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Information on Master’s Degree Programs for Librarians

Majors Overview July 22, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs for librarians and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, and continuing education choices.

Master’s Programs for Librarians

Aspiring librarians enrolled in graduate programs are typically awarded a Master of Science (M.S.) in Library and Information Science or a Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.). However, in some schools, both a Master of Science in Information Science (M.S.I.S.) and a Master of Science in Library Science (M.S.L.S.) are offered.

A Master of Arts (M.A.) in Information Resources and Library Science or a Master of Science in Information (M.S.I.) is available at other schools. All of these programs are devised to make students adept at managing a library and its services.

Additionally, students can opt for elective courses to help prepare for specific library needs. Students are taught about research methods, reference materials, and organization of materials, apart from library management. Programs may require a practicum in a library. Students in most programs must complete 36-40 credit-hours of study and can complete them within about two years. Some schools offer programs online. In most states, certification is mandatory to public school librarians; to achieve it, they need to have a teacher’s license apart from completing a librarian training program.

Passage of a standardized test is a requirement in some states. In some states, certification may also be mandatory to librarians in public libraries. Students should ensure that they enroll only in programs that meet their state’s requirements.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited school, in any major. In most schools, applicants for admission have to meet a minimum GPA standard of 3.0. Schools may waive the condition if a student has high enough GRE scores or has a graduate degree in another major.


Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Library management
•Information technology
•Information sources
•Basics of library and information services
•Research methods
•Organization of information and materials

Career Choices

Technical services, patrons’ needs, and administration are the three primary focuses of librarians. One or two librarians may perform all these tasks, in smaller libraries. But in larger libraries, just one aspect of a library’s services or collections serves as a specialization for librarians. Some libraries may have a single primary focus, such as medical, legal, or religious information. Librarians may seek employment with:

•Government agencies
•Elementary and secondary schools
•Colleges and universities
•Advertising agencies
•Public libraries
•Professional associations
•Law firms

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates may seek continuing education to help stay up-to-date with the changing library science and information technology fields. They can choose from online classes and workshops offered through state libraries, universities, colleges, and professional organizations, such as the American Library Association. Ph.D. programs in Library and Information Science are also available in some schools.

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