Types of Special Libraries


The following chart and examples of real job descriptions should be considered simply a very small sample of opportunities to help you start thinking about how your career goals and current skill set might match up to potential career paths. Once you see what you need, consider choosing courses, internships, and volunteer experiences that will help you develop new skills and increase your desirability as a job candidate.

Type Typical Characteristics
(employers, clientele)
Relevant Professional Association(s)
Medical Medical facilities, medical schools, pharmaceutical companies

Medical Library Association

SLA Pharmaceutical & Health Technology Division

Legal Law firms, corporate legal departments, law schools, court libraries, government agencies American Association of Law Libraries
Corporate, nonprofit, association Organizations (for-profit and nonprofit) of all types and sizes; sometimes also works on behalf of employers’ clients, customers, and/or members

SLA Business & Finance Division


Government/Military Legislative offices, military bases and academies, intelligence agencies, prisons, veterans administration/health care

SLA Military Libraries Division

SLA Government Information Division




Cultural heritage institutions, historical organizations, art museums and institutes

SLA Museums, Arts & Humanities Division

Art Libraries Society of North America

For a broader overview of potential special library-related job titles and employers, see the iSchool’s annual report, MLIS Skills at Work: A Snapshot of Job Postings, especially the information on Data Management, Analysis and Preservation (slide26), Information Management (slide 28), Information Systems and Technology (slide 29), Web Services, User Experience (UX) and Social Media (slide 30),Government Agencies and Organizations (slide 36), and Business and Nonprofit Organizations (slide 37).