Library and Information Science Instructors
There are approximately 5,700 library science educators employed in the United States. Library and information science instructors work for colleges and universities that have library science or information science degree programs. With a doctorate, a number of publications, and a record of good teaching, professors should find opportunities in universities all across the country. Library and information science instructors teach in undergraduate and graduate programs. The teaching jobs at doctoral institutions are usually better paying and more prestigious. The most sought-after positions are those that offer tenure. Library science teachers who have only a master's degree will be limited to opportunities with junior colleges, community colleges, and some small private institutions.
You should start the process of finding a teaching position while you are in graduate school. The process includes developing a curriculum vitae (a detailed, academic resume), writing for publication, assisting with research, attending conferences, and gaining teaching experience and recommendations. Many students begin applying for teaching positions while finishing their graduate program. For most positions at four-year institutions, you must travel to large conferences where interviews can be arranged with representatives from the universities to which you have applied.
To learn more about potential employers, you should visit the American Library Association's Web site (http://www.ala.org) for a list of schools that have library science programs. The Association for Library and Information Science Education also offers job listings at its Web site, https://www.alise.org. Additionally, job listings can be found in the Chronicle of Higher Education (https://chronicle.com).
Because of the competition for tenure-track positions, you may have to work for a few years in temporary positions, finding employment at various schools as an adjunct professor.
The normal pattern of advancement is from instructor to assistant professor, to associate professor, to full professor. All four academic ranks are concerned primarily with teaching and research. Library science educators who have an interest in and a talent for administration may be advanced to chair of their department or to dean of their college. A few become college or university presidents or other types of administrators.
The instructor is usually an inexperienced college teacher. He or she may hold a doctorate or may have completed all the Ph.D. requirements except for the dissertation. Most colleges look upon the rank of instructor as the period during which the college is trying out the teacher. Instructors usually are advanced to the position of assistant professors within three to four years. Assistant professors are given up to about six years to prove themselves worthy of tenure, and if they do so, they become associate professors. Some professors choose to remain at the associate level. Others strive to become full professors and receive greater status, salary, and responsibilities.
Most colleges have clearly defined promotion policies from rank to rank for faculty members, and many have written statements about the number of years in which instructors and assistant professors may remain in grade. Administrators in many colleges hope to encourage younger faculty members to increase their skills and competencies and thus to qualify for the more responsible positions of associate professor and full professor.
Tips for Entry
Subscribe to the Chronicle of Higher Education (https://chronicle.com) to learn about trends in higher education and to access job listings.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings: https://ali.memberclicks.net/alise-job-placement and https://joblist.ala.org/.
Conduct information interviews with college professors and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field.
Read the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science (https://www.alise.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=445) to learn more about the field.