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Published: July 12, 2011


A professional library manager, whose training requires a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in library science. The primary duties of a librarian include selecting, ordering, purchasing, cataloging and maintaining books and audiovisual materials and controlling their circulation. In addition, librarians must purchase and maintain ancillary equipment such as computers, mechanical handling equipment, shelving and storage facilities. They must oversee short-term and long-term building maintenance, manage fund-raising efforts and community service programs and serve as liaisons with the public, with educators, with school authorities and with teachers and their students. Technological advances have extended their work to include evaluation and purchase of rights to access databases via the Internet and CD-ROM networks. They must not only be proficient in using on-line services and the Internet, they must be able to assist users in understanding and using on-line resources. The need for such technological skills have lifted starting salaries of school librarians considerably, from the $20,000-to-$30,000 range in the late 1980s to the $40,000-to-$50,000 range by 2005.
Once little more than clerical work, librarianship grew more complex in the late 19th century with the expansion in the number of printed books and periodicals that became available with the growth of industry. MELVIL DEWEY established the first training school for librarians at Columbia University in 1887. McGill University in Montreal started a Graduate School of Library Science in 1904 but did not begin granting a B.L.S. degree until 1931— spurred largely by criticism from the CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING that library training schools emphasized clerical training at the expense of the professional aspects of librarianship. Since then, as electronic information began doubling by the hour in the first decade of the century, studies in librarianship and library science have expanded into the broad field of information. Former schools of library science now call themselves schools of information, with their graduates assuming the title of information specialist rather than librarian. Studies for a degree in information technology now include publishing history, circulation, reference work, technical services (acquisition, cataloging, binding and preservation), library architecture and design, computer systems analysis, electronic publishing, and telecommunication and computer networks. More than 120 colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in library science. Librarians at larger academic libraries usually have a master’s degree in library science and often a second master’s degree in an academic discipline such as science, music, literature or business to allow them to bring a greater depth of knowledge to collections within their libraries. Directors of large academic and public libraries usually have doctorates.