University Libraries.

New Roles for Librarians

 The semester is coming to an end and many of you in the information science program are graduating. Some of us have a little more time, but either way, we are all looking for library jobs! The Dewey Graduate Library has a good supply of resources for IST students looking for jobs , but what kind of positions areout there? There are plenty of traditional jobs. Instructional and reference librarians, public library positions, archivist jobs, school library media specialists, it is relatively common to see postings floating around with these titles. But there are new and exciting positions cropping up amongst the job ads. Librarianship is stepping into a new realm as technology and society evolve, so positions are appearing to fill these new needs. Some of these positions include:


Data Librarian: We live in a world of big data. Everyone collects it. Facebook, businesses, researchers; even supermarkets collect data on their customers. So in comes the data librarian,who can help people learn data literacy skills, assist business owners seeking market data, give students a hand running statistics for a project, or even encouraging fellow librarians to use infographics and other data-visualization tools for communicating with the public. Data librarianship is a burgeoning field and is even developing a large online community. Interested in finding out more? Check out Databrarians, a blog by and for data librarians. 


User Experience Librarian: Maybe big data isn’t your thing.  Are you more service-oriented? Maybe you look at your library and think that the user experience could be improved. That’s exactly what the user experience librarian does. By studying usage patterns and other aspects of the library, a user experience librarian can implement changes to improve the library for the better. Maybe students want more desktops available. Or maybe they want laptops to check out and use wherever they want? Or your library users could want something as simple as more comfortable chairs for sitting and studying. As a user experience librarian it would be your job to watch, listen, and learn to turn your library into a more pleasant place for everyone. 


Digital Scholarship Librarian: Digital scholarship; scholarship using or about digital technology. This can include open source technology and/or publishing, working with digitized or born digital information, and helping to legitimize them as reliable sources of information. Digital scholarship librarians work with students and faculty to make use of these new and emerging scholarly technologies, including on projects like institutional repositories and advocating for open source technologies. These types of positions often require a good knowledge of copyright issues as well as the ability to keep up with digital technology. 


E-Learning Librarian: MOOCs, webinars, online classes, and distance learning are all expanding rapidly in the educational realm and universities are adopting more and more of these techniques and technologies to the point where many are hiring a librarian expressly to assist faculty, students, and other librarians with managing and navigating the complex digital spaces of online classes. These positions require a good degree of people skills as well as technological savvy as e-learning librarians often work very closely with faculty as they develop their online courses, and students as they try to work their way through them. E-learning librarians may also be tasked with creating their own classes to teach information literacy, soknowledgeof instruction is important. 


Non-Library Positions:Libraries aren’t the only places looking to make use of librarians. Many businesses deal with, or in, information on a scale far beyond the average person’s abilityto manage and are looking for librarians to help deal with their information overload. Some businesses, like tech start-up Saent, are attempting to get ahead of the information overload and hiring librarians. Others will follow suit, it’s only a matter of time. The Saent position specifically asks for someone who can help build a company library of their internal information as well as provide traditional reference services and research assistance for their employees and community base. It’s good to know that the business world is beginning to see the value of the skills we learn in library school.  


There are a lot of new librarian positions appearing, and those listed above are just a few. If you need help sorting through the information,please stop in or contact the reference desk by email at or by phone at (518) 442-3691. 

Blog post created by Alex Hoag
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