Jobs with a PhD in Library Science

Jan 16, 2021

Earning a PhD in library science often indicates that a student has a desire to teach at the postsecondary level or gain more specialized knowledge in some specific aspect of library science. However, students also may be interested in learning about what other types of careers may be open to them with a doctoral degree in this field. Below, five careers are discussed for which individuals with a PhD in library science are eligible.

Career Possibilities with a PhD in Library Science

Job Title Median Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2019-2029)*
Postsecondary Library Science Professor $71,410 3%
Academic Librarian $64,750 5% (for all librarians)
Archivist $53,950 8%
Computer and Information Systems Manager $146,360 10%
Special Librarians $58,140 (for information librarians) 5% (for all librarians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Graduates with a PhD in Library Science

Postsecondary Library Science Professor

One common career path for students who obtain a PhD degree in library science is that of a professor at a college or university. As a professor of library science, you will be responsible for conducting courses for students in undergraduate or graduate programs that cover topics within the library science field. This generally entails lecturing, assigning homework, and grading students based off of their performance in the course. Professors may also be responsible for mentoring students or acting as an advisor to them as they plan what courses to take and what type of career to pursue. Additionally, you may be engaged in some research depending on the type of institution that you work for and what topics you are interested in studying.

Academic Librarian

Some universities or colleges may require that in order to work as a librarian at their institution, an applicant must possess a PhD. As an academic librarian, you will be responsible for helping students and faculty members conduct research using the library's resources and facilities. You will also likely be in charge of making sure that the library remains organized and for helping develop and manage the various databases that the library may use to keep track of all its materials. Depending on your specific role, some of your other responsibilities may include building and managing the library's collection, teaching classes on how to use the library, and making sure the library's technology remains up-to-date.


As an archivist, you will be responsible for making sure that different types of important documents and other resources are properly cared for and preserved. Students who pursue a PhD in library science may be well-suited for this type of position, as they will have an advanced understanding of how to best manage these types of resources and may have also focused their doctoral studies on a specific aspect of library science that may be particularly relevant to the career of an archivist. For example, some archivists may specialize in working with one type of record, like written records or sound recordings, while others may focus on a specific time-period in history.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

Another career option for individuals who have a PhD in library science is that of a computer and information systems manager. Given that PhD degrees in this field prepare students for careers that require a high-level of organization, research, and working with information, this job may be a good fit for graduates who have a particular interest in organizational computing systems and technology. In this role, individuals will be responsible for assessing the computing and technology needs of a company or business. There are a number of different types of computer and information systems managers, like chief information officers and chief technology officers. Graduates of PhD programs in library science may be well-suited to either role.

Special Librarian

Unlike academic librarians, who typically work for universities or colleges, special or information librarians may work in a number of different industries for many different employers. For example, a medical librarian will likely work in a healthcare research setting in which they will help students, patients, and healthcare professionals learn how to access information that may be relevant to their research or critical to better understanding their health. A law librarian may work closely with lawyers by providing them with research that helps build legal cases. At the corporate level, librarians assist companies with a variety of tasks, like conducting research and finding information.

In summary of the information discussed above, holders of a PhD in library science are eligible for a number of careers outside of being a traditional librarian, including opportunities in teaching and research.

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