Survey of 2021 MLIS Graduates


This survey was sent in June 2022 to graduates who completed the MLIS program during calendar year 2021. We received a total of 190 responses to our survey. Not all of the questions were mandatory, and the responses may be rounded.

“The iSchool program was a completely transformative experience for me. I learned so much and felt supported by faculty. I highly encourage other students to get involved with student groups, attend events and engage with the iSchool community. I had no trouble with finding my first library employment while in the program, or my librarian position as I finished the degree, and I largely credit my experience at the iSchool (both coursework and career center support) for that.”

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 (56%). They are changing their career focus to LIS from a wide variety of fields, such as education, retail, non profit, healthcare, film/video and social work.
  • Many students begin the MLIS program already having some library work experience and/or gain library work experience while completing their studies. Only 40% said they had not worked in a library.
  • Of those who are currently employed, 76% hold jobs in a library or information science career environment, 11% are working in a LIS capacity but not in a LIS institution, and 16% 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.

  • 80% have full-time positions and are working in diverse LIS career environments, including public librariesacademic librariesK-12 schools, and special libraries. 91% of full-time workers are employed in permanent positions.
  • Their job titles are just as varied as their employers and include Film Services Manager, Youth Services Librarian, Library Director, Professional Development Coordinator, Research Librarian, Exhibit Program Coordinator, Teacher Librarian, Institutional Data Analyst 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, reference/information services, school librarian / school library media specialist, circulation, metadata, cataloging and taxonomy and public services.
  • In anticipation of graduating, 33% 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 or current position. 
  • 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. 56% reported that they received a promotion, became eligible for tenure, got a raise, and/or moved from support staff to professional staff.

“It was a fantastic program, very comprehensive, and after 40 years in publishing it got me ready for 21st century jobs.”

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. Subject Specialization
  5. Learning to Work Collaboratively with People in an Online Environment

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., Puerto Rico and Canada.

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:

  • Fantastic program and loved being involved with the courses, professors and teams I worked with throughout my program.
  • My experience in the MLIS program was one I will never forget. I was intimidated at first but with my professors and classmates were beyond helpful, understanding and knowledgeable. As someone who had never thought about librarianship as a profession, I Iearned a lot and enjoyed my experience.

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.