Ask TangognaT: getting a master’s degree in library science

Zach from KY wrote:
I am thinking of obtaining a graduate degree in library science, and was wondering if this degree will actually help me go up in the ranks in an actual library, and asking you since you work in one and would probably know. Just wondering.
What college(s) did you go to?

Getting a master’s degree in library science is pretty much required if you want a job above a staff position in most libraries. So I think it would be a necessity if you want to be promoted above a certain level in an actual library. That being said, be aware that even though librarian positions pay more than staff positions, in most cases you won’t be getting paid big money to be a librarian. I started out in the low 30s for my first job out of grad school. I work in an academic library and I only have a master’s degree in library science — many academic librarians actually have 2 master’s degrees, one in library science and one in a different subject area. I think it is great that you’re considering going to grad school, my one word of caution would be to try to manage it without having to take out a ton of student loans, because loans can be tough to pay off on a typical librarian’s salary.

I went to a community college, and then I transferred to a private liberal arts college in Michigan. For my library science degree, I went to the University of Illinois. UIUC’s GSLIS was pretty much my first and only choice (although I applied and got into a couple other places) because I was a state resident so tuition was cheap, and when I got an assistanship working in the University library system my tuition was waived and I was able to get my degree with no student loans. And it is an excellent school, so that was a bonus!

You might want to look at some sites like LIScareer and ALA’s Careers in Libraries page.