As you can imagine, a degree in library and information science is not easy. Then again, you’ve never been one to walk away from a challenge, have you? Today’s libraries are more than the backdrop of the Breakfast Club; they are interactive hubs providing a foundation for global exploration making critical-thinking, patience, and perceptiveness a must. So, doesn’t it seem more efficient to master these skills while you earn your library science degree abroad? With the world at your fingertips, you’ll become a pro at making sense of the unfamiliar and you’ll have a blast doing it!
Why Earn a Degree Abroad
The age of information has its drawbacks. Most of the world has access to more information than ever before and identifying what is useful or relevant makes the Dewey Decimal system look like a walk in the park. As the world becomes more interconnected, library science careers will serve broader, more diverse groups of people, and earning a degree abroad will undoubtedly prepare you for that. After all, the world is a book, and those who don’t travel...well, you know the rest.
Adaptation is the motif of travel, and as library science becomes increasingly more competitive, you’ll certainly stand out by venturing to a new country. An international library science degree is powerful because it shows employers that you have the drive to dig deeper than most (take that, “in-state Stacy”). Plus, if you’re thinking about the possibilities of a library science career abroad, which you totally should, having international education experience will provide greater resources and a wider network of people that can help make your dreams come true.
Libraries are no longer restricted by national borders. Reference librarians, database managers, information analysts, consultants, and all other library science careers will need to adopt global perspectives as the world’s knowledge becomes more collective. Are you convinced yet? Don’t make us pull the manic-pixie-dream card, because we will if we have to; embrace the world and all its mysteries for yourself.
Library and information science degrees are highly specialized, yet can be found on nearly every corner of the globe. If you’re able to read this, then you’re going to be just fine, as a vast majority of Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and American Library Association (ALA) accredited degree programs based are in English-speaking countries.
The United Kingdom is a particularly popular destination among undergraduate and graduate library science degree seeking students. From England to Scotland to Wales, you’ll have easy access to the rest of Europe while studying at some of the oldest universities in the world. Have you seen pictures of libraries in the UK?! The island across the pond is practically the only place in the world with library-centric tourism. Just picture yourself studying where history itself was written or visiting the Game of Thrones sets on the weekends, because both can invoke a profound breathlessness. Arguably the most multicultural European region, the UK offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience a wealth of diverse perspectives, and even an apprenticeship program, that are difficult to come by anywhere else.
If you’re looking to break “the Librarian” archetype, the Oceania region may be perfect for your library science degree abroad. From the coasts of Australia to the awe-inspiring landscapes of New Zealand, you’ll be able to fill your time in between classes with surfing, scuba diving, or maybe even a canyon swing or two. For a region with a relatively small population, the choices in potential institutions for your information science degree are astounding. The long plane ride will be a great opportunity to finally finish that book too. Despite their distant geographic location, these areas offer an amazingly cosmopolitan experience while maintaining a flair for their unique cultures.
With most of the accredited library and information science degree programs located in the United States, you’ll have the opportunity to study at some of the most prominent colleges in the world and experience that infamous American college life. Whether you are looking for an undergraduate or a graduate library science degree, many of the best-ranked schools for the field are located in the U.S. Since many American schools are part of much larger university systems, the library resources you’ll have at your disposal will be expansive. Trust us, there’s a lot more to the States than cheeseburgers and New York City’s skyscrapers.
Looking for more of a plot twist? You can always earn your library science degree outside an English-speaking country, such as Spain or India. You’ll have fewer program options, yet greater opportunities for cultural immersion, which is probably the best part of any education abroad! Just don’t be surprised if your database management class is followed by language instruction. A bilingual librarian? How impressive.
Library Science Degree Programs
Earning your library and information science degree abroad will prepare you for a life dedicated to the pursuit of learning, which is good because you’re going to be doing a lot of that. Most library science professions require some sort of post-baccalaureate degree and a master’s degree will maximize both your career opportunities and caffeine intake.
Undergraduate degrees in information science focus on media and technological trends through various communications and business courses. This will put you on track for almost any accredited graduate program, which will allow you to participate in a more experiential, individualized curriculum that will include research, data, and organizational management courses. Undergraduate library science degree programs are justly research-oriented, and a thesis is almost a given. Thank goodness coffee exists everywhere, right?
Although professions are concentrated within academic or public institutions, a library science masters degree can take you far beyond the bookshelfs. Wine Librarian? Geographic Informations Systems Specialist? Rare Collections Manager? Sounds like quiet hours are over. If you can name it, then you can turn it into your speciality. Library and information science careers are also becoming more commonplace in corporate environments, meaning your skills can easily sway between an information desk and an executive desk. If you’re eyeing top-shelf jobs in library administration, a Ph.D or doctorate degree may be your best bet.
Library and information science careers require a strong academic background, so accredited degree programs will ensure your credits continue to transfer as you progress through your degree. The modern librarian is a leader, being able to inspire and empower others. Information centers are no longer quiet halls riddled with disinterest. The new era of librarianship is like a good book: it’s interactive, thought-provoking, and can take you anywhere in the world, especially with a main character like yourself.
Benefits & Challenges
One of the many tasks library and information science professionals will take on in their career is purchasing new resources for their workplaces. Getting your library science degree abroad will expose you to a whole new world of publications and information that will broaden the scope of what you can literally bring to the table. Foreign universities may introduce new organizational methods that will allow you to innovate and evaluate systems you encounter throughout your library science career, too.
While you’ll cherish the experiences, students will have some hurdles to overcome like with any degree abroad. Being away from your friends, family, and Chipotle can be a difficult adjustment for almost anybody, but staying in touch may be easier than you think.
Depending on the length of time abroad and your desired country, you may need to acquire a visa. As mentioned earlier, many library science careers require advanced degrees, which can be both rewarding and challenging. Regarding accreditation, some international library and information science degrees will need to be approved or evaluated for equivalency prior to employment in your home country. Basically, it’s just very important to do your research (your soon-to-be forte).
Remember those choose-your-own-adventure books? They’re not always fiction. As you enter the next chapter of your education, you can choose to earn your library and information science degree while experiencing new cultures and cultivating global friendships. No one said the book worm can’t catch the travel bug, and with an industry as global as information science, why cite your sources when you can go see them for yourself?