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Master's Degree in Library Science

Programs in library science, also referred to as library and information science, cover the skills and knowledge needed to become a librarian, including book cataloging, Internet researching and information sorting. A master's degree in this field can lead to a career in a library system, working in schools, universities, private companies or other public facilities.

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Master's Degree in Library Science

Master's degree programs in library science commonly provide students with foundational information in librarianship. Some programs offer concentration areas, such as school media or reference services. Library science programs typically train students in assisting library users, evaluating resources, managing collections, organizing information, conducting and analyzing research, managing library systems and utilizing information technologies.

Many programs require students to participate in internships or media practicum placements where they explore the career while developing managerial and technical skills. By the end of their programs, students usually create research-based projects focused around their interests within library science.

Education Prerequisites

Master's degree programs in library science require applicants to have completed a bachelor's degree. Some schools may also ask applicants to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, letters of recommendation or personal statements as well.

Course Topics

Students in library science programs study information related to digital literacy, school media, reference techniques, leadership and media technologies. Programs commonly offer a wide range of courses that address topics such as:

  • Information environments
  • Management principles
  • Collection development
  • Cataloging
  • Information sciences
  • Reference services
  • Information literacy
  • Digital libraries
  • Classification

Popular Career Options

Graduates who attain master's degrees in library science might work in public libraries, school library media centers, technical libraries, research libraries, government agencies, museums or non-profit organizations. Possible job titles include:

  • School library media specialist
  • College librarian
  • Archivist
  • Curator

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of librarians is expected to grow by seven percent and archivists should experience an increase of 12% during the 2010-2020 decade (www.bls.gov). In May of 2012, the median annual salary for archivists was $47,340 and $55,370 for librarians, as estimated by the BLS.

Continuing Education and Certificate Programs

Individuals may opt to pursue doctorate degrees in library and information studies or a related field. Doctorate programs offer research-based educational opportunities for individuals to explore their interests in the field. Another option for graduates is to obtain certificates in a specific area of library science, such as school library media or museum studies.

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