Importance of Libraries in Society
Historically, libraries have been considered as important learning places. Researchers may visit a library for reference to previously published research; students may approach a library for material for their assignments and the general public may go to a library for pleasure reading or to explore areas of intellect that interest them. Since libraries, whether a public establishment or a part of an academic or research institution, are an invaluable source of knowledge, many people may choose to pursue library careers. These professionals, referred to as ‘librarians’, have a wide range of job duties ranging from maintaining a database for the library’s collection to providing assistance to visitors to help them find their required books or other reference material.
Librarian: Career Description
The libraries of today do not only house the written word but also serve as a hub for a wide variety of electronic resources. These resources may be in the form of data stored on the premises of a library or on the internet with special access to the library users. A skilled and well-trained library staff member is adept at navigating through the barrage of information that is available at a library and help users find the resources most useful for them.
Librarians can be broadly categorized as academic librarians, public librarians, school librarians and corporate or special librarians according to the type of library they work in. Academic librarians may be further classified as:
- Reference librarians;
- Subject specialists;
- Web librarians;
- Systems librarian;
- Acquisitions librarians; and
- Catalog librarians.
Starting a Library Profession
Library careers require an advanced degree such as a Master’s degree in Library Sciences (MLS) from an American Library Association accredited school. This is a necessity for students planning on working for the federal government. An MLS program may take one to two years to complete and thoroughly prepare students for the professional challenges awaiting them. Also, most librarians employed by local libraries will need to be certified. Certification requirements vary from state to state. Librarians are also encouraged to enroll in continuing education courses periodically to keep up to date with the changing trends and resources.