Online Masters Degree in School Library and Information Science

Dec 03, 2019

Essential Information

Online master's degree programs in library and information science or in education with a concentration in SLMS (school library media specialist) are typically designed for licensed teachers or those who have completed prior education coursework. Applicants will also need a bachelor's degree.

While much of the coursework can be completed via distance learning, attendance at campus orientation sessions may be required.

One of the central requirements for licensure as a public school librarian is a master's degree in library science; licensure is required in most states. Students should check their states' librarian licensing regulations before choosing an educational program.

Master of School Library and Information Science

Online SLMS students learn about all aspects of librarianship, including the relationship between library patrons (specifically children) and information, theories of learning, information systems technology and library management. Graduates are eligible to become certified as school library media specialists in a K-12 school setting, while those with an MLIS may also work in public and college libraries.

Prospective online students must have a bachelor's degree. State rules vary, but generally require that applicants also hold a teaching certificate or have completed a specific set of education courses.

Information and Requirements

An online school library master's degree takes from two to three years to complete. Fully online programs are available, but many schools require on-campus orientation and planning sessions at the beginning of the program. Student must have a computer with high-speed Internet access and e-mail.

Course Topics

Courses in this degree program are intended to prepare students to make good use of technology in the educational process. Students will learn how to both use technology and teach others to use it as well.

Resources for Children

This online class explores published visual materials for children, including the evaluation and development of a children's library collection. Also covered are various genres of children's literature, such as folklore, picture books and informational books. Information on the impact of literature on child development is presented.

Cataloging and Classification

Both historical and contemporary practices are examined in this online course. Students learn current systems and standards, and the interpretation and critical reading skills needed to classify library materials.

Multimedia Production

This online lab course explores and analyzes the use of new media as a resource for libraries. Students learn to design and create user-centered multimedia resources.

Career Information

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, job growth for librarians in general, the broader category that includes school librarians, is expected to be as fast as average for all occupations, at about six percent from 2018-2028. Since many librarians are expected to retire between 2018 and 2028, job prospects may be favorable. Competition may rise, if there are large numbers of MLIS graduates.

Annual average wages for school librarians vary by location and type of library. The average annual salary for all librarians was $61,530 as of May 2018, the BLS reported. Librarians working in colleges, universities and professional schools could expect an average of $68,070, while those working in elementary and secondary schools earned an average of $63,720.

Continuing Education Information

Some graduate certificates are available online. Graduates may also decide to pursue a doctoral degree in library and information science.

Online master's degree programs in library and information science prepare students to utilize technology in education. Graduates can use this degree to help meet their state licensure requirements for school librarians or go on to earn a doctoral degree or graduate certificate in the field.

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