Librarian Degree Programs with Course Information

Learn about degree programs in library science. Find out about the degree levels, prerequisites, popular careers, employment outlook and continuing education options for those entering this field.

Essential Information

Degrees in library science and related majors are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Students can learn about acquiring information, maintaining library collections and using technology applications to organize information. Some programs may be available in an online format.

In most cases, librarians hold at least a master's degree, and licensure is typically required for librarians in public schools and some public libraries. Additional licensure requirements for public school librarians beyond a master's degree may include teaching certification.

Bachelor's Degree in Library Science

Bachelor's degree programs in library science teach students about accessing information, computer applications and organizational skills. Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions at libraries or information centers. These bachelor's degrees are offered at some private and public universities and colleges as a Bachelor of Science in Library Science, Library Media, Library Informatics or similar a discipline.

Educational Prerequisites

A high school diploma or its equivalent is required for admission into a college or university. Some library science bachelor's degree programs require students to have an associate's degree or minimal amount of college coursework to gain entry into the bachelor's degree program.

Program Coursework

The coursework in library science bachelor's degree programs emphasizes skills needed to organize and maintain volumes of educational resources. Students learn how to choose, organize and retrieve appropriate materials. Students usually focus on the subjects noted below:

  • Internet programming basics
  • Cataloging
  • Curricula development
  • School library administration
  • Student behavior management
  • Critical reading
  • Information for society
  • Reference resources

Popular Career Choices

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), librarians need a master's degree. However, graduates with a bachelor's degree in library science may qualify for some entry level positions such as:

  • Library assistant
  • Museum technician
  • Market researcher

Master's Degree in Library Science

Master's degree programs in library science and information train students in library and information management. Students learn to acquire, organize and maintain library collections using various computer applications. The degree is typically offered as a Master of Science and several colleges and universities offer them.

Educational Prerequisites

A bachelor's degree is required for admission into a library science master's degree program. Although, a specific major isn't usually necessary.

Program Coursework

Master's degree programs in library science cover topics related to managing and maintaining libraries, but also focus on advanced subjects dealing with intellectual property and preserving historic texts. Students also learn advanced computer software used to catalog digital information resources. The following subjects are typically offered:

  • Research methods
  • Library systems
  • Library management
  • Information organization
  • Library technology systems
  • Information retrieval

Employment Outlook and Salary

According to the BLS, librarian positions are expected to increase at an average eight percent growth rate between 2008-2018. Limited government funds and a growing use of electronic resources have influenced the job growth rate for librarians. The BLS stated that the fastest growing job opportunities for librarians are in settings such as, consulting firms, private businesses and information agencies. Companies use these professionals to assist with their information and organization needs. In May 2010, librarians earned an annual mean salary of $56,360, reported the BLS.

Continuing Education

Each state sets certification requirements for librarians working in public school and local libraries, however eligibility requirements vary for each state, according to the BLS. A master's degree, teaching certification and/or passing score on an examination may be required.

Doctoral Degree in Library and Information Science

Doctoral degrees in library and information science emphasize the theoretical components of the discipline. Students learn and conduct advanced research about how people obtain and use information and how it affects the world. Students prepare for careers in research, academia and information archival. A master's degree in library science or a relevant field is typically required for admission into a doctoral program.

Program Coursework

Library science doctoral students usually spend the initial portion of their schooling receiving classroom instruction. Some programs offer concentrations so students can specialize in a certain aspect of library science. The majority of students' time is spent on research projects. Some typical courses include:

  • Research methods
  • Library science research issues
  • Information ethics
  • Teaching practice
  • Library and information science theory development

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