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What is Library/Information Science? Is it worth pursuing?

/What is Library/Information Science? Is it worth pursuing?

“A New Delhi-based employment solutions company, Aspiring Minds, conducted employability- a focused study based on 150,000 engineering students who graduated in 2013. The findings were rather shocking. As many as 97 percents of graduating engineers want jobs either in software engineering or core engineering. However, only 3 percent have suitable skills to be employed in software or product market, and only 7 percent can handle core engineering tasks”, – such as the scene at the job market in today’s times. With up and coming streams to be pursued, the job market is introducing new career prospects for students to undertake to stand out from the crowd and make a difference in their field.

Not only engineering but medical sciences have lost value. The takers are plenty but their chances of getting jobs with a standard pay scale, are rather slim. This is because many job seekers are all seeking the same positions and job titles.

Hence, a lot of people tend to take the sidewalk and take opportunities in lesser-known fields to make a career. These careers include fashion designing, program analysis, research, information and library sciences, program evaluation; among many others. Library science or ‘librarianship’ has now taken up several names and does not just circle around being a custodian of some shelves consisting of books. Librarians must document electronic information as well. They help in assisting people and organizations and must be trained to manage and retrieve information. They thrive on change and find interest in challenges that require creative thinking and solutions. Librarians sometimes find themselves looking after the archives of a particular group, family or company too. It does not simply revolve around the storage and maintenance of information that should concern a librarian, but also facilitating access to this information. Sometimes a librarian must deal with a small population, say of a particular college, whereas librarians who work in large public facilities have to make their collections available to almost everyone.

Typical tasks of a librarian or information specialist may include:

  • Managing and resourcing a branch library, a section of a large library, a small special library, or a research program
  • Supervising and leading staff
  • Designing, directing, formulating policy and applying services to meet the information needs of clients
  • Providing expert advice or consultancy services on strategic information management matters
  • Developing strategic plans, preparing budget submissions and briefings for general management
  • Managing major projects, including information technology systems and applications in a resource environment
  • Providing leadership, managerial and commercial skills, and judgment
  • Marketing and promoting a library or information management service.

Those who have a keen interest in academics but do not wish to end up becoming a lecturer or professor can take up this profession as it provides an excellent base for improvised researches. Librarians also do not have to stick to one sort of position. They could be teacher librarians, library technicians, library policy makers, library assistants, national librarians, state librarians, new technologies coordinator, repository resource librarian, knowledge center managers, liaison librarians, music librarians, information and data professionals, collections and facilities assistants, metadata team members; to name a few. The job prospects are in abundance and cannot be thus seen as education of lesser quality or low importance. The professions stemming out of this course requires students to be highly skilled at research work and responsible enough to maintain records and establish relationships with people for the same.

On the other hand, professionals involved in information systems help organizations with the storage, retrieval, and management of records or information and support information technology in an organization. An undergraduate degree in management information systems (MIS) or computer science is the preferred background before earning a master’s in information science. Competition for jobs, traineeships, and course places is strong. Employers seek motivated individuals with excellent research, IT, organizational, team working, verbal communication and interpersonal skills. Building a strong computer background in programming skills using several languages, various operating systems, database management, software, and networks gives an individual the added bonus of procuring a good career out of this field. The individual would also be required to adapt well with the up and coming trends in digital media as electronic storage is a more preferred option to maintain accounts for the books. Digital copying of certain resources means that readers can now access information from their own computers and do not come into libraries to read the original copies of a book and the use of electronic catalogs have widened access and allows for easier sourcing of information.

Information officers are employed by a wide variety of private and public sector organizations including public libraries and information services, government departments, professional associations, research establishments, charities, the British Library, academic/school libraries and commercial organizations such as manufacturers and banks.

A Day in a LIS Professional’s Life: As documented by Mr. Om Shashi Shekhar Singh, Chief Librarian, Navodaya Vidyalaya, Mewat

On a typical day a librarian might perform some of the following duties:

  1. Analyze users’ needs and provide the information they need;
  2. show users how to efficiently search for information on the Internet and in other online resources;
  3. select and purchase materials and prepare those materials by classifying them according to the subject matter;
  4. supervise assistants who prepare cards, computer records, or other access tools that direct users to resources;
  5. collect and organize books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and other materials in a specific field, such as rare books, genealogy, or music;
  6. coordinate programs such as storytelling for children, and literacy skills and book talks for adults;
  7. conduct classes as per need for junior professionals;
  8. publicize services;

You can read more on his views at –http://www.employmentnews.gov.in/CAREER NFORMATION SCIENCE.asp

Career Prospects (Non-librarian jobs for LIS Graduates):

Creative Project Manager Archival Consultant
Web Content Manager Freelance Researcher
Intelligence Analyst Business Research
Media Resource Curator Metadata Specialist
Research Lead Technology Coordinator

Colleges in India:

  • Central University of Gujarat
  • ISBM University, Chhattisgarh
  • University of Calicut, UC, Kerala
  • White Memorial College of Arts and Science for Women, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Bhavnagar University, Gujarat
  • SRM University, SRMU, Haryana

Colleges Abroad:

  • Berlin School of Information and Library Sciences, Germany
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Washington, Seattle
  • Syracuse University, New York
  • Charles Sturt University, Australia
  • University College Dublin, Ireland
  • University of Michigan, Ann Harbor
  • Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Drexel University, Philadelphia
  • Simmons College, Boston

Companies/Organizations/Universities in India hiring LIS candidates:

  • Wipro
  • Cognizant Technology Solutions India Pvt Ltd
  • L&T’s Management Development Centre Library, Lonavala
  • Maruti Solutions Pvt Limited
  • Birla Education Trust, Rajasthan
  • Hind Charitable Trust, Sitapur
  • MU Sigma
  • Fractal
  • EXL
  • Absolutdata
  • Citigroup
  • United Health