Rhode Island Masters in Library Science
Though their job has antique origins, modern librarians have little in common with the shushing school marms of decades past. Librarians today are experts in cutting-edge information science, and they work in a variety of settings, including public libraries and schools, of course, but also less-obvious areas like courts or marketing.
No matter what it says on their business card, a fruitful library science career usually means earning a master’s degree. Let’s take a look at the state of graduate study in library science in Rhode Island as well as what library science professionals need to know before they hit the job market.
Rhode Island Library Science Programs
Almost all prospective librarians and library science professionals will need a master’s degree to get a job, but that doesn’t mean the educational options are one-size-fits-all. In fact, many schools offer multiple types of degrees, and most provide specialization options and focus areas that let students customize their degree journey.
But while students should have many options for their curriculum, most degrees in the field have familiar-sounding acronyms. That includes many of the most common ones, like 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).
Students also should note that securing a job, particularly one in a public setting such as a school or public library, usually requires earning a degree from a program that’s been accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Even for jobs in non-public settings, most employers prefer candidates with these types of degrees.
In Rhode Island, 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 Rhode Island
- Institution type: Public
- Delivery method: Hybrid
- Campus: Kingston
- Total expected tuition: $28,188 in-state; $54,432 out-of-state
- Degrees offered: Master of Library and Information Studies, MLIS/MA in History, MLIS/Master of Public Administration, MLIS/MA in English
- Graduate certificates offered: Information Literacy Instruction, Digital Literacy
Rhode Island students’ only in-state option for an ALA-accredited library science master’s is the Master of Library and Information Studies offered at the University of Rhode Island. Available in a hybrid format where most courses are completed online while others include synchronous online meetings with professors at the Kingston campus, students enjoy a wide degree of flexibility.
Optional degree pathways include school library media, digital media, libraries, leadership and transforming communities, and information equity, diverse communities and critical librarianship. Dual degrees allow students to combine library studies with an M.A. in English or history or a Master of Public Administration.
Rhode Island Library Science Outlook
The average librarian in Rhode Island makes just over $69,000 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That puts Rhode Island at No. 13 compared to all states, and the average salary in the state is considerably higher than the overall U.S. average for librarians ($58,000).
Limited geographic data was available for cities in Rhode Island. Librarians and media collections specialists in the Providence area, which includes portions of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, have an average annual wage of just over $69,000, while those in the Norwich-New London area, including portions of Connecticut and Rhode Island, make just under $64,000.
Modest growth in job openings is expected for librarians and related workers in Rhode Island over the next several years. According to Department of Labor data, librarians and media collections specialists are expected to see employment rates grow by 4.1% through 2028, which is lower than the overall U.S. projected growth rate of 6.4%.
All other library and educational workers are expected to see job openings rise by 3.3%, which is much lower than the 5.7% rate projected for their counterparts across the country.
The amount of information in the world expands by the day, even by the second. For individuals with a passion for helping others find the information they need to broaden their horizons, Rhode Island offers a fruitful educational and employment picture.