Best Library Science Programs
Interested in a career in library science? Finding the right school and program for your needs is incredibly important. That's why we've put together this list of the best library science programs in the country. To do it, we took several data points from the U.S. Department of Education, testimonials from real students, and statistics from independent sources and tied them with the availability of library science clubs, scholarships, and professional associations. All of this information was weighed and balanced to come up with the 20 best schools in America to get a degree in library science. Study.com's rankings are unique in that they emphasize accessibility, affordability, and quality of education, which we considered the most important attributes in our ranking lists.
1. Clarion University of Pennsylvania
We chose Clarion University of Pennsylvania to top our list not just because of its wealth of programs- there's a B.S. in Liberal Studies with a Library and Information Studies Concentration, a Master of Science in Library Science in School Library Media and an M.S.L.S. Information and Library Science- but because of the success of its students. An impressive 97% of Clarion M.S.L.S. grads were working in their field within six months of completing the program. Students also rave about the school's internships, online programs, and the ways in which coursework prepared them for employment.
2. University of Northern Iowa
What impressed us the most about University of Northern Iowa's School Library Studies Master of Arts program was this: its classes are offered primarily online, but the University of Northern Iowa was able to keep the program rooted to a wide network of professional connections. For students, that means they'll get a well-rounded foundation in library sciences but also prepare for work in the real world immediately after graduation. Financial scholarships are available here, too, including the Rigmor Madsen Endowed Scholarship Fund, which is primarily for students in the School Library Studies at the University of Northern Iowa.
3. Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina tailors its curriculum specifically to prepare students for certification from the North Carolina Public Librarian Certification Commission. Here, students in the Master of Library Science degree program enjoy small class sizes, online collaborative coursework, and flexible scheduling that allows them to complete credits on their own time.
4. University of Iowa
We love how many choices you have for library science-related degrees at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. There's a Master of Arts in Library and Information Science with several specializations: School Media Certification, Public Digital Humanities Certificate and Informatics Certificate. There's a Master of Arts in Certificate and Book Studies, a Law Librarianship, and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. for students who want to teach in the field. Curriculum in these programs goes deep, too, especially when it comes to preparing you for the new digital age of library science.
5. University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky is one of the few schools in the country that's both accredited by the American Library Association and offers a completely online Master of Science in Library Science. Students here have the option to complete an internship in Washington, D.C. at venerated institutions like the Smithsonian Libraries, the National Library of Medicine, or the Library of Congress. The University of Kentucky offers a practicum for credit hours and a robust study abroad program in Germany.
6. Emporia State University
Looking to study library science in Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, South Dakota, Idaho, or Oregon? Emporia State University has programs available to students at campuses in all seven states! The School of Library and Information Management here has a wide range of programs including a Master of Library Science, a Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Management, and an Archives Studies Certificate Program, to name just a few. Most of these programs are tailor-made to fit their students' lives, with options for online courses, intensive on-campus sessions, and other non-traditional formatting.
7. University of Southern Mississippi
With a Bachelor of Science in Library and Information Science and a Master of Library and Information Science, students can complete both their undergraduate and graduate studies through the University of Southern Mississippi. Both programs are offered completely online. With the British Studies program option, students also have the chance to cross the pond and learn at some of Britain's most hallowed libraries and institutions of information.
8. Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
For undergraduate studies, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania has created two programs: the Bachelor of Science in Library Science and the Bachelor of Science in Education in Library Science, the latter of which is for students who would like to work as library media specialists in schools. The Department of Library and Learning Technologies also has a Master of Library Science degree program, which lets students continue their education at the graduate level and graduate ready to work at more advanced positions in the field. Kutztown University is also unique in that it offers one of the only programs in the country that can help you become a certified professional Library Media Specialist.
9. North Carolina Central University
North Carolina Central University in Durham offers well-regarded programs in this field: a Master of Information Science (which is only offered at two schools in the entire state) and a Master of Library Science, both of which are accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Students have plenty of opportunities for extra- and co-curricular activities too, including a Student Chapter of the American Society for Information Science & Technology, a Student Chapter of the ALA and Beta Phi Mu, an international honor society for library and information studies.
10. University of Tennessee
The University of Tennessee in Knoxville boasts the School of Information Sciences, which offers the only master's program in the state that's accredited by the American Library Association. And it doesn't end there; students can continue their education with the nationally recognized Ph.D. degree in Communication and Information with a concentration in Information Sciences. How well does University of Tennessee prepare its students to work in the field? Within a year of graduation, almost 89% of 2017 graduates were employed in the library sciences.
11. University of Nebraska at Omaha
Undergraduate students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha can choose from degree programs in School Libraries and Special, Public, and Academic Libraries, while graduate students have their choice of a variety of master's programs with School Library curriculum offered through Nebraska's College of Education. These programs are taught by award-winning faculty, and feature curricula that's designed to fit into students' busy schedules and focused on real-world experience. Perhaps that's why the University of Nebraska at Omaha boasts a nearly 100% job placement rate for graduates.
12. University of Central Missouri
This Warrensburg, MO school offers both a Master of Science in Library Science and Information Services and an Education Specialist degree with a specialization in Learning Resources through its School of Professional Education and Leadership. Both of these programs are offered completely online to let students complete coursework at their own pace. Hands-on work is emphasized to a great degree here; if you're already working in the field, you'll do a practicum at your school. If not, you'll have the chance to work in a local school library and synthesize everything you've learned in the program.
13. University of Central Arkansas
The American Association of School Librarians named University of Central Arkansas' Master of Library Media and Information Technologies an exemplary School Library program and we would have to agree. The University of Central Arkansas's students love the professors, the preparation provided for the Praxis test and the rewarding nature of the program itself. And, if you need help paying tuition, University of Central Arkansas connects students to a variety of scholarships exclusively for library science students including the Gladys Sachse Scholarship and the Margaret Crank Amps & Heloise Griffon Scholarships.
14. University of South Carolina - Columbia
The University of South Carolina - Columbia deserves kudos for the way it built its library science programs. South Carolina offers a Bachelor of Science in Information Science, a Master of Library and Information Science, and a Doctorate in Library and Information Science, but it's what accompanies these programs that really make the school shine. To enrich their educational experience here, students can apply for graduate assistantships, fellowships and internships, join a range of student professional organizations, get matched with a mentor in the field, and try for research/travel grants.
15. East Carolina University
East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina has been educating library professionals since 1939 and is the largest producer of graduates in the field in the state. The school's Master of Library Science emphasizes new technologies, a hands-on approach, and a curriculum that fits each student's needs. To prepare for a career in the field, students here complete at least two internships at real libraries and do a capstone project that develops their professional portfolio.
16. Indiana University - Bloomington
Graduates from Indiana University - Bloomington's Department of Information & Library Science (ILS) program have gone on to work at the Library of Congress, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and a variety of top technology companies. In fact, 95% of them find a job in the field or continue their education within a year of graduation. One reason is the wealth of growth opportunities students are given here; they're hooked into a network of more than 100 professional associations, given the chance to join eight ILS student organizations, and offered practical experience from internships, part-time jobs, and volunteer opportunities.
17. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
You can choose from a B.S. in Information Studies or a Master of Library and Information Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Both programs are accredited by the American Library Association and the master's program is the only one in the state with a blended program. Students here can combine synchronous distance learning with online courses and face-to-face sessions, and enrich their studies with hands-on learning, internships at libraries around North Carolina, research capstones, and community-based projects and connections with professionals in the field.
18. Northeastern State University
Northeastern State University's campus in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma boasts two well-regarded programs for students who want to advance their careers in library science: a Master in Library Media & Information Technology and a 23-hour certificate program. Both are offered online and on-campus, with flexible scheduling for students living busy lives. Classwork is balanced with field experience here, with a practicum in leadership and mandatory internships at local school libraries. This blend gives students a strong foundation in the discipline along with practical skills that translate in the real world.
19. Texas Woman's University
Texas Woman's University has been preparing our country's information caretakers for more than 80 years and, more impressively, the prestigious School of Library & Information Studies (LIS) has continually maintained American Library Association accreditation since 1938. There are a couple of degrees offered here: Master of Library Science Degree (with an optional School Librarian Certification Focus) and a Master of Arts in Library Science. Small class sizes ensure a more intimate learning environment and highly interactive online courses allow busy professionals to complete their studies at their own pace, making it no surprise that graduates from Texas Woman's University have gone on to win teacher of the year awards and been named ALA Spectrum Scholars. And here's the best part: this program's tuition is the most affordable for any LIS program in the Southwest.
20. Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
Undergraduate students at Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College can minor in library science and go on to earn a Master of Library and Information Science, all completely online. LSU does a fantastic job helping students with the myriad awards and scholarships available to them including the Robert D. and Barbara R. Biggs Graduate Student Award, the Beta Zeta Scholarship, and the Anna C. Burns Library and Information Science Fellowship. And, when it comes to hands-on learning, students have the chance to complete internships at high-profile organizations like the Smithsonian Institute, the Museum of the Moving Image, and National Public Radio.
To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.