Library media specialists help students and teachers use library resources in elementary and secondary schools. Degree programs in this field are generally only available at the master's level. Aspiring students must possess a bachelor's degree, and some programs specifically require a degree in education and ask that applicants already possess teacher's certification. However, some schools offer accelerated options for individuals who already have teacher certification.
These master's programs take one to two years to complete, and online courses are available. Upon graduation, a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or Master of Science in Information (MSI) with library media endorsement is awarded.
Library Media Specialist Degree
Students learn basic principles of library science as well as how to provide these services to children. Library media course topics include:
- Library media collection development and management
- Child and youth media
- School libraries and curriculum
- Library professional practices
- Information technology and resource organization
- Online services, web development, classification and cataloging
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have specific information on school library media specialists but does provide information on the broader category of librarians. As reported in May 2015, the median annual wage for librarians was $56,880. The BLS also estimates a slower than average growth of 2% for librarian employment in the decade 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov).
Licensure requirements vary by state; however, most states require public school librarians to hold teacher certification and several states require a master's degree in education with library media specialization. Some states also require completion of an assessment in the specialty. Although these degree programs are designed to prepare candidates for licensure, prospective library media specialist students should check on their state's specific requirements to ensure they'll receive region-appropriate preparation.
Individuals with an interest in a career as a library media specialist may pursue the subject as part of a Master of Library and Information Science or a Master of Science in Information with library media endorsement.