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Best Library Science Schools: The Top Colleges and Universities for Library Science Programs

Hezekiah Oluwole - June 05, 2022


Library science is one of the most rapidly growing fields of education right now. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) librarians make an average yearly salary of $61,190 , and employment of librarians is predicted to grow nine percent over the next decade. In order to be competitive in this field, you’ll need a degree from one of the best schools for library science.

The best library science universities offer degree programs at all levels, and some even offer online options. This guide will walk you through the best library science schools and the specific degree programs they offer. Not only will you learn about the best library science colleges, but you’ll get insight into jobs, career paths, and opportunities available to you with a library science degree.

Best Library Science College and University Rankings: Top 10 Library Science Schools at a Glance

School State Formats Available US News Ranking
Catholic University of America WA In-person, hybrid #136
Drexel University PA Online, in-person #103
Texas Woman’s University TX Online #299-#391
University of Arizona AZ Online, in-person #103
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign IL In-person, online #47
University of North Texas TX Online, in-person #277
University of Oklahoma OK In-person, hybrid #127
University of Rhode Island RI Online, in-person #162
University of South Carolina SC Online, in-person #177
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee WI Online, in-person #299-#391

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Library Science School Rankings: Best Library Science Colleges and Universities

Library science is a field that focuses on the value of information in modern culture. Graduates from the best schools for library science may work in historical, academic, school, government, and public libraries. Attending one of the best library science schools in our list below will ensure your curriculum prepares you to work with data and media in different formats and contexts.

1

The Catholic University of America

Graduation Rate: 74%

Washington, DC-based Catholic University of America is a private university with deep ties to the Roman Catholic Church. With 12 schools and faculties, the university has something for everyone. Along with library science, the school has strong programs in undergraduate- and graduate-level engineering, religion, architecture, sciences, and liberal arts.

The Catholic University of America Overview

  • School Type: Private university
  • Acceptance Rate: 72%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • US News Ranking: #136
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #154
  • Degrees Offered: Master’s, Joint Master’s degrees

Best The Catholic University of America Library Science Programs

  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science. This rigorous program requires maintaining a 3.0 GPA, passing a subject test, and earning 36 credits to graduate. Students are expected to complete their degree in three years, which can include an internship or fieldwork.
  • 4+1 Bachelor to Master of Science in Library and Information Science. This program is perfect for students who want to become library media specialists because an MSLIS is usually the minimum preferred requirement for employers. To earn this degree, you’ll complete your bachelor’s degree courses and 12 credits of graduate-level courses in your first four years. You will complete your master’s degree in the fifth and final year of the program.
  • Joint MA in History/MS in Library Science . This joint master’s program combines 30 credits in library and information science with 21 credits in history. You need fewer total credits for this degree than if you were to earn each degree separately, and while you’d take both comprehensive exams, you’d only need to complete one research seminar.
  • Joint JD/MS in Library and Information Science . The Catholic University of America is famous for its law school. This dual degree program allows students to benefit from the law school’s faculty and resources as they prepare for a career in law librarianship. Students get their MSLIS with fewer credits and apply some of those credits to their JD.
  • Joint MS in Biology/MS of Library and Information Science . It's possible to earn a dual degree in library science and cellular microbiology by completing a total of 60 credit hours. This joint master’s program is an ideal option for those hoping to work in research or medical libraries.

The Catholic University of America Library Science Key Takeaway

The Catholic University of America offers many joint master’s programs, so graduates can set themselves apart with expertise in subjects like law, biology, musicology, and literature.

2

Drexel University

Graduation Rate: 71%

Philadelphia investor and philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel founded the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry in 1891. The school's original goal was to give educational opportunities to men and women of all backgrounds in the practical arts and sciences. It was renamed Drexel University in 1970 and its focus on technology amplifies its library science program.

Drexel University Overview

  • School Type: Private research university
  • Acceptance Rate: 77%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • US News Ranking: #103
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #351–400
  • Degrees Offered: Master’s

Best Drexel University Library Science Programs

  • Online Master’s in Library & Information Science . This 45-credit interactive program is taught by professors from the College of Computing and Informatics. It's suitable for full-time students and professionals looking to gain one of the best online master’s in the field of library science . This program emphasizes career skills and is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA).
  • Master of Science in Information–Library and Information Science . This interdisciplinary program incorporates core principles in library science with essential contemporary skills like digital content creation. The curriculum links theory and practice to prepare students for the professional world. Students combine 45 credits of coursework with a capstone research project to graduate.

Drexel Library Science Key Takeaway

Drexel combines its information science program with its world-class data and technology programs, and students can complete a graduate degree in library science online or in person.

3

Texas Woman's University

Graduation Rate: 48%

Texas Woman's University was established in 1901 and is a public university. According to US News & World Report, Texas Woman’s University is a relatively small school, with 10,656 undergraduates enrolled in the fall of 2020 . That small scale translates to individualized attention, with a 19:1 student-to-faculty ratio and an average class size of under 20 students.

Texas Woman's University Overview

  • School Type: Public university
  • Acceptance Rate: 94%
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • US News Ranking: #299-#391
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #501-600
  • Degrees Offered: Master’s, graduate certificate

Best Texas Woman’s University Library Science Programs

  • Graduate Certificate in Evidence-Based Health Science Librarianship . This is a completely-online post-master's certificate designed for those hoping to work in a library in the health profession. Students without MLS degrees are required to put in 21 hours for graduation, whereas those with MLS degrees can earn the certificate with 12 credits.
  • Graduate Certificate in School Librarianship . This program is designed to help students holding non-library science master’s degrees develop skills in school library management. The entire certification course can be completed online. There are a total of 24 credit hours required for graduation.
  • Dual MLS/MS Health Studies . This dual degree program lets students earn a Master of Science and Master of Library Science concurrently and is designed for students aiming to become information specialists in the medical field. The program requires 54 credits in total and can be done online or in person.
  • Master of Library Science. This is the university’s option for the general Master of Library Science degree, with the option to choose a specialized track like academic libraries, school libraries, information technology, and community informatics. The 36-credit degree can be earned on campus or online.
  • MLS with School Librarian Certification Focus . Online students can earn their Master of Library Science (MLS) and their School Librarian Certification (SLC) at the same time. This program is 36 credits and is meant to train librarians for middle, elementary, and high school libraries.

Texas Woman’s University Library Science Key Takeaway

Texas Woman’s University is focused on flexibility, offering many online options for its library science degrees. It’s a great option for those who want to combine their library work with the healthcare industry.

4

University of Arizona

Graduation Rate: 65%

University of Arizona was established in 1885 as a land-grant research institution in Tucson, making it Arizona’s first university. The school is a member of both the Universities Research Association of America and the Association of American Universities. Its library science program is well-regarded, along with its graduate programs in law, management, and medicine.

University of Arizona Overview

  • School Type: Public land-grant research university
  • Acceptance Rate: 85%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • US News Ranking: #103
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #150
  • Degrees Offered: Master’s, graduate certificate

Best University of Arizona Library Science Programs

  • Master of Arts in Library and Information Science . This is the only accredited MLS program in the state of Arizona. Full-time students can complete the 37-unit program in two years, but working and part-time students are accommodated with a longer timeframe. Along with core courses on research methods and information organization, the program has specific tracks depending on your career goals.
  • PhD in Information . This doctorate is only available on campus and requires 36 credits of major coursework, nine to 12 credits of minor coursework, and completing a dissertation. This is a program for those who want to be on the cutting-edge of information, covering topics like digital archives, information ethics, and machine learning.
  • PhD Minor in Information . The graduate minor in information requires completing nine credits, passing with at least a B grade from the School of Information's courses, as well as passing a written and oral test. This minor is open to both students in the School of Information and those working on doctoral degrees in other subjects.
  • Graduate Certificate in Instruction and Teaching for Librarians and Information Professionals . This is a 12-credit course that’s designed to be flexible, with students having up to four years to complete their work. Students must complete capstone projects or internships to practice information literacy in real-world contexts. This program can be completed online, and on-campus graduate students can earn it alongside their degree.
  • Graduate Certificate in Legal Information . This certificate program is a collaboration between the university’s Cracchiolo Law Library and the School of Information. Aspiring librarians acquire the specialized knowledge needed to work in legal libraries and other legal information settings. This is a 15-credit program that is completed within three years.

University of Arizona Library Science Key Takeaway

Library science students at the University of Arizona have a lot of degree options in a wide range of specializations, including certificates to enhance their careers, master’s degrees, and PhDs.

5

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Graduation Rate: 86%

Founded in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a public research university and is the main campus of the University of Illinois system. It has a stellar academic reputation and is ranked one of the top 50 national universities by US News & World Report. On-campus library science students will enjoy a sense of community thanks to the school’s D1 athletic program and robust greek life.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Overview

  • School Type: Public research university
  • Acceptance Rate: 63%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • US News Ranking: #47
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #48
  • Degrees Offered: Master’s, PhD

Best University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library Science Programs

  • PhD in Information Sciences . For a PhD in Information Sciences, students must complete 48 credits of coursework, as well as a field exam, research presentation, and an oral dissertation. There is a strong emphasis on hands-on learning and the curriculum cannot be completed online.
  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science . US News & World Report ranks this as the number one MSLIS in the country . Graduates of the 40-credit program go on to become archivists, professional librarians, library directors, and web developers. The LEEP online version of the degree includes access to the same live classes, resources, and academic advisors as on-campus students.
  • JD and MS in Library and Information Science . This program is for students who want to work in law libraries. It requires a total of 118 credits, split between law and library science coursework. Students study copyright, legal research, intellectual property law subjects, and idea distribution.
  • MA/MS Degree in History and Information Science . This is an interdisciplinary master’s program that results in a combined degree. Students complete a total of 56 credits and can be partially completed online. Graduates will be prepared for jobs in academic libraries, museums, historical societies, and government agencies.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library Science Key Takeaway

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has the best Master’s of Library and Information Science in the United States, and it offers multiple joint master’s options that let you make the most of your studies.

6

University of North Texas

Graduation Rate: 57%

The University of North Texas is located in Denton, Texas. It's a public research university, and it was known as North Texas State University until 1988. The university is made up of 14 colleges and institutions, including a music school with the country’s first jazz program. Its MSLIS program is ranked 20 in the United States by US News & World Report.

University of North Texas Overview

  • School Type: Public research university
  • Acceptance Rate: 84%
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • US News Ranking: #277
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #401-500
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, master’s

Best University of North Texas Library Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Science . The BSIS degree requires 120 credits to complete. Students can choose between a standard degree track or the accelerated degree in three program, which allows students to complete their bachelor’s in three years. UNT’s Grad Track combines this bachelor’s with the master’s program, allowing students to earn both degrees in a shorter timeframe.
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Science Online. This online degree in library science requires the same number of credits and classes as the in-person bachelor’s degree. A big selling point is the flexibility of its online courses, with the option to study part time while you work and take different class formats, including recordings and live sessions.
  • Master of Science in Library Science or Information Science . This program can be done in-person or online and lets you choose between a library science or information science specialization. Library science prepares you to become a professional librarian, while information science is great for tech fields like information agencies, web search portals, and electronic publishing.

University of North Texas Library Science Key Takeaway

UNT has degree options for full-time students and professionals who are looking to bolster their credentials while they work.

7

University of Oklahoma

Graduation Rate: 72%

In 1890, the University of Oklahoma was established by the state's legislature as the flagship institution of the state's university system. It’s a public university with an extensive research facility for library students. Specialized on-campus libraries in architecture, engineering, fine arts, geology, physics, and astronomy provide unique opportunities for library students.

University of Oklahoma Overview

  • School Type: Public university
  • Acceptance Rate: 83%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • US News Ranking: #127
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #401-500
  • Degrees Offered: Master’s, PhD, graduate certificates

Best University of Oklahoma Library Science Programs

  • BA in Information Studies/MLIS Accelerated Program . Students pursuing the interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree can apply for this accelerated joint degree program in their junior year. The master’s degree deepens and refines students’ chosen focus on either technology and communication or libraries, archives, and museums.
  • Master of Library and Information Studies . The MLIS degree program requires students to complete a minimum of 36 hours of coursework. Students can finish the degrees in one of three ways, completing a written thesis, creating a portfolio, or passing an exam.
  • Dual Master's Degrees . It's possible to earn two master's degrees from the University of Oklahoma with departmental approval. Examples of complementary master’s programs include museum studies, social work, business, and law. Students must complete exit examinations as outlined by both departments.
  • PhD in Information Studies . This doctoral program focuses on the research aspects of information science, including updating and refining archival methods in the digital age. The degree is a total of 90 credits, including writing and defending a dissertation. This is an in-person program, but it can be completed part time with a 10-year time cap.

University of Oklahoma Library Science Key Takeaway

The University of Oklahoma has a wide range of programs, including bachelor’s degrees, joint degrees, graduate certificates, and a PhD program.

8

University of Rhode Island

Graduation Rate: 71%

The University of Rhode Island (URI) is a public research university located in Kingston, Rhode Island. Satellite campuses are located in Providence's Jewelry District, Narragansett, and West Greenwich. The institution awards bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees in 49 graduate and 80 undergraduate fields.

University of Rhode Island Overview

  • School Type: Public research university
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • US News Ranking: #162
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #601–800
  • Degrees Offered: Graduate certificate

Best University of Rhode Island Library Science Programs

  • Master of Library and Information Studies . This 36-credit program is entirely online and focuses on library and information services at the intersection of information science, technology, and social justice. Coursework in information equality, school libraries, leadership, and digital media, is supplemented by internships, academic advising, and a strong alumni network.
  • School Library Media Certification Program . This is an online and in-person program offered as part of the university's 36-credit MLIS program. It allows master’s students to qualify for the School Library Media Certification in Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

University of Rhode Island Library Science Key Takeaway

The facilities at the University of Rhode Island allow students to gain hands-on experience before graduation, which will help with their post-grad job hunts.

9

University of South Carolina

Graduation Rate: 78%

University of South Carolina was founded in 1801. The university has its own campus but is integrated into Columbia’s city life, providing lots of extracurricular, nightlife, and internship opportunities for students. Students here are spoiled for choice when it comes to academics, with 320 degree options available at the bachelor’s, masters, and PhD levels.

University of South Carolina Overview

  • School Type: Public university
  • Acceptance Rate: 68%
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • US News Ranking: #117
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #401–500

Best University of South Carolina Library Science Programs

  • Master of Library and Information Science . This MLIS program equips students for careers in libraries and information centers, with a recent survey showing a 92 percent job placement rate . The 36 coursework credits can be completed online or in person, but the program has a mandatory in-person internship requirement.
  • PhD in Library and Information Science . Students who complete this research-heavy degree program are well-suited for positions in academia, government, and private industry as professors and library administrators. Completing the program requires 54 credits with a minimum 3.0 GPA, a dissertation, and written and oral exams.
  • Specialist in Library and Information Science . This is a post-master’s degree program that’s designed for working professionals in the information field, like librarians and information managers. It’s meant to keep you up-to-date on the ever-changing technology, like computer-based information systems, web design, and networking.
  • Certificate in Specialized Study in Information Science . This is a 12-credit certificate that allows students to complete the state certification requirements for school librarians. Students can specialize in subjects like library administration, information science, information and records management, and information systems design.

University of South Carolina Library Science Key Takeaway

The University of South Carolina has options for graduate-level students as well as professionals who want to take continuing education courses to stay current and competitive in the field.

10

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Graduation Rate: 46%

Founded in 1956, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is a relatively young university. It’s built a strong reputation in this short timeframe, with over 25,000 students and well-respected programs in education, business, engineering, and library sciences. It also has the only program in the US dedicated to freshwater sciences, thanks to its proximity to Lake Michigan.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Overview

  • School Type: Public university
  • Acceptance Rate: 97%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • US News Ranking: #299-391
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #601–800
  • Degrees Offered: Master’s, PhD

Best University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Library Science Programs

  • Master of Library & Information Science . US News & World Report ranks this as the 14th best MLIS program in the country . The 36 coursework credits can be completed in person or online. Students can specialize in areas like academic libraries, digital libraries, public libraries, information literacy, and information law, policy, and ethics.
  • PhD in Information Studies . This PhD program can be completed in person or online and focuses on the representation, storage and retrieval, and impact of information on society as a whole. The program includes 30 credits of coursework, preliminary examinations, and writing and defending a dissertation.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Library Science Key Takeaway

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has high-ranking programs and specializations, so an MLIS or PhD from this school will be respected in the job market.

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The Best Schools for Library Science: Types of College Degrees and University Programs Offered

The best schools for library science offer degrees in library science at all levels, including associate degrees , bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, postgraduate certificates, and doctorates. Bachelor’s programs usually combine other minor courses with library science, while PhD programs deepen library scientists’ expertise in research and data construction.

1

Library Science Community College Certificate

A certificate shows that someone is knowledgeable in a particular field. A certificate in library science guarantees that you are equipped with the skills necessary to succeed in today's library environments. They’re highly regarded in the library community for preparing students for careers in library science.

2

Library Science Associate Degree

Associate degrees are generally granted by community colleges, and students need a high school diploma or GED to enroll. Library science associate degrees include Associate of Science in Library Science and Associate of Arts in Library Technology degrees. The programs are usually two years long, and credits can be transferred toward a bachelor’s degree.

Students enrolled in this program learn to help librarians find resources and materials. These programs focus on media and technology, with required courses including library technical services, introduction to library technicians, and library materials care. Students who graduate from these programs are prepared to work as library assistants and technicians.

3

Library Science Bachelor’s Degree

A Bachelor of Library Science is necessary for aspiring librarians to get a foothold and grow in the profession. This degree teaches students the practices and principles of library administration. Many of the universities offering bachelor's degrees in library science have programs focused on teaching students to work in local libraries.

Most academic and public libraries require a Master of Library Science from an ALA-accredited program in order to hire librarians at the senior level. A bachelor’s is required to get into master’s programs, so a bachelor’s degree is the best first step to accessing this field. You can get a bachelor’s on campus or by enrolling in an online degree program.

4

Library Science Master’s Degree

A Master of Library Science (MLS) is a graduate degree that focuses on indexing and analyzing print and digital library resources. Common subjects covered are the fundamentals of library science, database administration, and interdisciplinary collaboration. There are many subfields within librarianship, like health information and management information systems (MIS).

MLS programs typically require 36 credits and last two years. Accredited MLS degrees are required for academic librarianship in colleges and universities. Many academic librarians choose to specialize in a secondary field because many colleges and universities have special libraries, like medicine and law libraries.

5

Library Science Graduate Certificate

A post-master’s certificate is a professional development program for graduates who have completed a master's degree in their field. Post-master’s certificates aren't general education degrees. Rather, they're focused on developing a specific set of vocational skills and aptitudes within a particular field of study.

Only a few colleges and universities in the United States provide ALA-accredited post-master’s certifications in the library and information science field. A total of 64 approved MLS programs in North America offer post-master’s certification. Candidates must have an ALA-recognized degree in order to qualify for these programs.

6

Library Science Doctorate

PhD programs in library and information science require students to conduct original research and write a dissertation or thesis that advances the field of librarianship. Doctorate students typically specialize in a particular area of library management, like law, hospital, and university libraries. These degrees typically take three to five years to complete.

While some PhD programs allow some work to be done online, there is generally a lot of face-to-face interaction between students and teachers in a doctoral program. In order to be accepted for a doctoral program, students must have an MLS degree from an ALA-accredited institution and be in good academic standing.

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Best Library Science Schools: Other Library Science University Rankings

There are many more library science schools than those listed above. They offer similar courses and ensure that students are adequately trained to take on positions related to library science. We consider them high on the list of best library science university rankings. Keep reading to learn more about great online options, community colleges, and more.

Best Online Library Science Schools

  1. Syracuse University. Syracuse offers an online and in-person graduate degree program in library and information science through its iSchool. The program offers general education courses while paving the road for enrolled students to pursue school media certification in New York. Syracuse is well-known for its internship opportunities.
  2. University of South Carolina. This MLIS degree program can be completed fully online or in combination with on-campus courses. The fast track option allows students to finish the degree in 18 months. Despite its accelerated pace, this is one of the online library science programs that emphasizes quality education, with faculty and career advisors assigned to each student.
  3. University of Washington–Information School. This MLIS program is well-known around the world thanks to its well-rounded curriculum. Students can study in an in-person or online format, with both options requiring 63 credits to graduate. The online master’s is completed part time over the course of three years, while the in-person degree is a full-time, two-year program with the same curriculum requirements.

Best Community Colleges for Library Science

  1. City College of San Francisco. Students can get an Associate of Science in Library Information Technology in two years by completing 19 credits of coursework. Bachelor’s holders can earn the Certificate of Achievement in one year. The school has programs for both newcomers and seasoned professionals looking to progress in their careers.
  2. Diablo Valley College. Students who complete this library technology program will have a solid foundation in information management and retrieval. They’ll also gain practical experience working in a library or resource center. Both an associate degree and certificate of achievement are available through the library technician program.
  3. Fresno City College. The library technology program at Fresno City College is designed to give students hands-on experience. The course is best suited for those hoping to become library paraprofessionals or general library staff. The degree’s curriculum can be completed online in four semesters.

Best Undergraduate Schools for Library Science

  1. Southern Connecticut State University. The 39-credit Bachelor of Science in Information Management and Services prepares students for a wide range of information-based occupations, with a focus on digital information skills and expertise. Graduates are also prepared to work in libraries and information centers as support staff.
  2. University of Maine. This bachelor’s degree program is designed to give graduates the professional skills they need to effectively support the smooth management of libraries and other information-intensive organizations. Graduates will be well-equipped for jobs as library professionals.
  3. University of Southern Mississippi. This online library science bachelor’s degree is ranked one of the best in the country. The fully online library and information sciences curriculum includes subjects like cataloging, web development, and storytelling. The program also offers a study abroad program in London.

Best Graduate Schools for Library Science

  1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Those who earn this MS in Library Science are prepared to manage libraries and information centers, with curricula covering cutting-edge service technologies, archive science, and effective communication. UNC’s library science program benefits from the university’s strong research programs in medicine, sustainability, and information technology.
  2. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. The University of Michigan offers multiple graduate programs, including Master of Science in Information, Master of Health Informatics, and PhD in Information. This university has a high success rate in job placements after graduation, with 90 percent of MSI graduates working in their field of choice.
  3. University of Wisconsin-Madison. The 39-credit MA in Library and Information Studies covers cataloging, archives administration, and collection management and policy. Students can complete this graduate program online or in person, but certain specialization options and collaborations with other departments are only available on campus.

Best Library Science Schools With Dual Degree Programs

  1. Florida State University | BSIT/MSIT Combined Pathway. Florida State University students who are eligible for this combined bachelor’s/master’s program can contribute up to 12 graduate-level course hours toward both degrees. This degree path allows high-achieving students to complete both degrees in a shorter timeframe.
  2. Kent University | Master of Library and Information Science and Master of Business Administration. This dual degree requires 61 credit hours split between information science and business courses. Students hoping to work in corporate or non-profit libraries would benefit from this degree, which covers topics like economics, ethics, and business strategy along with core library science concepts.
  3. University of Maryland-College Park | Dual Master’s Degree in History and Library & Information Science (HiLS). The HiLS curriculum is perfect for students who want to learn how to work in different types of information institutions, including libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies. Those enrolled get practical experience from working in College Park’s library facilities while they obtain their degrees.

Best Schools With Accelerated Library Science Programs

  1. East Carolina University | Library Science MLS. ECU’s online Master of Library and Information Science can be finished in less than two years, making it a cost-effective option for students. It’s also possible to get the North Carolina Public Librarian Certification and the School Librarianship license through this program.
  2. Florida State University | BSIT/MSIT Combined Pathway. Motivated and academically capable FSU undergraduate students can take advantage of the combined pathway, earning both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Information Technology. Students admitted into this program can apply 12 credits of graduate study toward both degrees.
  3. Texas A&M University-Commerce | Educational Technology Library Science (MS/MED). An expedited online degree track allows students to get a combined Master of Science and Master of Education degree in as little as 18 months. This degree is designed to train teachers and educators to work as school librarians within Texas. This degree requires a practicum in the state under the supervision of a preceptor.

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Is Graduate School for Library Science Worth It?

Yes, graduate school for library science is worth it because many job postings in this field require a minimum of a Master’s in Library Science. An MLS helps you advance beyond lower-level jobs like library assistant, allowing you to move into administration and library and information management.

Additionally, libraries are spaces that are constantly changing, thanks to the rise of digital information and its ever-changing variety of formats. Digital information must be organized and archived, just like printed materials in traditional libraries. If you don’t keep up with the latest developments in your field, you’ll be out of step with the times.

What Jobs Can You Do With a Library Science Degree?

A library science degree can get you jobs in public, school, and academic libraries. The most common librarian positions include legal librarians, academic librarians, school librarians, data curators, and emerging technology librarians. Most of these roles require a Master of Library and Information Science from a program certified by the American Library Association.

How Much Can I Earn With a Degree in Library Science?

You can earn quite high salaries with a degree in library science. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary range of librarians in the United States can start from $34,050 for library technicians and assistants and go up to $79,640 for postsecondary teachers. The salaries of library workers depend on their education level, with master’s and doctorate graduates earning the most.

Highest-Paying Library Science Careers

Profession Minimum Education Average Salary
Postsecondary Teachers Master’s degree $79,640
Instructional Coordinators Master’s degree $63,740
High School Teachers Bachelor’s degree $61,820
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers Bachelor’s degree $61,350
Middle School Teachers Bachelor’s degree $61,320
Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers Bachelor’s degree $59,720
Archivists Bachelor’s degree $50,120
Curators and Museum Workers Bachelor’s degree $50,120
Library Technicians Associate’s degree $34,050
Library Assistants Associate’s degree $34,050

Best Jobs With a Library Science Degree

The best jobs with a library science degree are postsecondary teaching, instructional coordinating, and teaching in high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools. While you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree to secure these jobs, a master’s degree will put you in a better position with potential employers and is necessary for teaching at the college level.

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Library Science Associate Degree

Jobs

The best library science associate degree jobs include library assistant and library technician. Associate degree holders in library science are trained to work as support staff in libraries. Students in associate degree programs in library and information science take courses that can help them become more valuable as paraprofessionals in library settings.

Top Library Science Careers With an Associate Degree

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Library Science Bachelor’s Degree

Jobs

The best library science bachelor’s degree jobs include public or school librarian. Even though a master's degree is required for most librarian roles, a wide range of jobs are available with an undergraduate degree, like paralegal, administrative assistant, and business process analyst.

Top Library Science Careers With a Bachelor’s Degree

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Library Science Master’s Degree

Jobs

Some of the best library science master’s degree jobs are head librarian and archivist. A Master’s Degree in Library Science is the industry standard for getting a lucrative job. This degree equips you with a wide range of in-demand skills, like information organization, synthesis, and utilization. An MSLIS prepares you for professions in the information industry and can be pursued by those who have already earned a bachelor's degree.

Top Library Science Careers With a Master’s Degree

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Library Science Doctorate

Jobs

Students who pursue a PhD in library science frequently aim to teach at the university level, or they want to build expertise in a particular area of library science. But these are not the only career options available with a doctorate degree in library science.

Top Library Science Careers With a PhD

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Best Internships for Library Science Students

The best internships for library science students provide them with opportunities to work in real-world settings under the supervision of competent and accomplished mentors. Internships allow students to further explore their potential career paths. They also give prospective employers a deeper understanding of an applicant’s interests and experience.

Top Library Science Internships

  • Library Intern for the South Sioux City, IA: $14/hr
  • Law Library Intern for the Kalamazoo Public Library: $14.7/hr
  • Library & Research Intern (graduate student) for AARP: $21/hr

How Can I Pay for Library Science School?

You can pay for library science school through scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans. If you work at a library, ask your employer if there’s any financial aid for pursuing a graduate degree program. The library or its supporting organization may offer scholarships or a flexible schedule, allowing you to work on school assignments while keeping your job.

  • Work-study. Work-study is a federal program that helps students pay for school by giving them part-time jobs, on or off campus. This type of aid is available to full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students who can show that they need it. In a library science degree program, this work-study initiative can take place in a library.
  • Scholarships. Students pursuing a library science degree who cannot afford their studies are eligible for scholarships. Scholarships, unlike other forms of financial aid, do not need to be paid back.
  • Grants. Grants are available from private enterprises and non-profit groups. Grants may be awarded to new students who want to pursue a degree or those who are currently enrolled in a degree program. Every year, thousands of students are able to complete their college education thanks to grants.
  • Financial aid. Most universities require that students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) when applying for a program. FAFSA provides need-based aid, and the FAFSA online application is free to complete. Before you begin your application, make sure you have your tax returns and other financial information handy.
  • Loans. Depending on your financial position, you might want to apply for federal student loans or private loans from banks and other financial institutions. Be sure to consider all of your options for loans, as you need to take into account both the interest rates and the principal amount borrowed when calculating your repayment plan.

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Choosing the Best Library Science School for You

To choose the best library science school for you, you should consider the cost of the program, whether it’s accredited by the American Library Association and the degree type. Learn more about these factors below.

Cost

Cost can differ substantially between universities. This depends on whether the school is public or private, whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student, the coursework required, and housing expenses. Some schools offer scholarships and financial aid, and you might be able to reduce costs by pursuing an accelerated or online program.

Course Offerings and Schedule

It’s critical to consider each school’s course offerings to make sure they align with your goals. For instance, make sure that your program provides classes on storytelling, children’s literature, and early literacy if you want to become a youth services librarian. School librarians will want to make sure their chosen program covers a wide range of topics.

Choose a program that you can fit into your schedule. Some schools cater to full-time students, and others accommodate working students by offering classes online or at satellite campuses and scheduling classes in the evenings or on weekends. If you want to complete your degree as quickly as possible, you should consider an accelerated program.

ALA Accreditation

For a school to be accredited, it must meet the American Library Association’s rigorous standards. A Master of Library Science degree is required for the majority of library jobs, and most organizations will only recognize degrees from ALA-accredited schools. More than 60 programs in the United States and Canada are accredited by the association.

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Does It Matter What College I Go to for Library Science?

Yes, it does matter what college you go to for library science. A school with a strong academic reputation will lend some credibility to your degree, and you must have at least attended an ALA-accredited program. Library science students will also benefit from a strong alumni network and schools with ties to prominent organizations and institutions.

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Library Science University Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Schools for Library Science

We ranked the best library science schools by consulting the university rankings conducted by US News & World Report and Times Higher Education. To further refine our library science university ranking methodology, we gave special consideration to things like reputation, graduation rate, student-to-faculty ratio, and breadth and depth of library science degree program offerings.

Additional Reading About Library Science

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Best Library Science Schools FAQ

What do librarians do?

Librarians generally help users find information, though their jobs vary depending on their specific roles. Reference librarians run the library’s reference desk, answering inquiries and directing users to the information and resources they need. Children librarians organize library activities, place orders for children’s books, and provide customer service.

How difficult is it to get a job as a librarian?

It can be difficult to get a job as a librarian because most jobs in libraries require a graduate degree. This makes it a little more difficult than in fields where a bachelor’s degree is highly rated. However, this is a stable profession if you have the right qualifications, with BLS reporting nine percent job growth through 2030 .

Can a librarian make a six-figure salary?

Yes, a librarian can make a six-figure salary if they have the right qualifications. For example, Glassdoor reports that deans of libraries can earn as much as $163,000 per year . Workers who manage IT aspects of libraries can also earn six figures, with PayScale reporting a median salary of $114,212 for program managers .

What are the skills librarians need to have?

Librarians need to have analytical skills, communication skills, and organizational skills to be successful. They also must have a thirst for knowledge, as the best librarians need to constantly be learning about new methods in data retrieval, archiving, and more.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Hezekiah Oluwole

About the author: Hezekiah is a content writer and prospective software engineer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Obafemi Awolowo University. He also has education in project management, digital marketing, SEO writing, and software engineering with a specialty in backend development.

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