Master's Degree in Library Science
Learn about the requirements and courses for earning a master's degree in library science. Find out about some popular career choices, the employment outlook, salary trends and continuing education in library specialties.
Master's degree programs in library science, also referred to as library and information science, cover the foundational knowledge needed to become a librarian, including how to build and manage a collection, catalog books, do Internet research and sort information. Students also learn how to assist library users, evaluate resources, and use evolving information technologies. Some programs offer concentration areas, such as school media or reference services.
Many library science programs require internships or media practicum placements. Students must usually complete a research-based capstone project based on their particular interests. A master's degree in library science can lead to a career in a library system, as well as work in schools, universities, museums or private companies.
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.
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
- Information sciences
- Reference services
- Information literacy
- Digital libraries
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
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 11% during the 2012-2022 decade (www.bls.gov). In May of 2013, the median annual salary for archivists was $49,110 and $55,690 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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