MLS Degree Salary & Career Outlook

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When you earn an MLS (Master in Library Science) degree, you will open up a range of careers. You can find employment in university libraries, public libraries, school libraries, city archives, and much more. This because you will be respected for the advanced research and information skills that you possess, which are necessary to help others look for the information that they need. At the same time, you will know how to organize archives and make things easy to find within them. Few people realize that you require an MLS to take on advanced positions in libraries. If you want to do anything other than signing books out and in, therefore, you need to consider completing this particular graduate degree.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is predicted that there will be a 2% increase in the number of jobs for librarians from 2014 to 2024. Below are some of the possible positions you can obtain:

#1 Librarian

As a librarian, an MLS degree holder will find employment in government, university, school, or public libraries. There are also a number of large corporations, particularly the older ones that work on a global level, where libraries are also maintained. These require MLS skills to organize literature and documentation that are related to the company.

Typical tasks of a librarian include:

  • Helping people who need to find information, resources, texts, and other books or pieces of literature
  • Choosing, obtaining, classifying, cataloging, maintaining, and circulating materials pertaining to the library
  • Checking library books out and in of the establishment

The median annual salary for a librarian is $48,663, according to Payscale.com.

#2 Library Director

Library directors handle all of the administrative and operational tasks associated with a library. They are also responsible for staff management, ensuring that everyone within the library is efficient, courteous, and respects the rules, policies, and procedures. Furthermore, they ensure that the entire establishment operates in an organized fashion while complying with all relevant rules. Additionally, they create efficient and neat organization and storage systems, so that things are easy to find. They often also have some HR responsibilities, hiring other librarians, support staff, and volunteers. This means they also manage personnel and have to carry out disciplinary actions and training audits as and when required.

Typical tasks of a library director are:

  • To direct, lead, and manage the service program of the library, while taking part in creating long and short term strategic goals and objectives
  • To make sure that they remain up to date with new technological developments, particularly in relation to information systems and databases, so that people are able to access information with ease.
  • To promote the services and resources offered by the library, making sure that everyone follows the policies and procedures that are in place
  • To hold responsibility for the staffing, budgeting, and planning of the library as a whole

Payscale.com reports that the median annual salary for a library director is $62,445.

#3 Reference Librarian

Reference librarians usually work in institutions such as schools, colleges, or university libraries. Their role is to make sure that those who use the library are able to find the relevant reference materials. With advances in technology, reference librarians may also work virtually. They are also often responsible for the creation of guides on a variety of topics, as well as bibliographies. Those references are often required, and they must ensure that they are easy to find. Furthermore, they are responsible for staying up to date with the publication of new reference materials and ordering them when appropriate. In university settings, reference librarians often have to work with the different departments in the school to ensure they fully understand the resources that are required.

Common daily tasks of a reference librarian are:

  • To choose, purchase, classify, catalog, maintain, and circulate materials for the library
  • To provide advisory, bibliographical, and reference services
  • To create and work with information systems and databases in order to catalog information and access it
  • To perform strategic research and filter, edit, analyze, and synthesize information
  • To seek out new reference materials, including those found on the internet, so that any reference questions that clients may have are answered

According to Payscale.com, the median annual salary for a reference librarian is $48,365.

#4 Head Librarian

Head librarians can find employment in school libraries, university libraries, public libraries, or even the Library of Congress. They are charged with ensuring that the entire library runs properly. They are responsible for maintaining the collection of media and books, while also providing supervision for staff, including library volunteers and assistants. Furthermore, they must perform a range of administrative tasks, including establishing relevant employee salaries and managing the library’s budget. In very large libraries, much of this is left to the HR and finance departments, in which case the head librarian must liaise closely with those departments to ensure that all issues are properly handled and managed.

Typically, a head librarian will:

  • Hold responsibility for the budget, staff, and policies of the library, including setting short and long term goals and objectives for systems and services
  • Develop and manage instructional services offered both in person and online
  • Work with external and internal groups to ensure that their needs are met. This is done by providing services and building strong partnerships and networks.
  • Oversee cataloging and metadata to make sure resources are easier to discover
  • Manage the physical and online assets and grow them for lending. To achieve this, demand has to be measured and met, and accessibility has to be increased.

Payscale.com has reported that the median annual salary for a head librarian is $56,396.

#5 Archivist

Archivists are responsible for properly organizing artifacts, books, manuscripts, documents, and other such items. They often work with historical documents, which are very fragile and must be handled with proper care.

Typical tasks of an archivist are:

  • To design workflows and tools to add metadata, collect, and present information, such as collections and artifacts
  • To create content for websites that are used by the public
  • To develop and display various exhibits, both in situ and online, making sure that the exhibits have an educational value while at the same time maintaining the safety of the collections and artifacts
  • To conduct audits of quality processes in relation to the collections. These include storage and preservation best practices.

The median annual salary for an archivist, according to Payscale.com, is $48,359.

#6 Law Librarian

Law librarians can be found in a variety of settings and institutions. For instance, they can work for government organizations, courts, law schools, law libraries, and law firms. Alternatively, they can find work in the legal department of large global corporations. Typically, they will work alongside legal staff, including lawyers, paralegals, law clerks, and so on, ensuring that they can always access relevant information on laws and previous cases.

Common tasks for a law librarian are:

  • To do legal research, filtering, editing, and analysis of relevant information
  • To catalog, classify, and code books, ensuring that there is no duplication of library materials, such as books, audiovisual aids, or films unless required
  • To keep records of which materials are circulated and checked out
  • To provide education to paralegals and attorneys on how they can use the database to find the information that they need, explaining to them how to use the library equipment, services, resources, and facilities
  • To receive and appropriately respond to requests for business or legal information by searching through the internet, online legal sources, and other reference materials

According to Payscale.com, the median annual salary for a law librarian is $59,757.

Summary

If you complete your MLS degree, a wealth of professional opportunities will become available to you. These positions also attract good salaries. With an MLS, you will be able to be in the thick of knowledge, surrounded by books, something that many people see as a dream come true, especially those who love books.

Additional Resources

References

Sady Brown
Written by Sady Brown
Sady Brown is Editorial Strategist for Nogre.com