The number of visitors to your neighbourhood library may have come down in recent years but a career in Library and Information Sciences has not lost its sheen yet. “Today we may see B.E. graduates sitting jobless, but not MLIS graduates. Thanks to the Information Technology (IT) revolution, career opportunities for the Master in Library and Information Science (MLIS) graduates have increased manifold in various sectors including science and technology, IT, management and academics,” said S.L. Sangam, Chairman, Department of Library and Information Science, Karnatak University, Dharwad (KUD).
The very concept of a library has changed over the years and it's not just about a room full of books anymore. The job of the librarian too is not just confined to cataloguing and maintaining books. Application of technology, computerisation, digitalisation and other developments has turned the job of a librarian into a highly professionalised and skilled work that demands qualified and well-trained professionals. No institute, organisation or company can ever imagine running without a library. The IT revolution has also created a demand for professionals disseminating the information. A talented MSIL graduate can aspire for a high-profile job not inferior to any engineering or management professional.
Moreover, MSIL is an economical course compared with others and helpful to the students of all walks of life. “The total expenditure for two years hardly crosses Rs. 20,000. Even the highest fee fixed for the general category is Rs. 5,000. A student can easily recover this money with his first salary itself after completing the course. Today the pay scale starts in the range of Rs. 25,000-50,000 based on the merit. The pay package of some of my students has even crossed Rs. 1 lakh per month after a few years of experience,” he said. Though it has taken the form of a professional course, admission for MLIS is open for graduates of any discipline. Earlier, it was dominated by B.Sc. graduates. But BCA and BBA students are opting for this course more, thanks to the demand in the IT and management sector.
MLIS graduates with a science background get gainful employment in science and technology institutions, national laboratories, National Aeronautics Limited (NAL), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), ISRO, DRDO and other such institutes where they can join as Scientist B grade employees, equivalent to the assistant professor grade in any university. The job includes data analysis and dissemination of information.
Job opportunities have multiplied in the IT sector where reputed firms including Tata Consultancy Service, Wipro, Infosys and Reliance recruit MLIS graduates. The management sector too offers good career opportunities. Moreover, firms in both the sectors going for head hunting helps the talented candidates get handsome pay packages coupled with other facilities. Candidates with basic knowledge, keen interest, hard-working nature and keeping abreast with the latest developments and happenings climb the ladder of success quickly, Prof. Sangam said.
Opportunities in academia too have increased mainly due to the growing investment in the education sector. While the State universities and colleges offer jobs in their libraries, private universities and higher education institutes coming up in the country have opened up new avenues. Even a candidate opting for research under the University Grant Commission's Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) gets a monthly stipend of Rs. 25,000 plus other allowances. A Ph.D. holder gets a minimum of Rs. 40,000 monthly salary in different sectors.
Private higher educational institutes appoint experienced persons with an excellent pay package. Heavy investment in the education sector in the Gulf countries too has created opportunities for Indian candidates. A good number of MLIS graduates from India work in many universities and other institutes in the Gulf, Prof. Sangam said.
High demand is seen for the MLIS course at KUD as it has received 150 applications for 30 seats. This despite fixing the test fee at Rs. 500 per candidate. The total intake was 20 but it has been increased from this year.
The latest trend is the entry of women into this predominantly male-dominated area. The present male-female student ratio is 50:50.