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Industries & Professions /
Library and Information Services
Information is the tool by which we learn, make decisions, and answer questions or concerns that we face every day at work, at school, and in our personal lives. Professionals working in the library and information services industry help us organize and store information, and then provide guidance when it is necessary to retrieve and process the information.
Libraries play a key role in the information services industry. Libraries and information professionals help people sort through information and keep up with technology that continues to rapidly advance. Information professionals may work anywhere from traditional library settings to corporate offices to research institutes and information brokerages.
Elementary, middle, and high school library media specialists work with teachers in planning and determining resources to be included in the teaching curriculum. Academic libraries employ professionals who provide information services to millions of students enrolled in institutions of higher education: junior colleges, colleges, and universities. Librarians and support staff working in public libraries provide a variety of services for people of all ages.
Special libraries provide specialized information services to trade organizations, research laboratories, businesses, government agencies, art museums, hospitals, newspapers, publishers, and others. Many government services maintain special libraries, including the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, and the National Library of Agriculture, as well as some that support the executive branch and all branches of the armed forces.
The career of information professional encompasses not only librarians and information scientists but a variety of workers who organize, analyze, retrieve, and disseminate recorded knowledge. An increasing number of information professionals work as information brokers, providing information to clients for a fee. Rather than employing their own full-time specialists, businesses may hire outside individuals or companies to perform searches of computer databases and manual sources, to locate documents, to compile bibliographies, and to provide other information. As today's information society continues to expand, there will be more opportunities for work in these alternative settings.