When you hear the word librarian, most people think of an elderly man or woman who arranges the index cards, sorts books on the shelves and admonishes them to calm down over the edge of their glasses. An idea that has long been out of date. Because the information age has long since found its way into libraries. Databases and online catalogs have replaced index cards and books are no longer only available in paper form, but also digitally. As a result of this change , librarians have become specialists in databases and search engines . As before, it is also part of her job to encourage people to enjoy reading and to make the knowledge gathered in the libraries accessible to everyone.
The subject of library and information science
The change in the professional profile of the librarian can also be seen in the courses. In recent years the study of library science has evolved into a study of library and information science. It includes content from the following areas :
- Media studies
- Computer science
- Business administration
In the bachelor’s degree, students learn how to catalog and classify books and digital media . To do this, they deal with search engines, operating systems and databases in the information technology part of the course . You get to know programming languages and also create websites yourself. In the media studies part of the course, on the other hand, lectures in media studies or book history are on the curriculum. Students learn how to evaluate the quality of media and choose the right media for their readers. In the business administration part of the course, students deal with economic aspects of library management. Contents are about Personnel management , marketing or cost and performance accounting. In most courses, students can specialize in the higher semesters, for example in communication skills or information technology.
If you want to work as a librarian in the higher public service later , you have to add a master’s degree to the bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree is also generally expected for management positions in the private sector . The master’s courses offer the possibility of further specialization . As in the bachelor’s degree, you can choose from areas such as information management, business administration or media studies.
Study opportunities for library and information science
According to Microedu, the study of library and information science is offered at universities and technical colleges . The courses at universities of applied sciences are often characterized by a higher degree of practical relevance. Depending on the university, the content of the courses can be very different . For example, some place great value on business content, while others focus on modern information technology or the communication of media. Some of the master’s courses are designed as part-time courses or distance learning courses. In contrast, the bachelor’s degree programs are mostly restricted in admission . In recent years, the NC has been between 1.9 and 2.6, depending on the university. (Stand 2013).
What requirements should I meet for this degree?
Prospective students must bring good grades on their Abitur certificate or plan a longer waiting period. A love of books is not enough for studying either. Basic mathematical and technological understanding is required for the information technology content . Also, interest in business issues is desirable. Another requirement is a good command of English. The students need this in order to understand the technical literature, some of which is in English.
Most library and information science graduates aspire to the profession of librarian. When employed in the public sector , they work in public libraries, school libraries and archives, and government libraries. With the master’s degree, a career in the higher public service is also an option. Scientific libraries, university libraries, documentation centers and museum libraries also depend on well-trained librarians. The classic tasks of a librarian include advising and researching, purchasing media and planning media educational programs and exhibitions. New fields of work such as maintaining online catalogs, data processing or working on digital and virtual libraries.
In the economy , for example, librarians are employed in the company libraries of large companies. The employer often depends on the choice of a second subject or previous studies or previous training. Librarians who have studied biology or chemistry in their first or second degree can work in the archives of pharmaceutical companies or clinics. Graduates with a first degree or a second subject in computer science are also popular in the private sector. But even without a further degree in computer science, graduates of a degree in library and information science can work in software companies , online shops, with providers of search engines or as a social media expert.
Advantages of studying abroad
One or more semesters at a foreign university offer prospective librarians a number of advantages :
- Students get the unique opportunity to get an insight into the library system of another country and thus to further develop themselves professionally .
- You train your language skills during a stay abroad .
- You will acquire important intercultural competencies and soft skills , such as the ability to work in international teams, organizational skills and flexibility.