Survey of 2019 MLIS Graduates


This survey was sent in June 2020 to graduates who completed the MLIS program during calendar year 2019. We received a total of 111 responses to our survey. Not all of the questions were mandatory, and the responses may be rounded.

“The SJSU MLIS program was wonderful with great professors.”

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

  • Library and information science is not the first professional career for many of our recent graduates (57%). They are changing their career focus to LIS from a wide variety of fields, such as education, journalism, arts, medical fields, and publishing.
  • Many students begin the MLIS program already having some library work experience and/or gain library work experience while completing their studies. Only 23% said they had not worked in a library.
  • Of those who are currently employed, 71% hold jobs in a library or information science career environment, 7% are working in a LIS capacity but not in a LIS institution, and 9% are employed in a non-related position and field. 

The survey continued with questions asked of those who are working in a LIS career environment or related capacity.

  • 81% have full-time positions and are working in diverse LIS career environments, including public librariesacademic librariesK-12 schools, and special libraries. 94% of full-time workers are employed in permanent positions.
  • Their job titles are just as varied as their employers and include Archivist, Youth Services Outreach Specialist, Electronic Resources Librarian, Teacher Librarian, Document Management Systems Specialist, Library Director, Arts and Communication Librarian Systems and Digital Initiatives Librarian, 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 reference/information services.
  • When asked to select their primary job assignment, the following job assignments received the most responses: children’s services, administration, adult services, patron programming, reference/information services, circulation, and YA/teen services.
  • In anticipation of graduating, most students who weren’t already employed began the job search while in their final semester of the MLIS program. 82% were hired in the information profession within six months after earning their MLIS degree. 40% of those who completed internships stated they were employed because of an internship.
  • Many students worked while earning their degree and opted 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 after graduation said the master’s degree helped advance their career. 55% reported that they received a promotion, got a raise, and/or moved from support staff to professional staff.

“Enrolling in the SJSU MLIS program was, hands down, the smartest choice of my professional life. When I received the MLIS, I found jobs right away and was able to establish a new career.”

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. Choosing Electives from Multiple Career Pathways
  3. Technological Skills
  4. Learning to Work Collaboratively with People in an Online Environment
  5. Subject Specialization

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 their employers are located in the U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands.

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:

  • “Thank you SJSU School of Information! I love you all for helping me to obtain my MLIS which enabled me to become the Director of Library Services of an academic library immediately after my predecessor retired.”
  • “I love my job and the skills I learned in the program.”
  • “The comprehensive nature of the program worked well for me. I quickly realized that my heart was with UX (I was a reference specialist for 7 years prior) and UX needs knowledge in a lot of different areas. I really learned to see libraries differently in this program. I learned to see the ways in which libraries need to change to survive and thrive.”
  • “The MLIS professors and classes that I took were all relevant and gave me a solid base on which to work. I was able to do an internship because of serving on a student chapter and also taking a cataloging class. I excelled at SJSU because of the online environment, with the collegiality not only of my peers but also with the professors. I have made some lifelong friends.”

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.