Beyond the Typical Path

What if you love the study of library science, love the activities involved with library science, but aren't thrilled with the prospect of becoming a reference librarian or cataloger?

All library positions have been altered by the advent of e-communications and by the widening of the profession to encompass all aspects of organizing, processing, using, and analyzing information. But some job titles, like "New Media Librarian" and "Information Broker" are clearly more "alternative." This page exists to help you navigate those alternative career options both within and without libraries.

MLIS Advisory Council's findings

The MLIS Advisory Council, comprised of professionals in typical and non-typical library careers, compiled a list of "alternative" career areas. Do any sound interesting to you?

Vendor-related positions

If you enjoy using a variety of products and services, and like helping other people do the same, consider:

  • Sales positions (where clientele includes librarians)
  • Tech/Customer Support 
  • Research & Development
  • Book publishers (e.g. editing, indexing)
  • Training
  • Web/software development 
  • Product development and design
  • Indexers/abstractors

Positions in business

If you enjoy researching and distilling information, put those skills to work in a business career:

  • Business analysts
  • Market research
  • Research analyst
  • Competitive intelligence (analysts, collection expert, manager)
  • Project management
  • Product management (specifically content or online database or software)

Social justice and non-profit

If you enjoying using information sources in support of underserved, neglected or abused demographics, consider working in the non-profit industry. The democratic nature of information transparency is key to these positions.

  • Awareness coordinator
  • Communication director
  • Grant researchers
  • Social Worker (possibly with a dual professional degree)


If you enjoy researching funding sources and donors and presenting information in a user-friendly way, think about professional fundraising:

  • Grant researchers 
  • Grant writers
  • Development officers

Blended librarians

If you enjoy traditional librarianship and want to combine that with technology, think about blended librarian positions:

  • Tech support
  • eLearning specialists
  • Web/software developers
  • Virtual librarian (answer questions via web, e.g. Google)
  • Instructional designers

Information technology

If you excel at organizing data, understanding its us and have experience using technology, IT could be a good field for you:

  • Database designers
  • Web site developers
  • Content managers
  • Search engine optimization specialists
  • Information architects
  • Usability specialists
  • Taxonomists


If you enjoy tracking down information, think about a career in investigation:

  • Background checker
  • Executive recruiting firms
  • Investigative journalist
  • Desk PI (assist private investigators or work for law firms or PI firms)
  • CIA/FBI analyst 


If you want to use your skills of high-level reading comprehension, consider the publishing world:

  • Journalist
  • Editor (magazine, book, university/college administration, non-profit etc)