Non-traditional jobs for librarians


In addition to work in traditional library settings, the expertise of librarians is increasingly employed in the private sector.

or this excerpt from Occupational Outlook :

Jobs for librarians outside traditional settings are expected to grow the fastest, as the expanding amount of information available continues to require professionals who can find, sort and process it. As a result, librarians increasingly are working for private corporations, nonprofit organizations and consulting firms.Others are becoming independent information professionals, also called information brokers, and setting up businesses to research and manage information for clients. 


Some job possibilities:

Some librarians are employed by vendors, publishers and consultants who provide goods and services to libraries;

Knowledge Management specialists capture knowledge, including and especially that which resides in the heads of people, and organize it in a way that makes it readily usable and shareable.

Information Architects design the conceptual structure and logical organization of websites, intranets and online communities.

Usability Engineer

Information Brokers provide a variety of research for clients. Specialties within the profession include market research and patent searches but but can include practically any type of information research.

Competitive Knowledge Analysis/Research


Database Administration

Systems Analyst/Administration

Chief Information Officer

Since 1937, the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) has been the society for information professionals leading the search for new and better theories, techniques, and technologies to improve access to information.



Dority, G. Kim. Rethinking information work: a career guide for librarians and other information professionals. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited, 2006.This book is rich in resources for planning a career in the field of library and information science. There are chapters that focus on more traditional careers – public, academic and school librarianship – with descriptions of job role possibilities, and a bibliography/Webliography of resources on traditional library careers. A section on the “non-traditional path” focuses on performing non-traditional roles within traditional library settings, library services outside of the library setting and creating your own position. Another chapter focuses on the “independent path,” explaining possibilities for contract work or starting your own research business, and how to get started on that path. The remaining chapters focus on career growth, planning and management. This book contains a lot of great resources for new librarians and career changers.

Gordon, Rachel Singer. What’s the alternative?: Career options for librarians and info pros. Medford, N.J.: Information Today, Inc., 2008.The author focuses on looking for non-traditional library and information science-related jobs. The chapters explore jobs in organizations that serve libraries; organizations similar to libraries such as publishers, non-profits and government agencies; performing freelance or consulting services; starting an information-related business; and working in IT, management and other roles that fit with an MLIS degree. 

McCook, Katherine de la Pena. Opportunities in Library and Information Science. McGraw-Hill, 2008.This book is an overview of the library and information science field, with descriptions of responsibilities of different roles of library and information science professionals, including opportunities for work in non-traditional settings. There is also discussion of practical aspects of LIS work such as continuing education, job hunting tips, and salaries, tenure, retirement and other benefits.

Shontz, Priscilla K. and Murray, Richard A. A day in the life: career options in library and information science. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited, 2007.More than 90 authors describe their unique jobs: what a typical workday is like, the pros and cons of different positions, how to find similar positions, and resources that correspond to those positions. The chapters are divided into categories by setting, industry or job type: public libraries, academic libraries, schools, special libraries, library consortia, publishing, associations and agencies, faculty, vendors and nontraditional.

Jassin, M. and Moe, T. (2005). The flat track to new career options for information professionals. Online 29(5), pp. 22-25.
This article considers how globalization has changed the information economy and discusses the impact on careers in LIS. A job profile explores how telecommuting might be one model for how librarians and information professionals can compete with emerging labor trends.


McFadden, L. (2008) The Not-So-Dark Side: An Out-of-Work Librarian Becomes a Vendor. American Libraries, 39(9), pp. 47.In this article an out-of-work corporate librarian shares her experience with having to make a career change after her position became eliminated. She discusses how her MLS degree helped her find work with a vendor and how her librarian skills have been helpful in her new position.