Choi and Rasmussen’s study shaped library science degree programs. They concluded digital libraries must be “collaborative in areas that range from computing systems to traditional library functions.”
In addition, they listed important digital librarian tasks: management, leadership, and trend analysis. Overall, Choi and Rasmussen determined digital librarian degree programs must focus on two areas: gaining skills/competencies, such as communication skills and trend analysis, and developing technical/information skills for a complete understanding of digital libraries.
Today, prospective and current librarians considering becoming digital librarians should apply for the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business Master of Management in Library and Information Science degree. Unlike other library science degrees, USC’s MMLIS “is designed to create library leaders for the 21st century” and teaches management strategies to help digital librarians define themselves as leaders. USC’s MMLIS degree is “the nation’s only library science degree program to be offered through a leading school of business,” making it the right choice for future digital librarians.
Upon earning your MMLIS degree, you will be a successful digital librarian. But, what does a digital librarian do? Recent studies, including those by Chimezie Uzuegbu and Terry Weech, define the responsibilities of digital librarians and build upon Choi and Rasmussen’s ideas.
Key Responsibilities of a Digital Librarian
Bridging the gap between high-tech and low-tech
Library collections remain diverse as technology changes. Digital librarians respect that some patrons want traditional books and archives, while others want materials delivered to their smart devices. Digital librarians must plant one foot in the manual end of the library and the other in the automated end of the library.
Utilizing solid communication skills
Digital librarians have double the responsibility of traditional librarians. They explain everything from how to find a resource to how to use the library’s mobile app. They also communicate clearly through the library’s tech tools, such as podcasts, online tutorials, and digital presentations.
Being social media savvy
Digital librarians know how to reach their prospective and current patrons through social media. Whether tweeting out the latest collection arrivals, sharing community events on Facebook, or pinning a research idea, digital librarians know how to reach target audiences. This includes writing from a perspective relevant to their followers.
Being flexible and adapting to change
Technology is anything but static, and one week’s trend is gone the next. Digital librarians embrace the constant change. They stay up-to-date with the most relevant technology advancements while understanding they will learn the next new tech tool or software system at any time.
These four key responsibilities of digital librarians are far from a comprehensive list, but they summarize many of the daily tasks required. If you want to know more about being a digital librarian and specializing in 21st century information, research getting your library science degree online and determine whether you are a good fit for the role.