Master’s in Library Science

Note: This page provides details for a Master's Degree in Library Science. For overall information, please see our general Library Science page.

A Master's Degree in Library Science can open doors in the public library sector, school library sector, and may allow graduates to enter other jobs within the educational field. Additionally, those with a Masters of Library Science might also be employed in careers such as museum archivists, web analytics managers, researchers, technology information specialists, automation coordinators, and/or head of access services.

In order to gain acceptance into a Master's of Library Science program, candidates will generally be required to hold a bachelor's degree in a related field. Admissions to a master's program will vary from school to school, but will typically require a certain score on the GRE prior to admittance. Most colleges and universities will even require an interview process prior to getting accepted into the program.

Choosing an Online Master's in Library Science

Online master's programs have become a viable option for working and busy students. When assessing prospective schools for a Master's in Library Science, you want to pick a school that is reputable and legitimate. To help you make an informed decision, you may review the following questions:

Is the Program Accredited?

It is of great importance that the program you choose is accredited through the American Library Association (ALA). Without accreditation, a degree is often worthless and will not count when trying to obtain employment. If you would like to learn more about the accreditation process, visit: ed.gov/accreditation

How Long Has the Program Been Offered?

If an online program has proved to be successful year after year, it is usually a sign of legitimacy. Do keep in mind that online learning is a comparatively new way of earning a degree; however, you may be skeptical of programs that have not been around long enough to attain accreditation.

What Technologies Will Be Used to Facilitate Online Learning?

Online degree programs use virtual learning platforms to facilitate instruction - these learning platforms act as virtual classrooms. Websites such as Moodle and Canvas, two online learning platforms, allow students and teachers to access lecture materials, view grades, post assignments, and communicate with peers.

What Resources Will I Have Access To?

Online colleges and universities may give students access to learning resources such as scholarly journals, online catalogs, research centers, as well as mentorship programs. Not all schools provide the same resources, if any. That is why it is a good idea to learn about what is available to your beforehand.

What Skills and Topics Are Covered?

When considering an online Master's Degree in Library Science, it might be a good idea to become aware of the program's goals and outcomes prior to signing on. To tell if a program is right for you, assess how those goals align with those of your career in the field of library science.

Do You Have Job Placement Information for Students Who Recently Graduated from the Program?

Connecting with recent graduates, or alumni, is a good way to network and make career connections. This connection will also help give you an idea of what other graduates have done with an online Master's Degree in Library Science. If given the opportunity, be sure to ask questions about the program.

Is an Online Degree Right for You?

Gaining a Master's Degree in Library Science online can be an exciting option. This allows candidates an opportunity to earn an advanced degree while working full time or raising a family. Almost all degrees are offered online in some format and a library science degree is no exception. If you are considering an Online Master's in Library Science, consider the following:

Tuition and Costs

For many, online degrees seem to be more cost effective than their traditional brick and mortar counterparts. Keep in mind that not all online degree programs are cheaper. With that said, it is very important to do some research before jumping on board. When doing the comparison, remember to calculate the following:

  • No fees associated with transportation, parking, car maintenance, or on-campus meals.
  • No costs having to do with relocating and living on campus.
  • Due to the flexible schedule, online students have the ability to maintain a source of income by working.

Variety of Programs

Since online Master's in Library Science classes can be taken from virtually anywhere, students have a broader range of programs to choose from. Since relocating is not always an easy option, students do not need to limit themselves to colleges or universities in their area. With online schooling, students will be able to pick a degree program based on program details (like classes, cost, accreditation) rather than settling on one due to geographic location. This opens up many opportunities for students to gain control of their education. As with other important decisions, it is crucial that you do your research. Make sure the program you choose is accredited before signing on.

Program Curriculum

The curriculum and expectations of good online Master's Degree in Library Science programs should be quite parallel to traditional ones. You should be able to find the following:

  • Deadlines and markers to help students make pace. This might include presentations, projects, tasks, practicums, research, quizzes, tests, and reading assignments.
  • Whole class chat rooms to help students communicate and collaborate.
  • A culminating master's thesis, project, exam, or portfolio.

Faster Completion

In many cases, online Master's in Library Science students are able to complete degree requirements faster than they would in a traditional college setting. That is because a lot of online schools offer accelerated programs. The compact schedule may take less time, but it also might make the program seem more rigorous. Of course, it is not necessary for you to choose an accelerated program; however, it is nice to have the option to do so.

Master's Program Course Topics

While Master's in Library Science programs do vary between institutions, most programs may contain the following courses and elements:

User Services and Tools

Teach and assist users in the development of collections of information and various resources using different techniques.

Evaluation of Information Systems

This class will teach you how to properly evaluate sources as well as research effectively for needed information.

Database Design

Explains the comprehensive view of the processes required in developing access to information with the user in mind. These databases may include flat files, relational, and hypertext among others.

More Potential Course Topics for a Master's in Library Science:

  • Research different approaches, considerations and challenges involved in social research
  • Develop research questions and direction that appraise existing research
  • Develop and design a robust research proposal
  • Prepare and develop a research project in the most effective and efficient manner possible
  • Practice providing students with a survey of the information management professions; clearly articulate the role of the library and librarians
  • Critically analyse and practice the core ethical values that direct the library and information science professions
  • Introduce current issues in library science; guide students in developing appropriate strategies, responses and practices to current issues
  • Survey the role of libraries in society as well as in the broader information and information management environment
  • Explore and research the development of information and communication technology
  • Explore and research the intellectual organization and policy issues that are especially important in student libraries
  • Research various kinds of libraries (public, educational, medical) and their organizational and intellectual issues will be discussed
  • Research the correlations between library users and metrics regarding the media they use or borrow
  • How to source, evaluate and best utilize print and electronic resources, as well as plant and human resources
  • Explore and define the principles of information service including acquiring, collecting, and deploying information
  • Expansion of the principles and methodology for organizing information, texts, and media for both storage and retrieval
  • Research various systems of cataloging and bibliography from the perspective of user need, using various coding, standards, and technologies
  • Research and design information literacy programs for various student and teacher stakeholders
  • Consider the ethical and practical implications of data librarianship
  • Critically discuss and evaluate how best to conserve and preserve written and recorded information
  • Evaluate methods to develop, evaluate, curate and manage a collection for a group or groups of stakeholders

What Can I Do with a Master's in Library Science?

Earning a Master's Degree in Library Science is a great feat. The next big step is finding employment. This degree can lead to a number of career paths, including:

  • School librarian
  • Technology integration specialist
  • Web archivist
  • Research analyst
  • Clinical librarian
  • Reference librarian
  • Indexer
  • Curator
  • Records analyst
  • Records manager
  • Museum librarian

The Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains additional information on librarians.

Professional Associations

Joining a professional association is another good way to get connected and network. In order to continuously develop as a professional, librarians should stay up to date with happenings in the field of library science. There is always new research and findings that come with it. The American Association of School Librarians, for example, is a national professional organization focused on school librarians and the school library community. Through professional associations, onc will get access to annual conferences and expos where they can learn and develop.