Nine Career Opportunities in Government for MMLIS Degree Holders
A degree in library and information science can endow students with leadership skills, project management abilities, and the capability to adapt in an evolving field. Thanks to these aspects, it’s only natural that such a degree provides opportunities across a wide spectrum of sectors and disciplines. For instance, a master’s of management in library and information science (MMLIS) degree can lead to engaging and unique career opportunities in the government sector, many of which are outside of the public library field.
Using your MMLIS degree, you can pursue careers that not only satisfy your passion, but that also interact with various structures of the United States government. Consider the following career opportunities in government for MMLIS degree holders.
Digital Preservation Librarian
Image via Flickr by Alex E. Proimos
With so many records being converted to (or originating in) digital formats, the government requires librarians who have the ability to preserve, organize, and maintain digital information. According to the Federal Government Jobs website, a digital preservation librarian working for the U.S. government performs work that establishes and maintains FDsys/govinfo and other digital repositories as Trusted Digital Repositories.
In addition to working with repositories, digital preservation librarians also apply their extensive knowledge to “provide input on matters related to digital asset curation for the Government Publishing Office’s Preservation Program.” These librarians also collaborate with the Preservation Librarian and other staff on technical issues related to the development and implementation of digitization procedures. Working as a digital preservation librarian in the government sector requires creative problem solving skills that impact the accessibility and availability of important historical assets.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, database administrators use specialized software to store and organize a range of data, from financial information to customer shipping records, and more. Administrators maintain a balance between ensuring that data is easily accessible to users and securing databases from unauthorized access.
Tech Republic adds that database administrators are also often required to install, configure, and update database software, which requires hands-on knowledge of the technology. DBAs must additionally be able to use critical thinking skills to quickly diagnose problems and remedy them to prevent the loss of data.
While this may sound like a very conventional job for one with an MMLIS degree, working as an archivist for the government comes with the opportunity to interact with significant historical documents and other artifacts. In fact, the Federal Government Jobs website discusses an archivist position where the employee would work in the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art.
At the Smithsonian Institution, archivists process a range of collections of personal papers, historical records of arts institutions, art societies, art galleries, and arts associations. They also assess new acquisitions to determine physical condition, format types, research value, and unique preservation needs.
While archivists work with historical information, content curators focus on current digital content. A content curator’s primary role is to gather information relevant to a topic or area of interest. Hootsuite adds that “the process of content curation is the act of sorting through large amounts of content on the web and presenting the best posts in a meaningful and organized way.” Curators are active participants in the online conversation and work to provide the best content to users.
Geospatial Information Librarian
With an MMLIS degree, you can be qualified to work with much more than written records. With knowledge about how to work with a GIS database, a Geospatial Information Librarian can provide myriad services. The American Library Association (ALA) describes a GIS librarian as “a library professional with knowledge of GIS data models, concepts, techniques, technologies, and information and library science, and who can apply this knowledge in collecting, organizing, disseminating, and preserving geographically referenced data, providing general help in GIS reference and in displaying geospatial data.”
In addition to these skills, GIS librarians also build and curate spatial data collections, which means that your work could influence the future operation of GIS systems. These librarians may also assist Map Librarians in converting static analog maps to digital georeferenced maps, which provides patrons with maps that are more flexible and powerful.
Knowledge Management Specialist
Knowledge management, which is the handling of information and resources within an organization, plays a crucial role in everything from commercial businesses to the government. A KMS working with the government has a variety of roles. Specialists may “author, maintain, and upload relevant content” as well as “integrate information from departments and functions throughout the organization to facilitate easy access, sharing, and dissemination of information,” as described in a government listing on The Ladders.
The analytical and critical thinking skills gained through an MMLIS degree can be applied across a range of disciplines. A government analyst, for example, may find employment in almost any program, project, or agency, according to Inside Jobs. This position involves the analysis of protocols, situations, rules, and other elements in order to identify weaknesses in policies and offer solutions to strengthen them. As a government analyst, you could play an active role in improving government services by analyzing and interpreting data. You may also be involved in the financial aspect of government, where you could apply your metadata analysis skills to improve the solicitation and allocation of financial resources.
Technical Information Specialist
Technical information specialists can also find a place in many areas of government. These specialists’ primary roles include improving usability and accessibility of government websites and offering policies and strategies for upgrading usability. According to usability.gov, specialists also provide “leadership and support in identifying, evaluating, and implementing the most effective processes, methods, and tools for delivering usability.” Such work improves the connection between government and civilian sectors.
Research librarians have the opportunity to participate in engaging research processes across the government sector. Research librarians often work within a specific area of study and collect and organize resources relevant to that area. With the database management and information technology skills gained through an MMLIS program, they also determine the overall needs of a research library and assist with acquisition.
An MMLIS degree can become the gateway to a career that provides you with unique experiences and skills in areas such as the acquisition and preservation of digital assets, geospatial mapping, and historical asset management. If you’re interested in furthering your education with a library science degree, consider the USC Marshall School of Business Master of Management in Library and Information Science online, the only library science degree program in the nation to be offered through a leading school of business. Through USC’s online graduate program, you’ll acquire the leadership tactics and focused learning necessary to excel in the career of your choice.
USC MMLIS Website – University of Southern California Online
Digital Preservation Librarian – Federal Government Jobs
Non-Traditional Jobs for Librarians – American Library Association
Archivist – Federal Government Jobs
Archivist – Federal Government Jobs
“Archives have never been neutral:” An NDSA Interview with Jarrett Drake – Digital Library Foundation
What Can I Do with an Information/Library Science Degree – School of Information Sciences
What Should a GIS Librarian Do? – American Library Association
Technical Information Specialist Position – USAbility.gov
A Beginner’s Guide to Content Curation – Hootsuite
Database Administrators – Bureau of Labor Statistics
What does a Database Administrator do all day? – TechRepublic
Government Analyst – Chegg Career Match