Careers in Library Science

Prepare to Be a 21st-Century Information Leader

A career in library science can provide a dynamic work environment and a satisfaction that comes from improving the connections between information, people and ideas.

MLIS@Denver will prepare you to manage and evaluate information effectively and take on leadership roles in various settings. You’ll gain experience using real-world application of information and data management techniques that will prove invaluable in the career paths available in the library and information science field.

“I came into the MLIS@Denver program passionate about information, but I am leaving with a greater understanding of the service and commitment that goes hand in hand with being a librarian.”

— Emily Fowler, MLIS@Denver Alumni

Current Trends in Library and Information Science Jobs

The most popular career settings for Master of Library and Information Science degree-holders seeking to enter the field include:

Public Libraries

Academic and K-12 School Libraries

Digital Archives

Public Libraries

Dedicated to serving diverse communities, librarians in public libraries guide users through the vast array of information available—whether in print, electronic or digital formats—and help them use it effectively. Within the public library structure, you can find:

Reference Librarians

Reference librarians typically manage staff, select resources for the library’s collection, and develop information programs and systems to meet users’ needs. Increasingly, research librarians serve in outreach roles, finding innovative ways to engage community members in lifelong learning.

Youth Services Librarians

Typically working with children and teens, youth services librarians develop, plan and conduct programs and services that promote continued learning and a love of reading.

Course Spotlight

LIS 4702 Public Libraries – 3 credits

This course provides an overview of public libraries in the United States. Students will gain an appreciation for the complexities of managing public libraries and the differences that exist within the various governance structures. Public services and advocacy will be covered, along with the government structures that impact the work of public libraries. Students will explore practical tools for de-escalation, self-care and community engagement.

View more course descriptions.

Academic and K-12 School Libraries

Academic Librarians

Dedicated to supporting the teaching mission of the institution, academic librarians serve the information needs of the higher education community. Armed with knowledge of a wide variety of scholarly and information sources, they assist users by guiding them through available resources, interpreting information needs, and finding and organizing information.

Academic librarians must be able to operate effectively at all levels of the academic institution and serve as liaisons to academic departments in order to implement broad-reaching, curriculum-integrated information literacy programs.

K-12 School Librarians

Dedicated to serving as school and information leaders, K-12 school librarians help promote the integration of technology into the 21st-century learning environment. They are responsible for managing the school library, building its collection and developing programming that promotes lifelong learning. They often help teachers find resources to use for lesson plans in the classroom.

In addition, school librarians focus on providing students with information literacy skills and guiding them through the library’s resources. Depending on the size of the library, a K-12 school librarian might be responsible for managing the entire library or just one aspect of the library.

Course Spotlight

LIS 4330 Information Literacy Instruction – 3 credits

This course provides an introduction to the principles of library instruction and information literacy, including a historical overview of their place within the profession. While the course focuses on instruction within an academic setting, students will learn important educational theories that can be applied to a variety of settings. ACRL and AASL standards will be examined as well as types of instruction, instructional design, collaboration with faculty, various competencies, assessment and lifelong learning. The class strongly emphasizes public speaking, communication skills and the practical application of educational theory.

View more course descriptions.

Digital Archives


Dedicated to preserving history, archivists assess, organize, safeguard and provide access to permanently valuable records. In addition to managing records and archives, an archivist might also oversee digitization projects and maintain digital collections.

Archivists can be found in many types of industries and fields, including libraries, universities, museums, government institutions, historical societies, religious organizations and corporations.

Course Spotlight

MLIS@Denver offers an optional, three-course focus in archiving. The courses in the focus include:

  • LIS 4800 Introduction to Archives and Records Management 
  • LIS 4810 Digital Libraries
  • LIS 4820 Digitization

View more course descriptions.

Additional Settings for Careers in Library Science

While the careers listed above are prevalent, there are several other settings and organizations in need of library and information science leaders, including:

  • Museums         
  • Government Libraries               
  • Law Libraries   
  • Corporate Libraries
  • Information Centers

Master’s in Library Science Job Outlook

The profession is expected to grow by 5 percent by 20291, which is faster than average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salaries in 2019 for librarians and media collections specialists2 varied according to industry:

Federal Executive Branch
Legal Services
Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools
Elementary and Secondary Schools
Local Government

Take the Next Step

Become an information leader and make a difference in your community with a master’s degree in library and information science.

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1U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2019.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference
2U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2019.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference