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On Track with an Online MLIS

April 03, 2018 by Karen Grossman |

Photo inside of multistory library Today’s information specialist jobs are technology driven, rely on good people skills, require a master’s degree, and often benefit from a specialty. Think beyond the books. It’s a career that focuses on sharing information, and organizing and preserving data. Students can customize a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree to fit their interests at UNC Greensboro.

Customizable, online, and ALA accredited

MLIS is a 36-hour online degree program accredited by the American Library Association. With four core courses, students can complement their learning with electives as well as field experience opportunities. In lieu of a thesis, students complete a portfolio capstone project that can be shared with future employers

Students in the MLIS program can customize their degree in the following areas:

  • Archives or special collections
  • Cataloging
  • Children and youth
  • Digital collections
  • Instruction librarian, learning instructional design and information literacy
  • Public library certification

Online courses held at set times allow students to build interpersonal skills through teamwork and oral communication, necessary for developing social skills needed on the job.

The art of handling information

MLIS students learn how information is organized and stored, how people seek and use it, and how IT affects its use.

Students learn:

  • Cataloging
  • Networking with others for materials
  • Web technology
  • Digitizing and preserving information
  • Keeping, organizing, and storing data
  • Critical thinking and reasoning
  • Collection management, such as acquiring and identifying materials, funding, and weeding the collection

Use specific knowledge to your advantage

In library and information studies, having skills and knowledge in specific areas can be a plus. The MLIS program sees a lot of English, history, religion, and philosophy majors, but could use more in the science, tech, and business fields. For example, UNCG has a large nursing population, so it’s helpful to have an understanding of the information that population needs and what they are researching, says Dr. Nora Bird, associate professor and director of graduate studies for the Department of Library and Information Science (LIS).

The MLIS degree also allows students to work in a variety of settings, including special libraries.

Examples of special libraries include:

  • Corporate
  • Museum
  • Hospital
  • Law
  • National park
  • Performing arts
  • Military
  • Music
  • Prison
  • News

Keeping up with the times

Fast-changing technology has changed the field. The Internet has changed the information specialist’s role to include not only keeping, organizing, storing, and trusting data from the Web, but also teaching others how to use technology.

“Understanding how to preserve data is a new question that is challenging all of us,” says Dr. Lisa O’Connor, associate professor and chair of LIS.

What MLIS students should consider is that saving, preserving, and organizing is for other people to access the information, Bird says. Part of the job is to think of how to do that for other people.

“You’re not doing it for yourself. You’re doing it for other people,” she says.

This means you can’t choose only the things you think are worthy. “You can’t save what you think other people should have,” O’Connor says.

Many job possibilities

The MLIS prepares students for careers as information specialists in many public and private agencies and cultural organizations, including:

  • Public school librarian
  • Public librarian
  • Special librarian
  • Academic librarian
  • Archives librarian

Do you want the source on MLIS?

Learn more about the Master of Library and Information Science.


Photo by Tobias Fischer on Unsplash

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