California State Library Working Scholars updates

A college education opens doors to career growth and independence. To help California's public library employees obtain bachelor's degrees, the California State Library and Working Scholars are joining forces to offer a pilot program starting in 2019-2020.

Through a Library Services and Technology Act grant, the pilot program will offer 20 public library workers the opportunity to earn a low- to no-cost bachelor's degree. The project targets:

  • staff members who are interested in becoming librarians but are currently unable to apply to library school because they do not have a bachelor's degree, and
  • staff members who are currently ineligible for promotion and career opportunities in libraries because they do not hold a bachelor's degree.

Program Description

Working Scholars was launched by at the end of 2016 to help adult workers improve their skills, enhance career mobility, and earn a college degree. Common barriers to higher education include high cost, lack of time, and lack of confidence, and may also include challenges with physical access to a college or university. To help meet the needs of adult students, developed a completely online and mobile-first curriculum, containing over 225 college credit grant courses that are accepted at over 2,000 colleges throughout the United States. These courses are reviewed and approved by the American Council of Education and the National College Credit Recommendation Service.

Students enrolled in Working Scholars can earn a regionally accredited bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited four-year university. Classes are entirely online and students have the flexibility to take courses on their phone or computer, at their own pace, and without disruption to their current job. Upon completion of the maximum number of transferable credits through, the student will then transfer to one of the programs network of graduating universities, where they will complete their studies.

Each student is provided a success coach as their guide throughout the program. The success coach provides the following services:

  • Support across the entire academic journey
  • Motivational and academic support for the life of the program
  • Access to virtual events and workshops
  • Comprehensive review of transcripts and prior credit
  • Custom degree road map
  • Assistance with transfer to graduating university
  • Administrative support for the life of the program
  • Access to curriculum

All success coaches have extensive knowledge of the Working Scholars program and are available to assist students. (Monday - Friday 8AM to 5PM PST)

The program provides an affordable and convenient higher education pathway. The first part of the program, offered through Working Scholars, has no cost to student participants. The final part of the program, where students complete their degrees through one of several graduating universities, has a separate cost. The employee will responsible for the finishing costs at the graduating university that can range from $6,000-$14,000. These costs may be offset with tuition reimbursement or financial aid if applicable.

The pilot program for California public library staff is provided as an education benefit to selected participants. The project is supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

Getting Started

By Laura Leftwich
October 2019 updates working scholars

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