Special Librarianship | School of Information | Kent State University

Special Librarianship

What Is It?

‍Special libraries offer unique opportunities to work in a specialized environment of interest, such as corporations, hospitals, the military, museums, private businesses, and the government. Special libraries can serve particular populations, such as the blind and physically handicapped, while others are dedicated to special collections, such as the Library of Congress or a presidential library. (Source: American Library Association)

A library established and funded by a commercial firm, private association, government agency, nonprofit organization, or special interest group to meet the information needs of its employees, members, or staff in accordance with the organization's mission and goals. The scope of the collection is usually limited to the interests of the host organization. (Source: Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science)  

What Can I Do With This Background?

Indexing/abstracting, competitor intelligence, strategic information, knowledge management. Employers: Large hospitals, medical schools, law firms, law schools, bar associations, large corporations, industrial and scientific collections, research labs, local, state and federal government agencies, nonprofit organizations, public libraries, colleges and universities, art schools, museums and art institutions, prisons, galleries, historical societies, publishing houses, advertising and public relations agencies, news organizations and electronic media, picture services, motion picture studios, television stations, trade and professional associations.  

In Addition to the Required Core Courses, What Classes Should I Take?

Key electives for this specialization include:

  • 60614 Selection and Acquisition of Library Materials
  • 60616 The Special Library
  • 60649 Indexing and Abstracting

For additional course options for this specialization, please consult with your academic advisor.  

What Professional Organizations Are Relevant to This Career Path?