Career options are expanding and changing for MLIS graduates – Highlights from an interview with Dr. Sandy Hirsh

iStudent Blog

Until a few months ago I worked full time in a public library. My five years working as a branch assistant, among other influences, was what prompted me to earn my graduate degree at SLIS in the first place. Recently I have found myself longing to get back to the library and to the help desk. I miss the library.

But not every student at SLIS is in love with the library like I am. And that’s a good thing. Whether or not you are a fan of the library, your degree from SLIS doesn’t mean you have to work in a traditional setting like a library. The information profession is expanding, says our director, Dr. Sandy Hirsh, and there are new ways to look at and use the MLIS degree.

Dr. Hirsh was recently interviewed by SLIS faculty member Laurie Putnam, which appeared on the blog Next Libraries. In the interview Dr. Hirsh discussed what it means to earn a MLIS degree in a field that is rapidly changing.

“The information age has created a demand for user-friendly, service-oriented people who are adept at organizing, managing, and making sense of information,” Putnam writes. And Dr. Hirsh agrees. As Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) students at SLIS, we are earning a degree that can take us practically anywhere. More and more jobs are being created that need information professionals, jobs that deal with metadata and database management, for example. To learn more about emerging job trends, I encourage you to check out our school’s Emerging Career Trends for Information Professionals report.

I previously wrote a blog post about exploring the many opportunities that SLIS provides for its students – the many different classes and routes towards professional development. In short I asked that new students not play it safe, to take chances and take classes outside your comfort zone. I think Dr. Hirsh’s interview echoes this sentiment. The information field is dynamic, and it requires new graduates to “keep an open mind, become technically savvy, [and] expect continuing change.”

Even if your career interests lean more towards traditional settings, like libraries or archives, Dr. Hirsh points out that all aspects of the library and information science field are changing. That means that not only are there expanding job opportunities for information professionals who choose non-traditional work environments, but there are also exciting and limitless possibilities for those who choose to work in libraries or archives. Whatever route you hope to take upon graduation, you must aim to be adaptable, agile, and dedicated to lifelong learning, says Dr. Hirsh.

While libraries continue to play a large and important part for many individuals earning a MLIS degree, which is lucky for me, a library enthusiast, it’s important to recognize that the MLIS shouldn’t and doesn’t limit you to working in a library. “‘How you think about and apply your skills is only limited by your imagination,’” said Dr. Hirsh.

Where do you see yourself applying your degree? What is your “dream job?”


Additional pages to peruse:

The Full Interview at Next Libraries

Career Pathways

SJSU SLIS Career Blog


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