What is the Role of a Health Science Librarian?

If you have ever thought about pursuing a career in the fields of health and/or library science, an important question may have crossed your mind: “What is the role of a health science librarian?” By reading the information found below, you can obtain an answer to this question.

Health Science Librarian

Although the term “health science librarian” can be defined broadly, individuals who hold this position typically offer library patrons access to medical data through books, electronic databases, journals, pamphlets, multimedia presentations, the Internet, and tapes. By providing this service, health science librarians assist patients, students, and health providers in sorting through the wide range of information libraries offer in order to find the specific data they are in need of.


Health science librarians can work in a plethora of places. Some examples would include a pharmaceutical company, health organization, medical school, or health information center. Health science librarians can work either full or part-time. However, smaller organizations will often employ health science librarians on a part-time basis.

Roles and Responsibilities

Health science librarians are responsible for locating the right resources for patrons, cataloging the resources so they can be accessed quickly, and helping patrons find the documents and information they need. As experts in searching the Internet and specialized databases, many health science librarians can and do produce web pages to help patrons find information resources related to the field of health.

Academic Requirements

Individuals who wish to become health science librarians must first graduate from high school. After completing high school, the student must earn a four-year bachelor’s degree (see: Top 10 Best Online Health Science Degree Programs). It would be wise to incorporate classes in the fields of science and computer science. Next, the student must earn a master’s degree in library science (MLS). This is mandatory. Some of the courses MLS students can expect to take will pertain to subjects such as biomedical communication, scientific literature, standard cataloging systems, library organization and management, and bibliographic resource use.


Although health science librarians do not have to attain certification in order to work within their field, the Medical Library Association offers certification examinations that can help them advance in their careers.

Career Outlook

Employment opportunities for health science librarians is best for those who pursue work in research libraries, and the job outlook is greatest for librarians who have or attain technical and scientific knowledge in a subject area like medicine. Studies indicate that the job market for health science librarians is expected to grow more slowly than the average for other vocations. Although the field will experience modest growth rates of just 3%-9%, individuals who become proficient in developing computerized library systems fair better in terms of employment opportunities. The need to replace librarians who retire has been and will remain a great catalyst for career opportunities. Additionally, there will be job opportunities in nontraditional settings such as consulting firms and private corporations.

If you are thinking about pursuing a career as a health science librarian, you should note that doing so could be personally and professionally advantageous. If you thrive on innovation, enjoy serving others, have an aptitude for technology, are creative and curious, and have excellent communication skills, the field may be a great fit for you. By reviewing the information found above, you can make an informed decision regarding whether pursuing this vocational path would be appropriate and advantageous for you.