Before the time of social media and online books, people actually had to go to a library if they wanted to know the answer to something.
While we might not realize it today, libraries have transformed modern day society. Literacy rates have been improved, more people are informed about their rights, and communities have developed a place for engaging activities. The first libraries were created with the goal of organizing collections of documents. Overtime strategies of how to catalogue and manage information were developed, and thus the field of Library Science emerged.
Students interested in studying Library Science not only have a passion for books and reading, but also for engaging the community. These people work in libraries, museums, and schools. College Choice has compiled a list of the five best undergraduate degrees for this major. Continue on to see if these programs may be right for you.
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What type of Bachelor’s in Library Science can you get?
Although Library Science degrees are mostly at the graduate level, several schools offer a Bachelor’s degree. The most common will be a Bachelor of Science in Library Science or Information Science. These programs are usually multidisciplinary in nature and will require students to take a variety of core courses, major courses related to Library Science, and electives. Programs are offered on-campus or online.
An online program may be ideal for students who do not have the time for traditional on-campus programs. Online degrees are held via video chat and coursework is taken on one’s own time. Those who think they may be suited for an online degree should contact the school to find out what their requirements are.
Ready for a Master’s degree? See our ranking of the 35 Best Master’s in Library Science.
How much money do people with a Bachelor’s in Library Science make?
According to PayScale, those with a BS degree in Library and Information Science earn an average salary of $59,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay of librarians across the nation as of 2018 is $59,050. However, depending on location, those just starting out can earn as low as $39,799. Head librarians can make as much as $82,098.
Within this field, library directors make the most money, with a few people on PayScale reporting their income to be as much as $99,526. Other salaries in this field include: curator ($42,000 to $86,000), archivist ($45,000 to $80,000), and medical librarian ($34,286 to $55,631).
What can you do with a Bachelor’s in Library Science?
The most common career upon graduation is to become a librarian either at a school or in a community library. Although most librarians do hold a Master’s degree, some positions may be open to those with only a Bachelor’s. Other than being a librarian, any jobs relating to cataloging information, developing literacy programs, or managing information systems are career possibilities. Some examples are:
- Research analyst
- Internet trainer
- Senior program manager
What are the requirements for a Bachelor’s in Library Science?
Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED from an accredited school. Students should aim to have the strongest GPA possible, with at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Other than transcripts, schools will require letters of recommendation, personal essays, and SAT or ACT scores. Because Library Science is generally a more liberal arts degree, colleges will not require any specific courses to be taken, but showing that you have taken a variety of advanced subjects will make one’s application stand out.
Throughout the program, students will learn a variety of subjects other than just the ins and outs of libraries. They will also learn about cataloging, research methodologies, program enactment, and digital preservation. As technology in libraries is fundamental nowadays, strong skills in computers and other systems are a plus.
What are the Best Bachelor’s in Library Science?
We’ve found that the best degrees are those that offer not only fair prices, but ample flexibility and convenience as well! To find the best degrees for you, we look at the best schools in the country based on reputation, student satisfaction, program quality, and return on investment. Then we review the bottom line - just how much is this going to cost? Check out our methodology page for a more in-depth description of our data.
Once we determine all of the above, we curate a list of stellar schools for you! These not only represent the best degrees you can get, but also ones that will fit your budget. Check out our picks below!
University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi’s main campuses are located in Hattiesburg and Long Beach. This institution is known for the arts, specializing in degrees such as theatre, design, and dance. USM was founded in 1910 as a Normal College for future teachers. They began to offer baccalaureate degrees beginning in the 20s. Today there are over 15,000 enrolled students at USM, with the university as a whole generating more than $600 of annual economic impact.
A BS in Library and Information Science will prepare students to become future K-12 librarians, as well as work in a variety of other academic settings. This program is also available online. Some examples of courses you might take include:
- Cataloging Multimedia Objects
- History of the Book
- Web Design and Evaluation
Upon graduation, many students will continue on in their Master’s, which is accredited by the American Library Association.
Clarion University of Pennsylvania
Clarion University of Pennsylvania is a beautiful scenic campus with about 4,800 enrolled students. Clarion began as a seminary school in the late 1860s, but then transitioned to a normal school. Today Clarion is a non-religious public school with a small school feeling – classes typically have a student-to-faculty ratio of only 17:1.
Learn about information management and transfer through Clarion’s BS in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Library and Information Studies degree. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to fully understand the principles of libraries and develop services for specific age groups. Some of the concentration’s required courses are:
- Informed Citizenry
- On the Money: Info for Fin Literature
- Organization of Information
In addition to merit scholarships, Clarion offers endowed scholarships particularly for those studying Library Science. Interested students should head over to the financial aid website.
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania is a beautiful 289-acre campus with colleges in Business, Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Visual and Performing Arts. It was established in 1866 as a normal school for teachers. Kutztown became part of the University of Pennsylvania system in 1983. Ninety-three percent of its graduates report being enrolled in graduate education or pursuing a career. Eighty percent of all students receive some form of financial aid.
Earn either a BS in Education: Library Science or a BS in Library Science from Kutztown. Students in this program are passionate about library technologies, databases, and interactive media. While the BS in Education is primarily for future teachers, the regular BS is for non-teachers.
- Ability to become certified as a professional Library Media Specialist upon graduation
- Liberal arts program
- Sample topics: video, maker spaces, library computers
This is the only program within the state where students can earn the Library Media Specialist teaching certification that is highly regarded within other states as well.
Southern Connecticut State University
Southern Connecticut State University had its roots 125 years ago when a group of teachers and students met to create a two-year school for teachers. The school eventually began to offer Bachelor’s degrees by 1937. Southern is a place for students to develop academically as well as discover their new passions. Currently 181 undergraduate programs are offered, with an average student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1.
Through the BS in Information Management and Services degree, students will be able to understand the foundations of library science while taking other related electives. Students will learn customer service skills, be able to identify information resources, and learn the necessary techniques for information storage. Popular courses include:
- Human Computer Interactions
- Fundamentals of Data Mining
- Information Sources
There is a consortium in place where students enrolled in three other Connecticut State Universities can enroll in this degree.
University of Maine at Augusta
As the third-largest university within the state, the University of Maine at Augusta is dedicated to transforming the lives of students through higher education. Although its main campus is in the city of Augusta, UMA also has a campus in Bangor, as well as eight other centers and online. In fact, the Bachelor’s in Library Science is offered entirely through its distance learning program, connecting students with faculty through email and online video conferences. This is a great program for students whose schedule may not fit with a traditional on-campus program.
UMA’s Information and Library Science degree helps students develop the skills necessary for the modern librarian. This complete online program is full of hands-on learning, community involvement, and prepares students for a future Master’s degree. Here are some key features:
- Asynchronous (coursework can be completed on one’s own time)
- Supportive faculty
- Sample Courses: Web Page Design, Librarian as Teacher, Library Service for Teens
The ILS program and faculty are involved not just in their local community, but also around the country and around the world. For instance, they helped to develop libraries in remote areas in the country of India. They also help run adult reading programs in libraries.