Survey of 2020 MLIS Graduates


This survey was sent in June 2021 to graduates who completed the MLIS program during calendar year 2020. We received a total of 119 responses to our survey. Not all of the questions were mandatory, and the responses may be rounded.

“I was very happy with the quality of education that I received at SJSU. Especially since I was working while studying, I found the course work and information directly applicable to what I was doing. I also see SJSU as a leader in the library science field and am proud to have studied there.”

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 (50%). They are changing their career focus to LIS from a wide variety of fields, such as education, retail, non profit, 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, 64% hold jobs in a library or information science career environment, 11% are working in a LIS capacity but not in a LIS institution, and 13% 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.

  • 66% 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 Digital Asset Librarian, Tribal Library Specialist, Children’s Librarian, Branch Librarian, Teacher Technology Leader, Family Learning Coordinator, Reference and Instruction 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: reference/information services, circulation, public services, school librarian / school library media specialist, children’s services, and YA/teen services.
  • In anticipation of graduating, 54% of students who weren’t already employed began the job search more than 7 months in advance of their graduation date. Some respondents indicated that pandemic-related economic conditions had delayed or impacted their job search. 
  • 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. 49% reported that they received a promotion, became eligible for tenure, got a raise, and/or moved from support staff to professional staff.

“It was wonderful and prepared me for my current dream job as teacher-librarian in a public school, K-12. Thank you!”

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. Choosing Electives from Multiple Career Pathways
  4. Internship, Practicum or Fieldwork Experience
  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, India and Ecuador.

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:

  • “The staff was incredibly supportive and focused on student success. I received top notch instruction.”
  • “Working as a Content Editor at the Student Research Journal was invaluable. The skills I learned and was able to put on my resume made my application competitive enough to rise above other applicants and get the job. Generally, people go to grad school to get professional experience in the field of their choice. The Student Research Journal gave me that in spades.”

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.