Today’s library science students need a different set of skills than former generations. With information at our fingertips like never before, the importance of trained librarians is growing. Whether you hope to work in a public, academic, law, or school library, there are a few essential skills today’s library science students need to build successful careers.
Be an Information Resource
The differences between turning to a librarian and going to your Google search bar for information are vast. With specified training in areas like the organization of information, computer technology, and research, a librarian is not only internet-savvy, they also know how and where it’s best to start and complete the fastest and most accurate online research. In an article called “Librarians: Masters of the info universe,” author Kerith Paige McFadden discovered that “reference librarians in the nation’s public and academic libraries answered nearly 5.7 million questions each week in 2010.”
Be Tech Savvy
As the world continues to make moves towards digitization and away from print, library students need to learn how to be specialists in modern technology in addition to gaining traditional skills like organizing and cataloguing new print books. A familiarity with the mobile environment is essential, from tablets to smartphones to cloud computing. Librarians serve as specialists and guides in decisions applicable to digital preservation (e-books, magazines, etc.) and information curation. They are keepers of the books and the e-books.
Have Multitasking and Management Skills
There is no typical day or even hour at a library—one hour you might troubleshoot technology, the next you could be helping a patron on a quest for a map from a specific year. An ability to multitask and switch gears is not only important, but an essential part of the job. Management skills are important as well since you will be directing and making decisions for small and large support staffs as well as essential decisions for your library like creating policies and procedures, and having frequent communications with the public. From organizing workshops to making outside connections, it is essential to develop good multitasking and management skills.
Be an Advocate
An initiative of the American Library Association, ILoveLibraries.org created a Declaration for the Right to Libraries to garner support for the institutions and includes important points about how libraries empower people, are important equalizers, and preserve our culture. Despite these valid points, it’s no secret that libraries are often threatened with budget cuts. Today’s library students need to be ready to advocate for their libraries, whether they’re speaking to the press about the need for funding or collecting data to show their importance in the community they serve.
Have A Sense of Humor
For professionals who serve whole communities, a sense of humor is necessary to create harmony and happiness for your library and yourself. Each day will bring different people, challenges, and successes. A positive outlook and the ability to smile and laugh are important to success.
Success for library science students means learning how to do important work in a growing and changing career field. As information management professionals, you have an important role that will help lead libraries into the future.
If you are interested in getting your degree in library science, please fill out our form or contact us.