Corporate librarians can find work in a variety of industries. A limitless supply of information is now available to companies thanks to the Internet, but it demands a trained professional to sort, assess, and organize this data. Employment possibilities are excellent throughout the United States, but if you desire to work for a Fortune 500 company be prepared to relocate to a metropolitan area, such as New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles. Association or nonprofit work is more plentiful in Washington, D.C., or nearby Arlington, Virginia. Librarians hold about 134,800 jobs in the United States, with a relatively small percentage of these librarians working as corporate librarians.
It is almost impossible to be hired as a corporate librarian without an MLS or MLIS. However, students enrolled in an accredited program may be able get an internship, or part-time work as an assistant librarian. Having an undergraduate degree and solid work experience related to the interests of your potential employer is helpful. Contact your school's career services office for potential job leads; oftentimes companies rely on library schools for their recruitment needs. Do not forget to check the job boards section found at library association Web sites or job listings in library-related publications.
While new MLS graduates can land full-time positions, those without relevant work experience may have to start their careers as assistant librarians. A typical route of advancement would be to the position of director or manager of the library, overseeing a staff of less experienced librarians and nonprofessional workers such as clerical help. However, much depends on the size of the company and its library budget. It is not uncommon for smaller companies to have a library staff of one. Corporate librarians can also advance their career by transferring to larger companies with bigger libraries.
Some corporate librarians choose to become independent consultants in their area of specialty. Companies without the resources or constant need to have their own facility often turn to freelancers to manage special projects. A small communications firm may contract a consultant to research technology trends or identify sectors of industry. Associations may enlist outside help in organizing data for a newly designed Web site.
Tips for Entry
Volunteer at your school or local public library shelving books and performing other tasks.
Visit the Special Libraries Association and the American Library Association Web sites to find information on accredited education programs, curriculum, and scholarships and grants; read answers to career questions; or to locate a mentor.
Web sites such as those hosted by the American Association of Law Libraries or the Medical Library Association, can also provide career insight, job hotlines, salary surveys, and access to online discussion groups.
Take as many English, writing, and computer courses as possible while in school. Also participate in your school's debate or speech club.
Spend time using the Internet to do research on topics that interest you to hone your research skills.