MLIS Career Pathways
The SJSU School of Information offers numerous career pathways for your consideration, and this is only a partial list of the diverse career directions you can follow with an MLIS degree.
The career pathways are presented as an introduction to various careers and topics and are intended to be used by MLIS students for career planning and course selection. Many students choose courses from more than one career pathway, building comprehensive skillsets that are transferable to a wide range of organizations and career opportunities.
No special designations appear on your transcript or diploma. All students earn an MLIS degree.
iSchool partner Skilltype has aggregated some of the main competencies and skills across all library positions:
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View all 400+ skills identified by LIS employees here.
The iSchool offers all students free LIS-specific career counseling through Kim Dority, which includes individual meetings, resume/CV reviews, and interview preparation. SJSU offers additional free general career counseling for all graduate students through the graduate school.
The iSchool also commissions an annual MLIS Skills Report. You can download the 2023 report here.
Management, Digitization and Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Records (Archival Studies and Records Management) — MLIS Career Pathway
Archivists and records managers organize, describe, interpret, manage and provide access to materials created in the present and those inherited from the past, and to preserve them for use in the future.
Library services are increasingly migrating to the digital environment in both the building of collections and in patron interactions. The significant differences existing between objects, printed material, and even buildings or landscapes in the material world blur in the digital environment.
This career pathway focuses on emerging technologies and the issues and trends that accompany them along the curve of adoption into public life, information centers, and business.
This career pathway focuses on information intermediation and instruction. Work in this area requires an understanding of how to help users define and articulate their information needs; excellent communication skills; mastery of a wide range of information tools and retrieval techniques for answering users’ questions; and proficiency in evaluating and selecting information sources and services.
Discovery depends on the organization and description of information resources. Work in this area requires understanding of existing and emerging shared standards, frameworks and principles for organization and description as well as systems such as library services platforms, discovery platforms, institutional repositories and digital library management systems.
Librarians and information professionals in this pathway seek opportunities to assess the information needs and interests of their communities, design collections, programs and services to address those needs, and assess the impact of those services on the well-being of their communities.
Public libraries are a partnership between librarians, clients, customers and stakeholders. Public librarians have evolved from gatekeeper to catalyst, designer, and partner. Librarians are fostering innovation and creativity for the community conversation to flourish in order to maintain the competitive advantage in what is being called the “knowledge economy.”
Students in this pathway are prepared to manage libraries in all levels of K – 12 schools. The jobs for these graduates are found across the spectrum of schools and at the district and state levels. While school librarians are often working solo in schools, they may also supervise technicians, assistants, and volunteers in the operation of K – 12 libraries.
Special libraries, also called information centers, knowledge resource centers, or a variety of similar names, are information-focused units that support the strategic goals of the organization within which they’re based. A special library may itself be its own department with from one (a “solo librarian”) to dozens of librarians and other information professionals.
In addition, a special library may be:
This career pathway concentrates on the theories, basic concepts and tools, and supporting techniques related to the design, building, and management of information systems and Web applications.
The Youth Services career pathway is designed to prepare students for positions as children’s and/or young adult (YA) librarians or coordinators in public libraries, youth specialists on a regional or state level, or as information professionals in organizations principally serving youth, as well as to offer library generalists appropriate coursework to prepare for serving a public that includes youth.