Prospective students who wish to pursue an online bachelor's degree program in library science may consider online programs in liberal or general studies with a library science concentration. Library informatics programs may also be available through distance learning. Some of these programs are available fully online, while others are offered in hybrid formats that require campus visits. It is also possible to take general education courses or earn an online associate's degree in the field.
Information and Requirements
An online library science program is different from one that takes place on campus, in that students typically log in at their own convenience. However, it is also common for online library science courses to require occasional campus visits. Students complete class discussions, assignments and other work through an online course delivery system, such as Blackboard. In addition, interaction with peers and instructors can take place through video conferencing. Students may utilize learning aids such as videos, CDs and resources accessed via the online school library.
A bachelor's degree program calls for completion of general education courses in such subjects as composition, math and science. Some online library science programs are designed as degree completion programs for students who possess an associate degree or who have completed roughly 60 semester credits. Typical major courses required for a bachelor's degree in library science include:
- Introduction to librarianship
- Library material selection
- Library administration
- Library media center automation
- Information services and sources
- Media for adolescents
- Children's media
- Cataloging and classification
Graduates with degrees from an American Library Association accredited program will have an advantage in the job search, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Furthermore, K-12 school librarians generally need a state teaching license as well as a bachelor's degree in order to serve as school librarians.
Library Science graduates often develop the critical thinking, communication and research skills that are valuable to a variety of employers and industries. Opportunities for employment may include the following positions:
- Online researchers
- Library paraprofessionals
- Online content editors
- Information services assistants
The BLS predicts as fast as average job growth of 6% for librarians between 2018 and 2028 with the best career opportunities in non-traditional settings, such as consulting firms, private corporations and nonprofit organizations.
The majority of careers in academic and public librarianship require advanced degrees. As a result, many schools that offer online bachelor's degree programs in library science also offer online Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) programs, making it easier for students to continue their studies. A master's degree is the typical requirement for a would-be librarian.
In online bachelor's degree programs that cover library science, students are generally required to take a wide range of liberal arts courses, in addition to career-focused courses that prepare students for work in libraries. Upon graduation, it is common to pursue a higher degree in order to improve job prospects within this increasingly competitive field.