Why Get a Masters in Library Science Online?

"So what should a prospective MLS student do? ...when it comes to library school, just pick the cheapest (in state vs. out of state) or most convenient (online vs. on-campus) option that’s available to you. The coursework provides the base and the theory, but it’s experience that will get you a job. If you’re just taking the classes, you’re doing it wrong". -Mr. Library Dude

A Masters of Library Science, sometimes referred to as a Masters of Library and Information Science, is a degree that offers students the education needed to assume positions as professional librarians.

While it's often thought that libraries are fading away due to the internet, the fact is that they continue to be key aspects of the educational and academic worlds, only today they many utilize more technology than they once did.

Taking a closer look at the Masters in Library Science degree is important for determining whether or not it's the right path for you to take.

Who Should Consider A MLS?

While anyone willing to work through the program can take the time to earn a Masters in Library Science, the fact is that some people are better suited to the position than others. Those who make good candidates for this degree include:

  • Those who have worked in libraries before and want to move up their position in the field
  • Those who enjoy books
  • Those who have strong organizational skills
  • Those with strong reference skills
  • Those who enjoy slower paced job

Overview of Goals

Essentially, a MLS program is designed to give students the skills to assume librarian positions around the country. Graduates will be able to apply their skills and abilities in a real world setting, confront different problems, and help with the overall setup and running of libraries of various sizes.

Typical MLS Curriculum

The specific curriculum of a Masters in Library Science program includes a wide range of different things, and will vary depending upon the specific school and program one enrolls in. Generally, a number of courses are taken including studies in things like:

  • Information Science
  • Computer Science
  • Information Architecture
  • Database Design
  • Website Design
  • Management
  • Reference Work
  • Archiving
  • Cataloguing
  • School Libraries
  • Pedagogy
  • And More

Additionally, most of these master's degree programs require students to complete research projects, a thesis, an internship, or some combination of the three prior to graduation. These allow students to apply their skills in a real world setting and display that they have a total mastery of the subject at hand.

Potential MLS Career Positions

A number of different jobs are available to graduates who earn this degree. Potential positions include:

  • Serials Librarian
  • Branch Librarian
  • Library Administrator
  • Reference Librarian
  • School Media Specialist
  • Web Services Librarian
  • And more

Different specific areas of employment may also be available, and grads from these programs can handle numerous roles including:

  • Cataloging
  • Records Management
  • Acquisitions
  • Library Administration
  • Archives
  • Special Collections
  • And more

MS in Library Science Career Outlook

It's expected that 20 percent of all employed librarians will retire within the next 6 years, and already more than 56 percent of the librarians in the country are over 45. The increase of technology within libraries, plus the growing number of retirees, means that the demand for these workers is expected to rise significantly over the next decade. Graduates can find work in numerous institutions including the following.

  • Academic Libraries
  • Public Libraries
  • Music Libraries
  • Information Centers
  • Corporate Libraries
  • Government Libraries
  • Non-Profit Libraries
  • Digital Archives
  • Museums
  • School Media Centers
  • Law Libraries
  • And more

Masters in Library Science Salary

The salary range for librarians can vary quite a bit, mainly depending upon the specific type of library position that one assumes. There are numerous potential jobs that can be obtained with a master's degree, and here's a closer look at some of the different types of salaries you could earn according to positions.

SEE ALSO: Librarian Science Salary

  • Medical Librarian - $34,000 to $55,000
  • Library Director - $48,000 to $99,000
  • Librarian - $39,000 to $50,000
  • Medical Librarian $34,000 to $55,000

Again, specific salaries will vary based on things like your employer, your experience level, and your physical location within the country. However, it's important to note that because most librarian positions are attached to some major institution, whether a college, hospital, museum, or government institution. This means that in most cases positions also come with additional benefits including things like insurance, retirement options, paid time off, and more. In most cases these benefits help to increase the overall value of a position as a librarian much further than just the base salary may seem, and help make them much more attractive. See masters in library science salary outlook details.

Review Masters in Library Science Programs

Taking the time to identify the best programs for your future is important. Many colleges offer a Masters in Library Science program, and choosing the best one is important. Each college offers different things to applicants. Most of the basic curriculum is the same from school to school and program to program, and most of the programs culminate in a thesis or a practicum experience. Finding the best one for you may take some time, but it's worth doing. Here are 50 of the coolest Masters in Library Science Programs offered at the moment.

  1. University of Alabama
  2. University of Alberta
  3. State University of New York – Albany
  4. University of Arizona
  5. State University of New York, Buffalo
  6. University of British Columbia
  7. University of Los Angeles
  8. Catholic University of America
  9. University of Denver
  10. Dalhousie University
  11. Catholic University of America
  12. Florida State University
  13. Drexel University
  14. Indiana University
  15. University of Illinois
  16. Denver University
  17. Kent State University
  18. Emporia State University
  19. University of Iowa
  20. Long Island University
  21. University of Kentucky
  22. University of Maryland
  23. Louisiana State University
  24. McGill University
  25. University of Michigan
  26. University of Missouri at Columbia
  27. University of Montreal
  28. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  29. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  30. North Carolina Central University
  31. University of Oklahoma
  32. University of North Texas
  33. Pratt Institute
  34. University of Pittsburgh
  35. University of Puerto Rico
  36. University of Rhode Island
  37. City University of New York, Queens College
  38. Rutgers University
  39. St. Catherine University
  40. Wayne State University
  41. University of Tennessee
  42. University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee
  43. University of Texas at Austin
  44. Syracuse University
  45. University of Toronto
  46. University of Washington
  47. Valdosta State University
  48. University of South Carolina
  49. University of South Florida
  50. University of Southern Mississippi

The key to finding the right college and the right Masters in Library Science program from this long list is to match up your overall interests and your location with the school that is right for you. More information is available on each of the school's websites, and taking the time to visit each of them to learn more will help you determine which ones offer what you need from your education. Look into things like online learning, admission requirements, and accreditation to find the one that fits your situation the best. Librarianship is an important career field and one that is still needed, so it's well worth taking the time to learn more about how to pursue your goals.

Overall, earning a Masters in Library Science may help you move into various positions as a leader in libraries around the country. Often, the degree program is available online or partially online so that it's easier to add education to your daily life. But even in cases where the degree must be earned in traditional classrooms, it's still an important part of moving your career forward and ensuring that you qualify for the highest positions in the field of librarian work.


Sarah J

Sarah J is Chief Editor and Founder at MastersinLibraryScience.net, formerly LibraryScienceList.com (LSL). Join us today and become a community curator. We can also be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Learn more about me on Google+