Every book lover out there has surely considered becoming a librarian. Working with books all day in a quiet environment, making recommendations about your favorite reads, getting to read all of the new releases—what more could a book lover ask for? If you have thought about any of this, you likely have questions about master’s degree programs in library science.
Assuming you have already earned an undergraduate degree, there really is no reason to not pursue a Master’s Degree in Library Science. You will get higher-paying positions and find employment easier. If you earn the degree online, you will be able to learn while you continue working, traveling, and living your life; not to mention the opportunity to fast track your degree.
Keep reading to find out more about the best online schools and programs for a Master’s Degree in Library Science and what you can do with one.
Earn Your Master’s Degree in Library Science Online
When you enroll in an online degree program, you are allowing yourself to earn a degree while continuing to live your life. Most online degree programs are designed to work around students’ busy schedules. This means you can continue to work at your current job while going to school, providing you with much-needed experience and income.
Another great aspect of online degrees is the ability to work at your own pace. Now, this doesn’t mean there will not be due dates or deadlines. However, learning in an online setting generally means being able to watch pre-recorded lectures or flip through presentations when you have the time. Most classes have assignments due at the same time every week, with options to work ahead. Being able to learn when you are in the best mindset for it is vital to a quality education, and online classes give you that option.
Being able to move through online courses at your own pace can sometimes lead students to fast-track their degrees. This is when universities offer an accelerated version of a program. When students decide they have the motivation, time, and desire to complete their degree quicker, they can often opt for a fast-track program. These are offered most commonly online, and it is generally easier for students to complete online courses at a faster pace than on-campus courses.
To many, the best perk of online degrees is that they are typically much more affordable than on-campus degrees. While this is not always the case, even if the tuition you pay is the same, online students avoid many additional costs of on-campus degrees. Transportation, meals, and parking passes are some of the most commonly overlooked expenses of earning a traditional degree.
Online degrees have a lot of plus sides, but they are not all equal. Choosing where you earn your degree from is an important decision. While many schools offer online programs, some schools are simply better than others in different areas of study. For an online Master’s Degree in Library Science, consider applying to one of the following top schools.
Best Online Programs for a Master’s Degree in Library Science
While many library science careers do not require a master’s degree, a lot of them do. It all depends on what you plan to do. Most states require their librarians for public libraries to have at least a master’s degree, though if you are planning to work in a school, you may only need a bachelor’s degree with a teaching license or degree.
However, it never hurts to have a master’s degree as it only improves your chances of employment. Earning one from one of the top online master’s degree programs in library science listed below is the wisest step to make.
University of North Texas
At the University of North Texas, students can enroll in an online Master of Science in Library Science. This program offers a solid education in law librarianship, music librarianship, and archival studies. Students of this program will take courses online as well as attending three on-campus sessions that last two days each.
Before graduating from this program, students will be given the option of completing a 120-hour practicum or completing six months of professional experience. Students can also choose to add a school library certification to their degree, providing more job opportunities after graduating.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Through the University of Wisconsin at Madison, you can enroll in an online Master of Arts (MA) in Library and Information Studies. While this program is not exactly a library science degree, it does offer many of the same courses. Enrolling in this program is a good option for students who wish to have a broader field of careers to choose from.
In this MA program, students can choose between five different concentrations: librarianship, data/information management and analytics, digital archives, UX and information technology, or organization of information. All of the classes in this program are designed to allow for more one-on-one learning, so the classes are relatively small. Upon graduating, students can retrieve, use, and create any kind of information that is useful in professional, school, or personal settings.
University of South Florida
If you enroll at the University of South Florida, you can study in its MA in Library and Information Science program. This program combines library science with information science to best prepare students for careers in librarianship and information studies.
In this program, students can choose to specialize in youth services, school librarianship, and school media specialist. These specializations are particularly helpful in job searches. Prior to graduating, students are expected to complete an e-portfolio and supervised fieldwork.
Texas A&M University
At Texas A&M University, you can enroll in an online Master of Education (MEd) or MS in Educational Technology and Library Science. Both of these degree programs offer certificates in school librarianship and technology applications. By enrolling in one of these programs, students help prepare themselves for careers in school librarianship.
This university offers both the MEd and MS program in an accelerated format for students who want to earn their degrees faster. Courses in these programs teach students about topics like library administration and web tools, providing a great mix of library and technology skills. Before graduating, students will complete a school library practicum, which gives them hands-on experience.
University of Washington
The University of Washington offers an online master of library and information science degree. This program is offered exactly the same in an online or on-campus format, making it easier for students to switch between the two if necessary. For students who are unsure of online degree programs, this would be a good place to enroll.
Throughout this program, students learn the skills needed for a wide variety of jobs. This includes everything from librarians to web content managers. The online programs at the University of Washington are also designed to have smaller class sizes, to enhance student learning through one-on-one instruction.
Sam Houston State University
If you enroll at Sam Houston University, you can enroll in its online master of library science program. The university also offers a post-master’s school librarian certification. The master of library science program focuses on school librarianship, offering courses like literature for children and digital technology for school librarians.
Students in this program will be expected to complete a school librarian internship prior to graduating, as well as an e-portfolio. Completing an internship helps students apply their education to real-world situations and provides great work experience.
Valdosta State University
Valdosta State University offers an online master of library and information science program. This program focuses on information retrieval and management, providing students with valuable skills to become librarians and archivists, among other careers.
Students of this program can choose to concentrate in one of four areas. The options are library management, reference sources and services, cataloging and classification, and technology. These concentrations can help tailor a degree to a specific career goal. Before graduation, students will need to complete an e-portfolio.
Many other schools offer online library science master’s programs, but these seven are some of the absolute best you can attend. Enrolling in one of these programs will guarantee you a quality education that helps you achieve your career goals.
What Can You Do with a Library Science Master’s Degree?
With a Master’s Degree in Library Science, it is common to think the only career you can start is as a librarian. While becoming a school, music, or law librarian may be the dream for some, it isn’t for everyone.
The good news is that after earning this degree, you are qualified for other careers like a media specialist or information broker. Media specialists help libraries to provide digital content that is easily accessible for customers, and sometimes help teachers mix technology with learning. Information brokers handle the research, organization, and analysis of information for a library or potentially other clients.
As a librarian, your salary will vary based on your employer, education, and experience. That being said, for all librarian positions, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics provided a median annual salary of $59,050. Since this is the median pay, that means there are plenty of chances to earn significantly more than this with the right combination of qualifications.
Another job you could go for is as an archivist. Archivists are responsible for taking care of documents and records. They organize and preserve everything. Working as an archivist, you could easily earn around $49,000 per year, with the opportunity to make even more. This job is also predicted to grow by 9 percent in the next eight years, so it is a good field to go into if you are looking for job security.
One of the highest positions you can be hired for with a Master’s Degree in Library Science is as a library director. This means you would be in charge of the library. You would be the person responsible for making sure everything is running smoothly and to its best abilities. Working as a library director, you would earn around $63,000 per year.
There are librarian positions available to those without a graduate degree, but they are less common than you’d think. Earning a Master’s Degree in Library Science is a great way to advance your career as a librarian. Even if you are interested in becoming an archivist or media specialist, this degree will give you all of the knowledge and qualifications you need.
Online programs are beneficial to anyone who plans to continue working while they are in school. They offer opportunities to earn your degree at your own pace, whether that be faster or slower than average, and they are often lower-cost than on-campus programs. If you earn a Master’s Degree in Library Science online, you are practically guaranteed to be hired for your dream job.
FAQs About Becoming a Librarian
Most positions that require a master’s degree are looking for candidates who have expertise in the area and do not need further training to do their jobs.
To be a librarian, you will need to have good communication, customer service, and organizational skills. Being good with technology is also a useful skill to have, but it is not a requirement for all jobs.
The degree you need is determined by the job you want. You can earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate in library science. You can also earn a variety of dual degrees or a school library media specialist certification.