Wisconsin Masters in Library Science
Modern librarians can do far more than help you find a book. Today, library science professionals are experts in accessing information across a host of modern information delivery systems. And while they may still work in schools or public libraries, these professionals can leverage their skills with information systems into a host of other career avenues.
Regardless of where they end up, library and information science careers most often begin with a graduate degree in library science, information science or a related field. Let’s take a look at the educational options available for students in Wisconsin as well as the employment situation they’re likely to encounter once they graduate.
Wisconsin Master of Library Science Programs
The standard degree for librarians and many other types of information science professionals is a master’s in library science. But that’s not the only degree, and the ideal one depends entirely on the individual’s career goals and interests.
Common degrees in the field 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).
Students who plan to pursue careers in libraries, museums or schools would be well-advised to limit their search to programs that have been accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). This type of accreditation may be required by state law, depending on where the job is located, and it’s strongly preferred by employers regardless of the state rules that may apply.
Fortunately for students in Wisconsin, the state has two ALA-accredited programs that can help jump-start a career in library science. Let’s take a look at the details.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Institution type: Public
- Delivery method: Traditional or online
- Campus: Madison
- Total expected tuition: $33,150 online in-state and out-of-state; $31,473 traditional in-state, $63,960 traditional out-of-state
- Degrees offered: Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies
A Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies is the flagship graduate offering in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Information School. Students can earn the degree online or in-person, though some specialties are available only with the on-campus option.
Potential specialties include art, music, law, school media and more, and students both on campus and online are notoriously active in their communities, organizing and sponsoring many events.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
- Institution type: Public
- Delivery method: Traditional and online
- Campus: Milwaukee
- Master’s tuition: $12,050 traditional in-state, $17,321 traditional Illinois resident, $19,087 traditional Minnesota resident; $25,282 traditional out-of-state
- Degrees offered: Master of Library and Information Science, Master of Information Science & Technology, PhD in Information Studies
- Graduate certificates offered: Digital libraries, archives and records administration
The University of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee campus is home to an ALA-accredited Master of Library and Information Science degree that offers the flexibility of online or in-person learning options.
Possible specialties include archives, information organization, public library, information technology, digital libraries, information law, information literacy, school library certification. Joint degree options are also available, allowing students to pair their MLIS with degrees in fields like English, anthropology, geography, history, language literature, music, urban studies and healthcare informatics.
Wisconsin Library Science Outlook
For librarians in Wisconsin, the average annual salary is just under $56,000, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is lower than the national average of about $58,000 for librarians, while library workers in educational settings have an even lower average annual wage — $51,280.
Appleton offers the highest average annual wage for librarians with a typical salary of $69,480, far ahead of any other city with available data. On the other end of the spectrum, librarians and media collections specialists in Fond du Lac have the lowest average wage ($50,850).
The next several years should show robust growth in job openings, particularly for library workers in educational settings. Librarians and media collections specialist employment rates are expected to rise by 4.8% in Wisconsin, which is lower than the projected national growth rate for the job (6.4%).
But where general librarians lag, those whose jobs are based in schools and other educational settings look to be ahead of the game. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, library workers in educational, school and training settings will see job growth of 8.3%, which is among the top quarter of the country, well ahead of the national average of 5.7%.
As both information and technology continue to expand and evolve, the demand for professionals trained in all aspects of information will only grow, both in Wisconsin and across the country.