People interested in library science might shy away from that career path because the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that positions will grow by only 7 percent between 2012 and 2022. A closer look at the library science industry shows numerous opportunities, especially for students interested in combining their love for libraries and computer technology.
If you’re interested in becoming a digital librarian, consider how these three factors could affect your career.
Librarian Jobs Are Evolving Quickly
There are plenty of professionals performing the duties of traditional librarians. These duties include helping patrons locate materials and conduct research. Many of the newer library jobs, however, require significant experience working with technology. These professionals often
- suggest hardware and software that meets the needs of the library and its patrons
- offer technical support to patrons who aren’t computer literate
- create and maintain digital archives
- develop efficient systems for cataloging and retrieving materials
55 percent of librarian jobs advertised between 2011 and 2012 required technical skills, such as using Dublin Core and MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema). It’s a new, exciting world for people just entering the industry.
Digital Librarians Have a Lot of Career Options
Traditional librarians usually work for libraries operated by governments, private organizations, or corporations. Just 20 years ago, there wasn’t much career diversity for librarians. However, many of today’s librarians don’t work in environments that you would usually call libraries.
Librarians may work as digital curators at museums and universities. They may develop websites and apps that give patrons easier access to materials. They may even use their computer and organizational skills to develop expansive databases for researchers.
Earning a library science degree now can give you the tools that you need to excel in these tech-savvy positions.
If digital librarians want to switch careers, they can pursue opportunities that require experience working with complex computer systems. Depending on your level of skill and experience, you could turn your career as a librarian into a career in systems management, computer security, or data analytics. Librarians have so many options to concentrate on different areas of technology that they can prepare themselves for several types of challenging careers.
You Get to Play With New Devices
Image via Flickr by Jezebelee
Several libraries around the country have built labs where patrons can learn more about technology. Chicago’s library system has a maker lab with 3D printers and laser cutters. Patrons can even check out Finch Robots that teach them about computer science.
Chicago libraries have invested in these upgrades to decrease the digital divide that often keeps low-income people from reaping the benefits of today’s computer technology.
For techie librarians, jobs working at similar institutions give them a chance to play with some of the latest devices, including tablets and smartphones. There aren’t many jobs where you get to teach someone how to use a 3D printer or write music on a computer. That’s where many libraries are headed.
Which of these reasons excite you most about becoming a digital librarian? How do you think that the job will continue to evolve with technology?