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There are several types of master's degree programs for librarians, but all offer instruction in how to best assist patrons, use technology and perform library administration. The programs are offered at colleges and universities, and take about two years to complete.
Graduate programs for aspiring librarians typically award a Master of Library and Information Science or a Master of Science (M.S.) in Library and Information Science. However, some colleges and universities offer a M.S. in Library Science, a M.S. in Information Science, a M.S. in Information Science or a Master of Arts in Information Resources and Library Science.
In most states, public school librarians must be certified, which may require holding a teacher's license in addition to completing a librarian training program. Students should make sure any program they are considering meets their state's requirements.
All available master degree programs have the goal of preparing students to manage a library and its services. Students learn about reference materials, research methods and organization of materials, in addition to studying library management. A practicum in a library may be required. Courses that are common to most library and information science master's degree programs include:
Librarians' three primary focuses include patrons' needs, technical services and administration. In smaller libraries, there may be one or two librarians who perform all of these tasks. In larger libraries, however, librarians tend to specialize in just one aspect of a library's collections or services. Additionally, some libraries have one primary focus, such as legal, medical or religious information. Employers of librarians might include the following:
Library science and information technology are continually changing, and professional librarians need to keep up with these changes. Many workshops and online classes that provide continuing education for librarians are available, typically through colleges and universities, state libraries and professional organizations, such as the American Library Association. Additionally, some schools offer Ph.D. programs in library and information science.