Oklahoma Masters in Library Science
Though their job has some decidedly old roots, today’s librarians are a far cry from the shushing school marms of decades past. Modern librarians are experts in information science, and they can work in a variety of settings, including schools and public libraries, of course, but also less-obvious areas like the justice system or even within corporations.
Regardless of job title, a fruitful library science career usually means earning a master’s degree in the field. Let’s take a look at the state of graduate study in library science in Oklahoma as well as what library science professionals need to know before they hit the job market.
Oklahoma Library Science Programs
Most prospective library science professionals will need a master’s degree to get a job, but that doesn’t mean their educational options are one-size-fits-all. In fact, some schools offer multiple degrees, and most others provide specialization options and focus areas that allow students to customize their degree journey.
While students should have options for their curriculum, most degrees in the field have familiar-sounding acronyms, including 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).
Also, it’s worth noting that getting a job, particularly one in a public setting such as a school or public library, usually means getting a degree from a program that’s been accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Even for jobs in other settings, most employers prefer candidates who complete ALA-accredited programs.
In Oklahoma, one university offers an ALA-accredited library science master’s degree, so let’s take a look at what students need to know about it.
University of Oklahoma
- Institution type: Public
- Delivery method: Traditional
- Main campus: Norman
- Total expected tuition: $17,154 in-state; $46,472 out-of-state
- Degrees offered: Master of Library and Information Studies, PhD in Information Studies
- Graduate certificates offered: Archival Studies, Digital Humanities, Data Analytics for Information Professionals
Oklahoma students’ only option for attending an in-state library science master’s program that’s accredited by the ALA is the Master of Library and Information Studies offered on the home campus of the University of Oklahoma in Norman.
Specialized tracks are available in academic librarianship, archives, children and young adult services, information organization, information technology, public librarianship, reference services, school library media and special librarianship.
Several dual master’s degrees are available in the areas of history, museum studies, social work, business and law, and students may be able to create their own joint degree program.
- Master of Library and Information Studies
- Graduate certificate programs
- School of Library and Information Studies faculty
Oklahoma Library Science Outlook
On average, librarians and media collections specialists in Oklahoma earn $48,550 per year. According to data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average librarian in the U.S. earns about $58,000, which puts Oklahoma well below the national average and into the bottom 10 for wages.
Federal wage data is available for four cities in Oklahoma, and each of them have an average wage for librarians and media collections specialists that’s higher than the overall state average. Librarians in Enid have the highest average wage ($55,430), followed by Tulsa, where they earn an average of $54,920. These professionals in Oklahoma City have the lowest average wage among the four cities, and they earn about $51,000. Finally, in Lawton, librarians can expect to make $54,650.
Job openings for librarians are expected to grow over the next several years in Oklahoma, but the growth is projected to be modest. According to Department of Labor data, librarians should see employment expand by 5.3% through 2028, which is lower than what’s projected for the U.S. as a whole, which is 6.4% growth.
Other library and educational workers are expected to have even less robust growth in job openings. Those occupations should see expansion of just 2.5%, much lower than the national rate of 5.7%.
The extent of human knowledge grows by the moment, and so much of this knowledge is at our fingertips, though the average person doesn’t exactly know how to access it. For professionals with the training necessary to help others access this information, the employment picture in Oklahoma should continue improving.