Iowa Masters in Library Science
The daily routine of today’s average librarian bears only a passing resemblance to what they would have spent their days doing a couple of decades ago. In our modern age, librarians require expertise in fields like informatics and information science, as they’ll be asked to help students, visitors and others access diverse types of information across a range of systems.
These professionals can work in a range of fields, but regardless of their specialty, a successful career usually begins with a master’s degree. Let’s take a look at graduate study in library and information science in Iowa, as well as what students are likely to experience when they reach the job market.
Iowa Library Science Programs
Most often, library science professionals need a master’s degree to get a job, but there are many types of degrees and specialty areas that allow students to focus on their interests and career goals.
Colleges and universities with graduate degrees in library science typically offer only one or sometimes two types of library and information science degrees. These degrees tend to have similar-sounding acronyms, though, like MLS (Master of Library Science), MSLS (Master of Science in Library Science), MIS (Master of Information Science), MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science) or MSI (Master of Science in Information). Degrees from an arts and humanities perspective (Master of Arts) are also popular.
Students in Iowa should consider degrees from programs that have been accredited by the American Library Association. This is a legal requirement for many positions in schools and public libraries, and for jobs that aren’t covered by state mandates, most employers prefer candidates who have earned degrees from ALA-accredited programs.
One university in Iowa offers an ALA-accredited master’s in library science, so let’s explore what students need to know about the program.
University of Iowa
- Institution type: Public
- Delivery method: Traditional and online
- Campus: Iowa City
- Master’s tuition: $4,036 in-state, $15,018 out-of-state
- Degrees offered: Master of Arts in Library and Information Science, Master of Arts in Book Studies, JD/MA in Law Librarianship
- Graduate certificates offered: School Media Certification, Public Digital Humanities, Informatics, Special Collections Librarianship
The University of Iowa’s main campus in Iowa City offers the state’s only ALA-accredited graduate program in library science. With the option to complete the Master of Arts in Library and Information Science or on the home campus, students have a wide range of flexibility.
Specialty areas include academic librarianship, archives and special collections, digital humanities, information processes, medical librarianship, public librarianship and youth services.
Dual degree and certificate programs allow students to pair library studies with legal education and book studies, including the option to earn a joint Master of Arts in Library and Information Science and an MFA from UI’s Center for the Book, though that option is not available online.
Iowa Library Science Outlook
The average librarian in Iowa earns just under $48,000 per year, according to data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s considerably lower than the national average for the job of $58,000, and it puts Iowa near the bottom nationally (45th).
In most Iowa cities for which data was available, average librarian wages are higher than the overall state average for these workers. Librarians and media collections specialists in Iowa City have the highest average wage, $62,310, while two cities have average wages that are lower than the state’s average. These are Cedar Rapids ($46,380) and Sioux City ($42,060), which includes portions of both Nebraska and South Dakota.
While wages for librarians and other related workers may not be impressive in Iowa, the picture may be improving. According to Department of Labor data, through 2028, education, training and library workers should see employment rise by 9% in Iowa, which is well above the national expansion projected for those workers (5.7%) and puts Iowa just outside the top 10.
Librarians and media collections specialists are also expected to see positive growth in employment during that time, though the rate is closer to the national average for the job. Librarian employment in Iowa is expected to rise by 6.7% through 2028 and by 6.4% in the U.S. as a whole.
As the information age continues to deepen the depths of human knowledge, the demand for professionals who are trained in facilitating access to this information will only continue to grow. While the current state of employment in Iowa is mixed, the outlook over the next several years is positive.