Ohio Masters in Library Science
Modern librarians are experts in informatics, helping visitors of all stripes access data across diverse and often complex systems. They can work in public libraries, of course, but today’s librarian has a broad skill set that can apply to many industries.
Regardless of the job title, a library science or informatics career will usually mean pursuing a graduate degree. Let’s take a look at what educational opportunities exist in Ohio for library and information science students as well as the career picture they’ll encounter once they finish their degree.
Ohio Master of Library Science Programs
A master’s in library science is considered the standard for professional librarians, but there are many other degree options that can provide the foundation of a long and successful career in the field, and colleges and universities have updated their offerings to meet the modern moment.
Potential graduate degrees in library science, informatics or related fields include Master of Library Science (MLS), Master of Science in Library Science (MS), Master of Information Science (MIS), Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or Master of Science in Information (MSI). Many schools offer degrees with similar titles but from an arts perspective; the result is, for example, a Master of Arts in Library Science.
Every program is a bit different, but library science students would be well-advised to limit their search to schools that are accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). ALA accreditation is required for most school librarian positions and jobs in public libraries. And even for those who aren’t planning to work in public service or education, ALA accreditation is a positive signal to potential employers.
One university in Ohio offers ALA-accredited library science education, so let’s take a look at the program and what students should know about it.
Kent State University
- Institution type: Public
- Delivery method: Online
- Campus: Kent
- Total expected tuition: $26,800
- Degrees offered: Master of Library and Information Science, Master of Science in Knowledge Management, MLIS/MBA, MLIS School Library Media, Master of Science in Health Informatics, MLIS School Library Media/Master of Education in Educational Technology
- Graduate certificates offered: School Library Media Licensure, Health Informatics
Kent State University offers Ohio’s only ALA-accredited graduate degree in library and information science, and the program is completed entirely online, giving students the utmost flexibility. An optional dual degree program joins the MLIS with an MBA for those who hope to pursue private-sector or museum-based careers, while students who are interested in educational technology can pursue a joint MLIS/MeD.
Seven cluster areas within the MLIS program help students tailor their education to their personal interests — cultural heritage informatics and stewardship, data/information/technology, digital humanities, information access and discovery, information and knowledge organization, user experience in libraries, museums and archives and youth engagement.
Ohio Library Science Outlook
The average librarian in Ohio makes nearly $54,000 per year, which is a bit below the national average for librarians and media collections specialists of $58,000. Unlike most states, though, library employees whose jobs are based in schools and other educational institutions make more, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Educational library workers make nearly $59,000 per year, which is 12th-highest in the country.
In both Cincinnati and Akron, librarians can expect to earn just under $60,000 per year, which puts those cities at the top of the list for the state. Salaries for librarians and media collections specialists in Ohio are lowest in Mansfield, where the average librarian makes about $36,000 per year. For library workers in schools and other educational institutions, salary potential is highest in Columbus, which is home to the main campus of Ohio State University.
The outlook for the next several years when it comes to librarian employment in Ohio is mixed. Employment rates for librarians and media collections specialists are expected to rise by just a half a percent through 2028, but the outlook for educational library workers is much more robust. According to Department of Labor data, employment for library employees in educational settings will grow by 7%, much faster than the national growth rate of 5.7%.
The accumulation of information in the world shows no signs of slowing, and it’s perhaps never been more important for people to be able to access accurate, timely information when they need it. Fortunately, Ohio is an excellent place for library and information science professionals and prospective students.