Friday, April 18, 2014

State of America's Libraries Report 2014: Academic Libraries & Jobs

Cover photo of "American Libraries"
The American Library Association released the 2014 State of America’s Libraries Report this week, which is National Library Week (April 13– 19). This 81-page report contains sections on:
Reading the section on academic libraries, this stood out to me: (text bolded by me)
Data curation, digital resource management and preservation, assessment, scholarly communication, and improved services for graduate students are growth areas for academic libraries. New technologies and digital materials are creating more new jobs in academic libraries including digital content management, electronic resources, emerging technology specialists, scholarly communication, user experience designer, and web services librarians.
Graduate students in library and information science programs need to take notice of the job areas listed.  These are all areas that require an understanding of technology and may require skills in areas such as data science, databases, information creation, publishing, or digital presence.  These are areas where people with the correct skills will be valued and sought after.  Eventually all colleges and universities will have professional staff in these areas, however, you might look at research universities or those with large academic libraries as the ones that will develop these positions first.  (And in reality, a growing number of institutions already have these jobs.)

For MSLIS students, I encourage you to use your electives to develop the knowledge, skills and abilities that will allow you to work with new technologies and with digital materials.  Consider taking classes related to data science, where you will learn to acquire, analyze, archive, and curate data, which is something that research institutions need, as well as many other organizations.  If that isn't of interest, then look at other areas - e.g., web or emerging technologies - which not only will be needed in academic libraries, but again in other institutions. And if that isn't of interest, look at the list above and figure out what IS of interest.

These are real areas of need.  If you don't help meet these needs, who will?

1 comment:

Paul Signorelli said...


Great advice to those seeking to enter the profession. I would also encourage them to note the comments in that section of the report about "the chief three reasons" academic libraries are using social media: "promotion of library services, marketing of events, and community building." Giving attention to libraries' roles in contributing to the building of community makes libraries part of the communities they serve on a lifelong basis.