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Wednesday, April 11, 2012


By Usha Albuquerque
If you love browsing about in book stores looking for something interesting to read and your hobby is to curl up with a good book, library science is where you get paid to do just that. Books are available in all shapes and sizes, periodicals, newspapers, and so on have filled shelf upon shelf of libraries across the world. But the traditional concept of a library is being redefined, from a place to access paper records or books, to one which also houses the most advanced media, including CD-ROM, the Internet, virtual libraries, and remote access to a wide range of resources.

Library science is an information science, providing the means to manage the explosion in knowledge and information, utilising the new technology to collect, store, categorise, compile, and make information available to larger and larger numbers of people.

Librarians select materials, organise those materials and help people use them effectively. Although librarians traditionally worked with printed resources, they have kept up with ever-evolving technology and now work with electronic resources that include the Internet, computerised databases and ebooks. Librarians are, therefore, also referred to as information professionals, and the field of work is library and information science.

There are different kinds of libraries depending upon the individuals to which these are catering to. Various kinds of libraries are public, reference, children's libraries and those attached to offices and institutions of both private and public sector organisations. These could include a mobile-lending library. There are also specialist libraries attached to the research and academic institutions that cater to specific readers in specific subjects such as medicine, engineering, art, music, or types of books such as Braille or collections for children. Newspaper and news agencies maintain indexed records of their own work and reference material. Foreign missions in different cities set up information centres to promote an understanding of their country's culture.

Work profile

The most important function of a library is to organise, acquire and disseminate information. Some tasks of librarians are to:

n select and purchase materials from publishers, wholesalers and distributors, classify them according to subject matter

n organise and arrange books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and other materials in a way that users can easily find them.

n show users how to efficiently search for information on the Internet and in other online resources;

n supervise assistants who prepare cards, computer records, or other access tools that direct users to resources;

n read book reviews and publishing catalogues to stay updated about recent literature and academic resources.

n keep a constant track of all the books in the library, update catalogues, and stock the library with new books as soon as they arrive.

n In technical libraries, librarians may be required to determine the user's needs, and search, acquire, if necessary and prepare materials for use.

n coordinate programmes such as story-telling for children, and literacy skills and book talks for adults;

n preserve documents through computerised systems, enhancing and refreshing content, and making it available on-line and digitally.

Librarians in administrative services oversee the management and planning of libraries, they negotiate contracts for services, materials, and equipment, supervise library employees, perform public-relations and fund-raising duties, prepare budgets, and direct activities to ensure that everything functions properly.


You can take up a course in library science after study in any field of discipline. Some courses in Library and Information Science include:

n Certificate course in Library and Information science (CLISc or CLIB) 3-6 months.

Eligibility: Plus II.

n Diploma course in Library and Information Science (DLISC or DLIB) 1-year. Eligibility: Plus II. 

n Bachelor in Library and information science (BLISC or B.LIB) 1-year.

Eligibility: Graduate in any discipline from recognised university

n Bachelor in Library and Information Science - 3-year.

Eligibility: Plus II.

n Master in Library and information Science (MLISC or M.LIB) 1-year.

Eligibility: BLISc or B.LIB from recognised university.

n M.Phil in Library and Information science.

Eligibility: MLISC or M.LIB from a recognised university

n Ph.D in library and Information Science.

Eligibility: MLISC from a recognised university

Most state universities offer courses in library science at the graduate, postgraduate, certificate and diploma levels. In view of the increasing use of computer and information technology in libraries, several universities in India have started various courses focusing primarily on information technology and computer.

NISCAIR under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi, conducts a two-year programme leading to the award of Associateship in Information Science (AIS).

The Documentations Research and Training Centre (DRTC) at the Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore offers Associateship in Documentation and Information Science (ADIS).This award is also recognised as equivalent to MLISc degree, and is widely sought after in the employment market.

The National Informatics Centre funded by UGC offers a one-year training programme for library science graduates in technology and e-content management.


Depending on your level of training you can work as a Librarian, Documentation Officer, Scientist (Library Science/ Documentation), Library and Information Officer, Knowledge Manager, Information Analyst, and so on, with any category of libraries, including libraries of government organisations and agencies, public libraries, as well as with those in schools, colleges and academic institutions.

Librarians are also recruited for information brokerage services, archival work at universities, private collection, photo/film libraries, media organisations, and with software companies for research and content management.


Starting salaries in this field can range from Rs 10,000 - 40,000 depending on your qualification. Research and academic institution such as the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and others offer good opportunities for trained professionals, with salary scales similar to those applicable to scientific staff.

Skill set

While a love for books is a pre-requisite in this career, you also need to be methodical and organised in your thinking, resourceful, perservering and computer literate. A curiosity and an interest in a wide variety of subjects are other useful personal qualities that can ensure your growth in this vast world of information.


n National Institute of Science Communication & Information Resources (NISCAIR- formerly INSDOC), New Delhi

n Documentation Research and Training Centre (DRTC), Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore

n Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra (BLISc, MLISc, Ph.D)

n Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar (BLISc , MLISc, Ph.D)

n Punjabi University, Patiala (DLSc, BLISc , MLISc, Ph.D)

n University of Rajasthan, Jaipur (BLISc and Documentation, MLISc and Documentation, Ph.D)

n Panjab University, Chandigarh

n University of Jammu, Jammu (BLISc, MLISc, Ph.D)

n Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi.


n Public/government libraries

n Libraries of ministries and other government departments

n Universities and other academic institutions

n News agencies and organisations

n Private organisations and special libraries

n Publishing companies

n Foreign embassies and international organisations

n Photo/film/ video/ TV libraries

n Information centres/documentation centres

n Organisations with large information handling requirements

n Research organisations such as CSIR, DRDO, ICSSR, ICHR, ICMR, ICAR

n Museums and galleries having reading rooms and research facilities 

— The writer is a career expert

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