What is Library Science?

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If you are considering working in a library, you might curious to know more about library science. Library science is the field of study that teaches how to manage books and other information, particularly through collecting, preserving, and organizing books and other materials in libraries. If you want to work as a professional librarian in a public or academic library, you generally will need to get a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree. Sometimes the degree is called an MLIS, which stands for Master of Library and Information Science.

What Kinds of Things You Study in Library Science

You may be especially curious to know what kinds of courses you would take or topics you would cover if you studied library science. How hard can it be to take care of books? The answer is that it can be more challenging than you think. Libraries play a vital role in education both within schools and colleges and within local communities, and they manage an ever increasing amount of materials, including DVDs, CDs, magazines, books, and computer resources. In addition to learning how to care for those resources, librarians also must be good at serving students or the public by helping them to access and use those resources in creative and effective ways.

Some of the topics you might encounter when studying library science include book preservation, digital preservation, managing a library or information center, children's literature, cataloging, research methodology, collection development, and archives management.

Who Studies Library Science

You probably won't study all of those areas and might study others not mentioned. It all depends on what you specialize in, and that probably depends on what kind of library job you're seeking. All sorts of people study library science, especially those who want to direct a library or manage a department within a library. However, there are many different types of libraries you can work in, including K-12 schools, colleges, specialty libraries or library collections within a university (such as law, music, or theology), and public libraries. The director of a library in a small town might need to be a generalist who can handle many different tasks, while the manager of a special collection in an academic or school library might need to have some specific, specialized skills.

Not everyone who works in a library will be a professional librarian, but people in key positions will usually have studied some library science, either at the master's level or lower. There are associate's degrees in library science, which usually help prepare someone to be a library assistant or technician. The American Library Association (ALA) is a good place to start to explore the different kinds of library jobs and to see what level of education you might need within the field of library science.

Related Resource: 30 Most Affordable Top Ranked Schools for an Online Master's in Library Science Degree

Working in a library can be a rewarding job for people who enjoy working with books and other resource materials and helping people to access them for what they need. Library science is the field you want to explore if that kind of job seems right for you.