Library science professionals are skilled in helping library patrons find the information they’re looking for, whether it be in hard copy or electronic format. They are also skilled organizers who help arrange library resources in a sensible way and manage databases that keep track of library materials. Library science is a fitting field of study for individuals who love reading and research, enjoy working with the public, and have an aptitude for working with technology. While librarians have traditionally prepared for their career through campus-based library science programs, online degree programs for library science are making it more convenient for students to complete a library science degree on a more flexible schedule. Online degree programs in library science are available at the following degree levels:
Online Associate Degree Programs for Library Science
An online degree program in library science at the associate degree level is geared toward those who would like to prepare for roles as paraprofessionals or library technicians. An associate degree program is also a good means of getting general education requirements out of the way at a lower cost at a community college in preparation for transferring into a four-year program. Students may take courses in library technology, information organization, reference resources and services, and information literacy. The best online degree programs in library science will allow students ample opportunities to work with the technology used in actual libraries.
Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Library Science
Online bachelor degree programs in library science are a good choice for students who wish to gain a solid undergraduate foundation for future graduate study. While some programs may be offered entirely online, others are offered in a blended, or hybrid, format that requires students to be on campus from time to time for certain parts of the program. For example, the University of Nebraska’s Bachelor of Science in Education with a specialization in library science is set up in blended format. Students in this program often take courses in cataloging and classification, children’s and young adult literature, reference resources, special libraries, and library management. Such programs may conclude with a practicum in which students conduct supervised work in actual libraries in order to gain hands-on experience.
Online Master’s Degree Programs for Library Science
Online masters degree programs are the best choice for students who wish to become full-fledged librarians, as the master’s degree has become the minimum degree requirement in the field. The best online degree programs in library science are accredited by the American Library Association and allow students a high level of interaction with faculty as they move through the program. Course work will equip students with the technological and research abilities they need to become skilled information professionals. For example, San Jose State University’s online master’s degree in library science includes core courses like Information and Society, Information Retrieval, Information Organizations and Management, and Research Methods in Library and Information Science. Such programs tend to incorporate a master’s thesis and an internship with a library or information center.
Online Doctoral Degree Programs for Library Science
Doctoral-level online college degree programs in library science are not widely available, as doctoral study is often best accomplished with the close face-to-face interaction between students and faculty that takes place in a traditional university setting. Doctoral degree programs in library science are a good fit for students who wish to pursue careers in academia and become university professors, as well as students who wish to pursue top-level jobs at renowned libraries or in research and development. Doctoral programs are highly specialized, allowing students to explore a particular area within library and information science, such as archives and preservation, information storage and retrieval, or economics and policy. Students take courses that reflect their specialization as well as courses in research design. Major milestones in a doctoral program include a comprehensive examination and the completion of the student’s dissertation that showcases their research.Online Degree Programs in Library Science in the Work Place
Librarians work in numerous settings including public libraries, academic libraries, school libraries, and special libraries (such as law or medical libraries), and perform a variety of roles, working in reference, electronic resources, collections, school media, and more. Management positions include library managers and directors, and typically require a substantial amount of experience in the industry. Librarians reported a median yearly salary of $54,500 in May 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Salaries vary significantly based on a librarian’s experience, location, and the size and type of library they work for. Slower than average job growth is expected over the current decade, with only 7% employment growth projected between 2010 and 2020, the BLS explains.