store, and retrieve information. They also learn how to help people do research and find information.

Have you ever walked into a friend's messy kitchen or office and tried to find something? To you, everything looks like a big jumble. You ask your friend, "How can you find anything in here?" And your friend replies, "It only looks messy. I know exactly where everything is."

Imagine asking a librarian that same question. You're looking for a specific book about Civil War medicine. You walk into the library and are confronted by stacks and stacks of books. "How can you find anything?" you ask the librarian, who replies, "Easy. Once you know the system, you can find anything."

Nowadays, information comes in many forms. Students of library science learn how to organize these different types of information so that library users feel comfortable rather than confused. Students of library science value the past and embrace the future. They might learn how to store a fragile copy of a book hand-printed by monks in the 1300s. Or they might learn how to use technology to store journal articles on a CD-ROM.

Students of library science learn different ways of finding information so that they can pass their knowledge on to others and help them learn as well. They also learn how to acquire more information to keep libraries up-to-date. Sometimes, they specialize in a subject area such as history or biology. That way, they can act as even more knowledgeable references for library users.

Students who learn library science are not restricted to working in libraries. Library scientists can also work for employers such as TV stations, educational companies, or consulting firms - all places that need people who can manage and store information and make it easily accessible to others.

There are about 110 schools in the United States that offer master's degrees in library science. Master's degrees typically take five to six years of full-time study after high school. Some of these schools have distance education opportunities.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.
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