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Coursework in Master’s Degree Programs in Library Science

Majors Overview July 7, 2015

Prior to enrolling in electives for school media, academic library, public library, or other specialized tracks, students will have to take core classes in master’s degree programs in library science. Those interested should look for programs with the American Library Association’s (ALA) accreditation.

Information on Library Science Programs

Individuals who seek careers as librarians would benefit from earning a master’s degree in information studies or library science. Students take 1-2 years to complete master’s degrees; schools offer their degrees under varying names. In 2013, there were 57 library and information science master’s degree programs offered in the United States (ALA). Obtaining teaching certification additionally will enable individuals to seek public school librarian careers.

The following are some typical courses in a master’s degree program in library science or information studies.

Coursework in Cataloging and Classification of Materials

This class focuses on Library of Congress subject headings, Dewey decimal classification, and machine-readable cataloging (MARC) formats. Major concepts in classification and cataloging, historical overviews of prominent trends and figures, and the use and role of technology are in the coursework. Current topics in cataloging and classification are also in the program coursework. Students typically perform hands-on work.

Coursework in Children’s Literature and Library Materials

Library science students seeking to serve the entertainment and educational needs of children might have to complete this course. Coursework involves the survey of major writers, themes, and trends in children’s literature, suitable for each age group. Courses include collection development of audiovisual materials, literary criticism, and strategies to reach out to age-appropriate people.

Coursework in Collection Development

In this core course, students learn about concepts that they must be familiar with in order to build and maintain collections of library materials. The course introduces a variety of collection development tools, in addition to techniques for managing electronic, audiovisual media, and print collections. Budgeting, working collaboratively, and challenged materials may also be discussed by students.

Coursework in Foundations in Information Technology for Libraries

These courses are a requirement for some programs. The technologies that working librarians are likely to see are also in the coursework. Coursework requires students to complete projects where they learn to budget, plan, implement, measure, and evaluate a variety of technologies. Coursework covers topic areas such as social media networking, computer troubleshooting and networking, Internet technology, and telecommunications.

Coursework in Information Sources and Services

Students enrolled in a library science degree program often take this required class early. The course introduces students to information and reference services. They become adept at identifying and using online, print, audiovisual and electronic sources to meet the needs of library patrons. Students also learn about the principles of development, measurement and evaluation of the information services that will be provided by them as working librarians.

Coursework in Young Adult Literature and Library Materials

This class may be a requirement for students in the school media or public library tracks. The focus of lessons is on collection development and historical overviews of electronic, print, audiovisual and online materials that meet the recreational and educational needs of adolescents. Students also discuss outreach services, in addition to major trends, genres and authors related to young adult literature.

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