Library Science Degrees

The library science major prepares students for careers as librarians and researchers. You should love books and technology because librarians must be able to navigate a vast warehouse of information available within the library and on the Internet. Librarians are organized and resourceful. They enjoy helping customers find whatever they are looking for, from an old newspaper article to the latest information on the multiverse hypotheses, and they work closely with colleagues. Library science students will develop research and computer skills, and a strong grasp and interest in current events is beneficial.

Classes and Assignments of a Library Science Major

Students of library science learn the skills they need to work as librarians or information consultants. They master the skills needed to conduct efficient and effective research, and classes cover developing, storing, finding, organizing, and using information. They learn to sift through a variety of sources, including websites, databases, periodicals, and videos. Students may also cover topics such as the history of libraries and the ins and outs of library administration. Internships allow students to gain practical field experience. During these opportunities, students may lead workshops on new research technologies or assist a student with research on topics as varied as Chinese investment in Africa, to the history of French cinema.

Degree Levels for a Library Science Major

  • Bachelor's. Some schools offer online bachelors library science degrees, but the major is more widely available at the graduate level. Most bachelor's degree programs prepare students to work as school librarians, but other positions will require further education. Most librarians pursue an area of interest, such as history or biology, as undergraduates and go on to study library science at the master's degree level. Their undergraduate degree complements the field in which they wish to work. For instance, an individual who receives a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in library science may work as a librarian at a law firm.
  • Master's. Most often, library science is pursued through online masters library science degrees. The degree is required for most librarian positions, although school librarians may also need to meet state licensing requirements. Students will learn how to classify and catalogue research materials and use cutting-edge research technologies. Other coursework may include topics such as the history of books and printing or intellectual freedom and censorship. Some programs may even require students to learn another language. Alternate names for the Master of Library Science (MLS) degree are Master of Information Science (MIS) and Master of Communication and Information Studies (MCIS).
  • Doctoral. Many schools offer online PhD library science degrees, and the degree is becoming increasingly common among professional librarians. The degree allows individuals to pursue college teaching positions, as well as top administrative jobs at college and university libraries or large public library systems.

A Future as a Library Science Major

Library science majors may work as librarians in a variety of settings, such as public libraries, educational institutions, museums, law firms, and health care facilities. They can work in a variety of specializations as well, such as acquisitions, cataloging, reference, and special collections. Regardless of their specialization, librarians must consistently update their skills by participating in training and continuing education initiatives. The average yearly earnings of librarians were $56,360 as of May 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). With experience, librarians may advance to administrative positions, serving as library directors or chief information officers. Some library science graduates may pursue related fields as research specialists, antiquarians, antiques dealers, or collectors. Of course, librarians' salaries may vary based on individual qualifications and the type, size, and location of the library at which they work.