California Masters in Library Science

Today’s library is far different from the traditional notion of castle-like buildings filled to the brim with nothing but books. Modern libraries are not only repositories of the written and digital word but community gathering spaces and, often, vital resources for connection, entertainment and communication.

As such, the modern librarian must be an expert in information science, and depending on where they work, they need to be ready to answer questions from students, adults, business owners and more. Pursuing a career in library or information science will usually require a master’s degree, and some require additional licensure beyond that.

Let’s take a look at the library science graduate programs available in California as well as what professionals can expect to earn once they complete their degrees.

California Master of Library Science Programs

A master’s degree in library science is standard for professional librarians, and this is still the most common degree offered by colleges and universities with such programs. But there are many other degrees that are possible in this field, and each has its own specific focus area.

Potential graduate degrees that can be earned in the field of library and information science include Master of Library Science (MLS), Master of Information Science (MIS), Master of Science in Library Science (MS) or Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS).

SEE ALSO: Top Online ALA Library Science Schools

Regardless of the degree they choose, prospective librarians should consider their ideal career path before committing to a program. That’s because for most library jobs, including those in schools, all degrees must be earned from institutions that are accredited by the American Library Association (ALA).

Fortunately for students in California, there are three programs in the state that have earned the seal of approval from the ALA.

Let’s take a closer look at the schools and their offerings:

University of California Los Angeles

  • Institution type: Public
  • Delivery method: On-campus
  • Campus: Los Angeles
  • Master’s tuition: $16,847 in-state, $31,949 out-of-state
  • Degrees offered: Master of Library and Information Science, Information Studies Ph.D.
  • Graduate certificates offered: Library & Information Science (post-master’s)

UCLA’s Department of Information Studies has been among the national leaders in information sciences education for the past 50 years. Today’s students have the advantage of that exceptional lineage as well as the cutting-edge study that will prepare them for the future.

Potential focus areas for MLIS students include archival studies, informatics, library studies and rare books.

Learn more

 San Jose State University

  • Institution type: Public
  • Delivery method: Online
  • Campus: San Jose
  • Expected total cost: $20,382 (MLIS)
  • Degrees offered: Master of Library and Information Science, Teacher Librarian MLIS, Master of Archives and Records Administration, Master of Science in Informatics
  • Graduate certificates offered: Digital Assets, Post-Master’s Certificate (online)

San Jose State’s School of Information offers multiple graduate-level programs that have been accredited by the ALA, led by a 43-unit Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) that is earned entirely online.

Other degree options include a Teacher Librarian MLIS path and two other master’s degrees in related fields.

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 University of Southern California

  • Institution type: Private
  • Delivery method: Online
  • Campus: Los Angeles
  • Total expected tuition: $79,800 (MMLIS)
  • Degrees offered: Master of Management in Library and Information Science,
  • Graduate certificates offered: Library and Information Management

USC’s Marshall School of Business is home to a Master of Management in Library and Information Science that’s completed entirely online, and most students complete the path in about a year-and-a-half.

A graduate certificate in the subject is available for those with an existing library science master’s degree, and potential electives in the MMLIS include courses in competitive analysis and collaborations, making the degree ideal for those with a business and information background.

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California Library Science Outlook

The average librarian, which includes media collections specialists, earns just under $79,000 in California, making the state second only to the District of Columbia, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicates. This is considerably higher than the national average wage for librarians, which is about $58,000.

Across the vast state of California, librarian salaries are quite diverse, with a handful of major cities and metro areas offering higher average salaries than the state overall. Librarian salaries are highest in San Luis Obispo ($89,880) and San Francisco ($89,390). And among cities with available data, the lowest average wage for librarians was in the Hanford-Corcoran area ($49,220).

Library workers who are based in educational institutions should find their highest wage prospects in Salinas, where these workers earn an average of nearly $75,000 per year. On the other end of the spectrum for school library workers in Chico, where the average annual salary is just under $57,000.

Employment growth for librarians should be strong over the next several years. California is projected to see job openings for librarians grow by 5% through 2028, which is just under the national average, while library and information specialists working in schools will see employment opportunities in California rise by 8.2%. That’s much higher than the national growth projection of 5.7%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.


As the depth and breadth of the accumulated knowledge of humanity expand by the day and new technologies disrupt old ways of gathering information, modern librarians need to adjust to those changes. The good news for potential library sciences students in California is that several degrees are out there, including multiple online options.

Take the Next Step in Obtaining Your Degree in Library Science

The growing, thriving, and dynamic field of librarianship can open doors to a rewarding and inspiring career. Take the next step obtaining your master’s degree in library science from an accredited university and start your career journey today.


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Sarah J

Sarah J is Chief Editor and Founder at, formerly (LSL). Join us today and become a community curator. We can also be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Learn more about me on Google+