Survey of 2018 MLIS Graduates


This survey was sent in May 2019 to graduates who completed the MLIS program during calendar year 2018. We received a total of 169 responses to our survey.

We are pleased to share the following data regarding our alumni.

80% are employed in a library or information science career environment, and 6% are working in a LIS capacity but not in a LIS institution. 

Library and information science is the first professional career for many of our recent graduates (49%). Others are changing their career focus, having previously worked in a wide variety of fields, such as education, communications, criminal justice, military and publishing.

Now that they have earned their MLIS degree, 76% have permanent, full-time positions and are working in diverse LIS career environments, including public librariesacademic librariesK-12 schools, and special libraries.

“It was a great experience and has opened up a lot of opportunities for me.”

Their job titles are just as varied as their employers and include Field Archivist, Law Library Technician, Virtual Reference Librarian, Media Specialist, Teacher Librarian, Metadata Librarian, Digital Collections Specialist, and many more positions.

Our alumni are putting their MLIS skills to work performing many different job duties, such as circulation, collection development, outreach, and readers’ advisory. When asked to select their primary job assignment, the following top five job assignments received the most responses:

  1. Reference / Information Services
  2. Public Services
  3. Children’s Services
  4. School Librarian / School Library Media Specialist
  5. Adult Services

In anticipation of graduating, most students who weren’t currently employed began the job search while in their final semester of the MLIS program. 79% were hired in the information profession within six months after earning their MLIS degree.

Many students work while earning their degree and opt to remain with an employer or position held prior to or while attending the MLIS program. Those who chose to stay with an existing employer said the master’s degree helped advance their career. 65% reported that they received a promotion, got a raise, and/or moved from support staff to professional staff.

“I was hired for the Teen Services Librarian position. My title and pay changed after I received my degree, but my work stayed the same.” 

Our alumni shared that they believe the following five experiences/activities were most helpful or important in obtaining their first job in the information profession:

  1. Previous Employment Experience
  2. Technological Skills
  3. Subject Specialization
  4. Choosing Electives from Multiple Career Pathways
  5. Networking with Professionals in the Field

Our students not only live across North America while completing the fully online MLIS program, they are also working in different geographic areas after graduation. For example, our alumni reported that their employers are located in the U.S., Canada, India, and Russia.

The survey concluded with the option for alumni to share their comments regarding the MLIS program. Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:

  • “I really loved my MLIS program and experience. I think that it prepared me well for the job market and my current position.”
  • “I loved San Jose’s MLIS program. It was a great way for me to continue working in the library field, and so many times I could see how my course work and my job overlapped. I had amazing support from my supervisors, which is essential for MLIS students. I loved being able to do it entirely online, as I moved from Colorado to Illinois during it and worked two jobs as well.”
  • “It was a wonderful experience. I followed the advice from peers to take a variety of courses, and it was good for me. Get out of your comfort zone. Intercultural communication was very helpful combined with many other classes.”
  • “I was very happy with the program. It afforded me the ability to learn skills, get experience in a variety of environments through internships and volunteering, and to make friends and expand my network.”
  • “The online format allowed me to gain useful work experience while pursuing my degree, so by the time I finished, I possessed all the qualifications needed for a professional, benefited librarian role. I’m glad I pursued this degree, and I’m glad I did it through SJSU.”

We invite you to learn more about our alumni by browsing our alumni career spotlights, reading alumni stories, and watching videos of them at work and their impact on our global communities.