A Career in Reference Services . . . Is for Everyone!


Why It's for YOU

Who YOU can be:

  • Patent Searcher
  • Information Consultant
  • Art & Architecture Librarian
  • Science & Engineering Librarian
  • Government Documents Librarian
  • Subject Bibliographer
  • Computer Systems Librarian

Where YOU can be:

  • Schools
  • Public Libraries
  • Universities and Colleges
  • Law Firms/Hospitals/Corporations

What YOU can do:

  • Provide Competitive Intelligence
  • Spread Information Literacy
  • Assess Information Resources
  • Support and Enhance Research

Why the information service profession needs YOU:

  • Increasing Diversity of Users
  • Growing Population of Users
  • The "Graying" of the Profession as more Librarians retire in the next decade.

Skills YOU need:

  • An eye for detail.
  • An ability to create order out of chaos.
  • An ability to learn new technology and adapt to change.
  • A strong desire to assist others and a commitment to service.

Myths and Facts

"Librarians just don't make enough money."

  • Advancement in the field offers managerial, administrative, and director level positions in both the private and public sector.
  • The Pay Equity Task Force ( http://www.mjfreedman.org/tfhome.html) is an ALA President-sponsored initiative committed to higher pay for public service librarians.

"Librarians just shelve and check out books."

  • The ALA successfully challenged the  Children's Internet Protection Act in order to protect citizens' access to information.
  • Reference librarians refine and anticipate the information needs of the general public, researchers, students, clients, and other professionals.
  • Public librarians have been at the forefront of introducing technology to low-income and disadvantaged communities in order to ameliorate the digital divide.

"I can't afford to go to library school."

"Librarians don't need advanced degrees."

  • The profession requires an ALA accredited masters in the library or information sciences (MSI, MLS) and a BA in any field.
  • You can combine an MLS with an MBA / JD / MA / MS / PhD to serve as a reference librarian in any specialized field.


Librarians are teaching, changing, and leading us through the Information Age.

Written by Beverly Anmay Ku, a 2001 Spectrum scholar attending the University of Michigan. Ms. Ku was selected as the 2002 RUSA Intern.