If a student loves books, research and helping others find the resources they need for learning then a career in library science may be the perfect choice. Online programs exist for a Bachelor of Library Science degree and a Master of Library Science degree. With the many technological advances of today libraries have undergone dramatic changes. Less emphasis is placed on the printed word while more is placed on digital and online materials. Students who possess these degrees will have the knowledge and skills needed to develop, store, find, categorize and use types of information in libraries as well as businesses and organizations.
Library Science Bachelor’s Degree Online
A Bachelor of Library Science degree is liberal arts in nature with a strong emphasis on arts, humanities and language. General studies courses in literature and writing are also included as are social science electives in sociology, psychology and geography. The online programs allow students to study and complete assignments at their convenience using online course delivery programs like Blackboard. Class discussions and assignments are completed this way to allow students to interact with fellow students and professors.
Since most library careers require an MLS degree many colleges that offer the Bachelor’s degree offer the MLS as well to help ensure continuity of studies. Some typical courses in a Bachelor of Library Science degree are:
- Library Administration
- Library Material Selection
- Cataloging and Classification
- Library Automation
- Children’s Media
- Information Services and Sources
These courses give a future librarian a good foundation of knowledge upon which to build a career.
Library Science Bachelor’s Degree Careers
Some graduates can work as school librarians if they have a teaching license, but the majority of BLS students continue on to the MLS degree. Those who go directly into the workforce can find employment as:
- Library Paraprofessionals
- Online Researchers
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that while employment growth in library science will be slow through 2016 opportunities will be available in private corporations and non-profit organizations. Graduates can create databases or websites to organize information for employer or clients.
Library Science Master’s Degree
The American Library Association (ALA) is the main accrediting organization in the United States and has 50 schools that offer online MLS degrees. The two types of Master’s degrees are Master of Library Science and the Master of Arts in Library Science. The MLS degree is for working in public or academic libraries while the Master of Arts deals with honing one’s research and analysis skills.
Applicants to these programs need to possess a Bachelor’s degree and have taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). A computer with internet access, media software and e-mail are needed to complete assignments and upload lectures.
Library Science Master’s Degree Courses
A Master’s program can be completed in two years but can require as many as 40 semester hours. Common courses include:
- Reference Sources and Services
- Developing Library Collections
- Library Media Center Management
These degrees also allow students to select an area of specialization. Some common ones are:
- School Library Media
- Digital Libraries
- Database Design
Library Science Master’s Degree Careers
Graduates can work in administration, technical services and user services. Administrators manage libraries and personnel, technical services catalogs and organizes materials and user services involves circulation and reference departments. Others work as school librarians or archivists in museums or corporations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 8% growth through 2018 for librarians with average yearly salaries of $53,000.