There are multiple master's degree options for aspiring librarians. Schools may offer a Master of Science (M.S.) in Library Science, Library and Information Science, or Information Science. Others may offer a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Information Resources and Library Science. All of these two-year programs provide instruction in library administration, patron assistance, and technology, and some are offered exclusively online. In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree with, in some cases, a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Master's Degrees in Library Science
Master's degree programs emphasize advanced studies in library management, research methods, reference materials, and library organization. A practicum in a library may be required. Courses that are common to most library and information science master's degree programs include:
- Basics of library and information services
- Information sources
- Information technology
- Library management
- Organization of materials and information
- Research methods
Librarians' three primary focuses are patron needs, technical services, and library 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. Some libraries have one primary focus, such as legal, medical or religious information, or cater to one type of patron, such as students. Graduates of master's degree programs can seek employment in any of the following organizations:
- Advertising or government agencies
- Colleges and universities
- Corporations, professional associations and law firms
- Elementary and secondary schools
- Public libraries and museums
Library science and information technology are constantly changing, and many professional librarians seek to keep up with advances in the field. Continuing educational opportunities in the form of workshops and online classes are typically offered through colleges and universities, state libraries, or professional organizations, such as the American Library Association.
For students who want to pursue advanced studies, some schools offer Ph.D. programs in library and information science. Those who want to become public school librarians may need to acquire a teacher's license, depending on state requirements.
In conclusion, a master's degree in the field of library or information science provides students with the skills they need for career success in a wide range of library settings.