Librarian Degree Programs with Course Information

Library science degrees are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Coursework focus on acquiring information, maintaining library collections, library management and using technology to store, organize, and access information.

Essential Information

Accessing information, electronic storage and retrieval, archives, cataloging, and management are just some of the concepts taught in library and information degree programs. Many librarians hold at least a master's degree, and licensure is typically required for librarians in public schools and some public libraries. Each state sets unique certification requirements for librarians working in public school and local libraries. A master's degree, teaching certification and/or passing score on an examination may be required.

  • Program Levels in Library Science: Bachelor of Science in Library Science, Library Media, Library Informatics, Master's of Science and Information, doctorate in library and information science
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent for undergraduate. Master's degrees require a bachelor's degree in any subject, and doctorates require a master's degree in a related field.
  • Online Availability: Some degree programs are available online
  • Program Specializations: technology, archives,
  • Program Length: Bachelor's degree, 4 years. Master's degree, 2 years. Doctorate, 2+ years.
  • Other Requirements: Some public institutions require additional state certification or licensing.

Bachelor's Degree in Library Science

Some private and public universities and colleges offer bachelor's degree programs in library science as a Bachelor of Science in Library Science, Library Media, Library Informatics or similar a discipline. A high school diploma or equivalent is necessary to apply to most bachelor's programs, and some may require the applicant to have an associate's degree or college coursework before applying. Concepts such as accessing information, computer applications and organizational skills are introduced in these programs to prepare graduates for work at the entry-level in public, private, and academic libraries. The undergraduate coursework emphasizes basic skills needed to select, organize, retrieve and maintain physical and electronic resources and materials. Common courses include:

  • Internet programming basics
  • Cataloging
  • School library administration
  • Student behavior management
  • Critical reading
  • Reference resources

Master's Degree in Library Science

Master's degree programs in library science and information is the most common degree program and typically offered as a Master of Science in many colleges and universities. A bachelor's degree is required, but it can be in any field. Master's degree programs in library science cover topics related to managing and maintaining libraries, intellectual property, technology, and preserving historic texts. Subjects typically offered include:

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

Doctoral Degree in Library and Information Science

Doctoral degrees in library and information science emphasize the theoretical components of the discipline, combining traditional classroom instruction with advanced research on a specialized topic. Students with a relevant master's degree may apply to doctoral programs to further prepare for advanced careers in research, academia or archiving. Some typical courses are:

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

Popular Career Choices

Graduates with a bachelor's degree in library science may qualify for some entry level positions such as:

  • Library assistant
  • Museum technician
  • Market researcher

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some top paying industries hiring librarians with advanced degrees include:

  • Federal Executive Branch
  • Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing
  • Financial Investment
  • Legal Services
  • Computer Systems Design

Employment Outlook and Salary

Librarian positions are expected to increase at an average 7% growth rate between 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). Limited government funds and a growing use of electronic resources have influenced the job growth rate for librarians. The BLS stated that increased availability of electronic information may increase the demand for librarians in research and special libraries. In May 2012, librarians earned an annual mean salary of $58,110, reported by the BLS.

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