Colorado Masters in Library Science
The average librarian today has a very different job than they might have had just a couple of decades ago. Today, librarians must be experts in decidedly modern fields like informatics and information science. They’ll be expected to help students, visitors and others access information across a range of systems, and that requires advanced education in information science.
Librarians and library science professionals can work in diverse fields like education, law, medicine and more, but a library and information science career typically begins with a master’s degree. Let’s take a look at graduate study in library and information science in Colorado, as well as what students can expect when they hit the local job market.
Colorado Library Science Programs
Prospective library science professionals may have many options for earning a master’s degree in library science, information science and informatics, and most graduate schools offer a few concentration areas.
While schools tend to offer only one or two types of library and information science degrees, they typically have some similar acronyms. The most commonly available degrees in the field are Master of Library Science (MLS), Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS), Master of Information Science (MIS), Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or Master of Science in Information (MSI).
Students in Colorado should consider graduate programs that have been accredited by the American Library Association, which is a state requirement for many positions within schools and other public facilities. For jobs that aren’t covered by state mandates, it’s typical for employers to strongly prefer candidates who have earned degrees from ALA-accredited programs.
One university in Colorado offers an ALA-accredited master’s in library science, so let’s explore what students need to know about the program.
University of Denver
- Institution type: Private
- Delivery method: Traditional and online
- Campus: Denver
- Total expected tuition: $54,346
- Degrees offered: Master of Library and Information Science
- Graduate certificates offered: Research Data Management
The University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education is home to the state of Colorado’s lone ALA-accredited master’s in library science. DU’s degree is offered both online and in a traditional on-campus setting.
Traditional students can choose a general course of study or a specialty in research and data management, while online students can opt to a specialty in archiving. All students must complete field work, a capstone or internship. Past fieldwork placements have included the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Denver Public Library and Colorado Department of Transportation.
DU’s library science master’s is one of the most rigorous, requiring completion of 58 credit-hours, and most students complete their degree in two years.
Colorado Library Science Outlook
The average librarian working in Colorado makes just under $62,000 per year, which is slightly ahead of the overall national average of about $58,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Library workers in schools and other educational institutions earn slightly less than all librarians and media collections specialists, making about $56,000 per year.
Boulder boasts the highest average annual wage for librarians and media collections specialists, with the average worker earning about $67,000 per year in the city that’s home to the main campus of the University of Colorado. The second-highest average wage for librarians in Colorado can be found in Denver, where the typical librarian earns $62,870, and Grand Junction is just behind at $62,620.
Colorado is expected to experience rapid growth in employment of librarians, including library workers in schools and other educational institutions. Through 2028, according to data from the Department of Labor, librarians and media collections specialists are expected to see employment rise by about 15.7%, much higher than the overall projected rate for the U.S. of 6.4%. That rate is also high enough to put Colorado at No. 4 nationally.
All other library workers are expected to see employment rise even more rapidly, as library and educational workers should see employment expand by 18.1%, which is the third-fastest rate in the country.
The sheer volume of information and information systems expands constantly, seemingly by the moment. It’s never been more important for professionals who are trained in these complex systems, and the career outlook in Colorado looks to be quite robust for the next several years.