Librarian Masters Degree Program Information
In the past, librarians ordered and labeled books, arranged them on library shelves and checked out books for patrons. An interest in and ability to recommend books may have been their only job requirements. Today, librarians also work with electronic databases, archives of historic records and artifacts, artwork, CDs, DVDs and more. They generally are required to have a librarian master's degree.
Master's Degree in Library and Information Science
Graduate programs for aspiring librarians typically award a Master of Library and Information Science (MILS) or a Master of Science (M.S.) in Library and Information Science. However, some colleges and universities offer either or both a Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS) and a Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS). Still, other schools confer a Master of Science in Information (MSI) or a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Information Resources and Library Science.
Despite the differences in name, librarian master's degree programs all have the goal of preparing students to manage a library and its services. Additionally, elective courses can help prepare students for specific library needs.
Applicants to librarian master's degree programs must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. Generally, this undergraduate degree may be in any area. Most schools expect an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better, although that requirement might be waived if a student's GRE scores are high enough or if he or she already has a graduate degree in another subject.
Courses that are common to most library and information science master's degree programs include:
- Basics of library and information services
- Information sources
- Information technology
- Library management
- Organization of materials and information
- Research methods
Librarians' three primary focuses include patrons' needs, technical services and administration. In smaller libraries, there may be one or two librarians who perform all of these tasks. In larger libraries, however, librarians tend to specialize in just one aspect of a library's collections or services. Additionally, some libraries have one primary focus, such as legal, medical or religious information. Employers of librarians might include the following:
- Advertising agencies
- Colleges and universities
- Elementary and secondary schools
- Government agencies
- Law firms
- Professional associations
- Public libraries
Library science and information technology are continually changing, and professional librarians need to keep up with these changes. Many workshops and online classes that provide continuing education for librarians are available, typically through colleges and universities, state libraries and professional organizations, such as the American Library Association. Additionally, some schools offer Ph.D. programs in library and information science.
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