What Is Library & Information Science?

Library and information science is a meta-discipline, spanning what are considered traditional academic research disciplines (e.g., economics, biology, history, etc.). The theories and practices in library and information science are applied across disciplines. They are varied and many.

Some of the duties performed by information professionals include, but are in no way limited to, the following:  

  • Curate collections for groups, whether local public populations, engineers building cars, or scholars in universities.
  • Educate people on the availability and applicability of information resources.
  • Organize information for more effective and efficient access and discovery.
  • Preserve our cultural heritage.
  • Present and make accessible the various collections of information.
  • Build and manage information retrieval systems using user-centered design principles.
  • Prepare our youth to become better scholars and citizens, and help them develop a long-standing productive relationship with information and knowledge.
  • Study information needs and seeking behavior to develop better services for various groups.
  • Consider the ethical and philosophical issues related to information, such as access and privacy.
  • Manage and improve information environments.
  • Facilitate the creation and sharing of information and knowledge with people and communities.

What Can I Do With This Background?

Job titles for library and information science professionals can vary widely, depending on competencies required, type or size of organization, geographic location, and so on. For more information, explore the various specializations offered at Kent State iSchool. And keep in mind, your future job may be one for which a title doesn't yet exist!

What Courses Do I Have to Take?

The iSchool at Kent State offers several career paths for individuals interested in becoming a library and information science professional. Course requirements will depend on your educational objectives and career goals. You can explore this further on the LIS Degree Options page.

What Professional Organizations Are Relevant to This Career Path?

Because the library and information science field is so broad, the best professional organization for your career path may be a large national or international association, such as one of those listed below, or a smaller, more specialized group that addresses your specific interests, such as those found the career resources page on this site. Below are three of the most widely known and largest professional organizations for this field: