Kansas Masters in Library Science
The daily life of a librarian today probably doesn’t have much in common compared to what they would have spent their days doing a couple of decades ago. In our modern age, librarians require training and expertise in fields like informatics and information science, and they’ll be asked to help students, visitors and others access diverse types of information across a range of systems.
Librarians and library science 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 Kansas, as well as what students are likely to experience when they reach the job market.
Kansas Library Science Programs
While most professionals in the field need a master’s degree, there are many types of degrees and specialty areas that allow students to access education that speaks to their interests and career goals.
Universities with graduate degrees in library science or related fields typically offer only one or two types of library and information science degrees. That said, these degrees tend to come with similar-sounding acronyms, 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 among library science students.
Students in Kansas should consider limiting their search to degrees from programs that have been accredited by the American Library Association, which is a state requirement for many positions in schools and public libraries. For jobs that aren’t covered by state mandates, most employers strongly prefer candidates who have earned degrees from ALA-accredited programs.
One university in Kansas offers an ALA-accredited master’s in library science, so let’s explore what students need to know about the program.
Emporia State University
- Institution type: Public
- Delivery method: Hybrid
- Campus: Emporia
- Total expected tuition: $14,724
- Degrees offered: Master of Library Science, PhD in Library and Information Management
- Graduate certificates offered: Archives Studies, Health Information Professionals, Informatics, Information, Technology and Scientific Literacy, Leadership and Administration in Information Organizations, Youth Services, School Library Media Licensure
Emporia State University is home to the only ALA-accredited library science master’s degree in the state of Kansas. The Master of Library Science from Emporia is offered in a hybrid format in which classes are completed mostly online, though the program can’t be completed entirely remotely. However, the university’s broad geographic reach brings the MLS program to campuses in multiple cities in Kansas (Emporia and Overland Park) as well as other cities in and outside the region, including Denver, Salt Lake City, Portland (OR), Sioux Falls, Las Vegas, Boise and Conway (AR).
Several graduate certificates are offered, and MLS students can focus on specialty areas including archives, health information, technology and scientific literacy and more.
Kansas Library Science Outlook
Librarians in Kansas have an average annual salary rate of nearly $46,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number puts them well below the national average ($58,000) and ranks them as No. 47 among all states.
Wages for librarians vary across Kansas, though all cities in the state with available data have an average librarian salary that’s higher than the state’s overall average. Wages are highest in the Kansas City area, including portions of both Kansas and Missouri. Librarians in the metro area have an average wage of nearly $61,000. The lowest average salary for librarians is in Lawrence, where they earn about $53,000.
Positive growth in job openings for librarians and related workers is expected in Kansas, which could help boost salaries. According to Department of Labor data, employment of librarians and media collections specialists is expected to rise by 5.3%, which is lower but in the range of the national projected growth rate for these workers (6.4%).
All other library and educational workers should see opportunities expand even more rapidly. Employment rates for these jobs are projected to grow at a 5.8% rate through 2028, which is just a touch over the national projected growth rate of 5.7%.
The expanse of information in our world expands by the day, growing even by the second. For individuals with the training necessary to help others access the information they require, the short- and long-term employment picture in Kansas is improving.