Best Master’s in Library Science Degrees

Earning a master's degree in library science can be the start of a career in librarianship. Here, we list the best library science degrees.

Best Master’s in Library Science Degrees

Are you ready to find your fit?

What kind of Master in Library Science degree should you get?

Librarians need many skills. They also benefit from earning a master's degree in library science. This multidisciplinary field requires literary, information technology, and research knowledge.

During their graduate studies, degree-seekers hone their leadership skills and database knowledge. They also learn how to create budgets and maintain library property. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 33% of librarians work at schools and 29% work for the local government.

Our ranking lists the best library science degrees. Read on to learn the costs and benefits of the degree, including job outlook for graduates.

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Questions About Library Science

Are librarian jobs in demand?

The BLS projects jobs for librarians to grow 9% from 2020-2030, which is about as fast as average for all occupations.

What can I do with a library science degree other than becoming a librarian?

Library science degree-holders may also work as archivists, teachers, or database administrators.

What do people do with a library science degree?

Many professionals earn this degree to become librarians or educators. However, degree-seekers hone a variety of skills that qualify them for other jobs.

Featured Online Library Science Programs

Why Get a Degree in Library Science?

Earning a master's in library science degree helps graduates explore their passion for sharing knowledge. Librarians often learn new things every day and empower others to make discoveries. They constantly discover new books to read and different ways to uncover answers.

Librarians also earn above-average salaries. Librarians and library media specialists earn a median $61,190 annually, according to the BLS. This figure exceeds the median annual salary of $45,760 for all occupations.

Many schools offer their library science degree online. An online format provides convenience and flexibility. Learners can enroll in their preferred program without relocating.

How Much Does a Library Science Degree Cost?

Costs vary for master's in library science degrees. Master's degrees cost an average of $66,340, according to EducationData.org. They may range in price from $30,000-$120,000. Tuition depends on factors like school type and learners' residency status. In general, students attending in-state, public schools pay the most affordable tuition.

In addition to tuition and fees, degree-seekers may need to pay for access to online databases and research tools. Online learners may also need to buy a more reliable computer or upgrade their internet.

How Much Do Library Science Majors Make?

Librarians earn varying salaries depending on years of experience and where they work. These professionals with less than one year of experience earn an average of $44,000 annually, according to April 2022 Payscale data. Librarians with more than 20 years of experience earn $61,000.

The BLS also offers data on how salaries for librarians vary by employer and location. For example, librarians at colleges and universities earn a median ​​$62,550 annually. Their peers at elementary and secondary schools earn $61,640. Librarians in New York earn a median $76,310 annually. Floridian librarians only earn ​​$58,740.

Courses in Library Science Programs

A typical master's in library science degree requires about 60 credits. Most full-time learners can finish the program in about two years. Accelerated programs help students graduate sooner. Learners who work full time can enroll part time.

Online library science programs may run synchronously or asynchronously. Synchronous classes require set class meeting times. Students participate in discussions in real-time. Asynchronous classes let students watch recorded lectures and complete assignments at any time.

  • Library Organization

    Degree-seekers study the Library of Congress Classification System and the Dewey Decimal Classification System. They learn about the pros and cons of each system. Learners also discover how to use software that tracks borrowed and returned books. Part of the class focuses on how to protect archival materials.
  • Research in the Library Profession

    This class teaches learners how to navigate a library catalog and database. It teaches best practices for primary and secondary usage. Learners discover how to detect biases in all types of resources. They also learn how to communicate research instructions to library visitors.
  • Information Technology and Library Science

    Most master's in library science degrees include an information technology (IT) course. Students learn how to troubleshoot common computer issues. They also learn how to perform routine maintenance on computer hardware and software. Some IT classes cover types of library catalog software.

How to Become a Librarian

Earning a bachelor's degree is the first step toward becoming a librarian. Most aspiring librarians earn a bachelor's degree in a subject like education, English, literature, or computer science. During their undergraduate studies, many students pursue an internship or part-time job at their local library.

Some librarians enter the workforce immediately after earning a bachelor's degree. However, most librarian management positions require a master's degree. Students should consider programs that hold accreditation from the American Library Association. This organization conducts quality audits on library science programs.

After earning a master's degree in library science, many graduates apply for jobs at local government libraries. Others work at schools or colleges.

Career and Salary Outlook for Library Science Professionals

The BLS projects jobs for all education, training, and library occupations to grow 10% from 2020-2030. Professionals in this field earn a median $57,220 annually.

Many graduates with a library science degree pursue careers as librarians. However, this multidisciplinary degree prepares learners for several careers. See below for three potential careers for degree-holders. Click the chart's embedded links to learn more about each role.

  • Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers

    These professionals oversee historical collections. They protect and preserve primary sources, art, and artifacts alike. People who work in this role also look for new items to add to collections. They may also conduct research on items they add to the collection. Colleges, libraries, and museums hire these workers.
  • Library Science Postsecondary Teachers

    High school librarians facilitate an optimal learning environment. They help learners find books to read for fun and for academic purposes. They teach students how to research using databases properly. They also show them how to locate books using the Dewey Decimal System.
  • Management Analysts

    Since a library science degree teaches learners how to manage a library, graduates may end up managing other organizations. Management analysts evaluate organizations and suggest ways to increase overall performance. These analysts frequently travel to meet with clients. Others offer virtual services.
Salary Potential and Growth Rate
Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2020-2030)
Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers $50,120 19%
Library Science Postsecondary Teachers $79,640 12%
Management Analysts $93,000 14%

Source: BLS

Best Master's in Library Science Degrees

  1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Location

    Champaign, IL

    Tuition

    $16683

    Overview

    The University of Illinois is a renowned public research system. And the Urbana–Champaign campus is its flagship school. UIUC is home to nearly 50,000 students studying in one of the 250 academic programs.

    Features

    The MS in Library and Information Science degree at UIUC is uniquely customizable. After completing the two required core courses in Information Organization and in Libraries, Information, and Society, you can then fully tailor the program. This program can be completed on campus or online. Some of the classes you can take at UIUC include:

    • Computing in the Humanities
    • Design Info Interfaces
    • Computers and Cultures
    • Digital Media Ethics

    Notables

    UIUC is a founding member of the prestigious Big Ten Conference and a Public Ivy. It is ranked 52nd among all national universities by U.S. News & World Report. And it is consistently included among “America’s Best Colleges” rankings from U.S. News, Forbes, and more.

  2. Rutgers University
    Location

    New Brunswick, NJ

    Tuition

    $15614

    Overview

    Rutgers University is located in New Brunswick, New Jersey. It is a public research university with nearly 70,000 students, making it New Jersey’s largest school. Rutgers offers many degree programs, but it is most known for its education and research in English, philosophy, library science, and business.

    Features

    Rutgers offers a Master of Information program that is founded in library science but also includes a wider context for understanding information. You will learn the value of preserving information artifacts as well as engage trending and new issues in information consumption. Some of the classes you’ll take at Rutgers include:

    • Human Information Behavior
    • Interface Design
    • Foundations of Informatics and Design
    • Learning Theory, Inquiry, and Instructional Design

    Notables

    Rutgers is a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance and the Association of American Universities. Campus is home to several prominent research facilities, archives, and museums. U.S. News & World Report ranks Rutgers 69th among all national universities.

  3. Drexel University
    Location

    Waco, TX

    Tuition

    $39021

    Overview

    Drexel University is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a private school that was originally founded to provide education in science, industry, and technology. Though today it offers over 170 undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of fields.

    Features

    The MS in Library and Information Science degree at Drexel is organized into fifteen classes. In addition to completing coursework in management of information organizations and digital data, you will also have the opportunity to specialize in one of three areas. Drexel’s specializations include:

    • Digital Technology Services
    • Information and Data Services
    • User and Community Services

    Notables

    Drexel is known for its co-op (cooperative education) program. Students combine their education with up to 18 months of paid, full-time work in a field directly related to their studies. This means Drexel students graduate with plenty of hands-on experience when entering the workforce.

  4. The Catholic University of America
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Tuition

    $36009

    Overview

    Located in Washington, DC, the Catholic University of America (CUA) is a pontifical university. CUA is relatively small with only 6,500 combined undergraduate and graduate students. But CUA is organized into a dozen colleges and schools through which it offers a ton of academic opportunities.

    Features

    The library science program at CUA is one-of-a-kind and ideal for those who want a faith-based education. CUA offers an MA in Library and Information Science and Religious Studies degree. This joint program allows students to study information, data, and archives as they relate to theology and church history. If this isn’t up your alley, CUA also offers joint library sciences in:

    • Health Information
    • Law
    • History
    • Musicology
    • And more

    Notables

    CUA is the only school in the country to be founded by the U.S. Catholic bishops. It is nationally and globally ranked by ARWU, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and more. Campus, unsurprisingly, hosts a number of Catholic-affiliated research centers and facilities, such as the Center for Advancement of Catholic Education.

  5. University of Washington
    Location

    Seattle, WA

    Tuition

    $10068

    Overview

    One of the best schools in the Pacific Northwest, the University of Washington (UW) is located in Seattle. It is a public university and one of the largest on the West Coast with over 46,000 students. UW also boasts one of the largest library systems in the world.

    Features

    You can earn a Master in Library and Information Science degree either online or on-campus through the University of Washington. Both programs offer full training in library management. And UW gives students the opportunity to specialize in law library science. Graduates from UW have gone on to become:

    • Academic Librarians
    • Archive Specialists
    • Law Librarians
    • User Experience Managers

    Notables

    UW is a flagship university, a Public Ivy, and well-ranked. It is a top-tier research university and a member of the elite Association of American Universities. UW is considered as having one of the best library and information sciences programs in the nation (2nd according to U.S. News & World Report).

  6. Indiana University
    Location

    Bloomington, IN

    Tuition

    $12621

    Overview

    Indiana University is a prestigious university system, and its Bloomington campus is considered one of the best schools in the nation. IU Bloomington is a public research university with over 40,000 students.

    Features

    IU Bloomington offers a MS in Library Science degree that specifically focuses on evaluating, preserving, and collecting data and documents. This program emphasizes the social and cultural services aspects of library science. And it can be paired with nearly a dozen specializations. Among them:

    • Art Librarianship
    • Digital Curation
    • Music Librarianship
    • Rare Books and Manuscripts

    Notables

    A Public Ivy and flagship university, IU Bloomington is top-ranked. U.S. News & World Report ranks it 75th among all national universities. And it is globally ranked by ARWU, Times Higher Education, and more.

  7. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Location

    Chapel Hill, NC

    Tuition

    $10077

    Overview

    The Chapel Hill campus (UNC) in the larger University of North Carolina System is the leading university. It is one of the nation’s oldest schools, as it began enrolling students in the eighteenth century. Today nearly 30,000 students attend UNC.

    Features

    UNC’s MS in Library Science degree trains students to design and manage libraries and information centers. As a student you will learn the ins and outs of new service technologies, archival science, effective communication, and more. Graduates from UNC have found work in diverse settings, among them:

    • Public libraries
    • Government and nonprofit libraries
    • Information centers
    • Museums

    Notables

    UNC is known for its vibrant research activities, especially in the areas of health, medicine, sustainability, and information science. In fact, UNC has one of the largest library holdings of any university with over 7 million collected volumes. UNC is ranked 30th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

  8. University of Maryland, College Park
    Location

    College Park, MD

    Tuition

    $15757

    Overview

    The University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) is located just north of Washington, DC. It is the leading school in the greater University System of Maryland. UMD is known for its many research relationships and affiliations with the U.S. government.

    Features

    At UMD students gain hands-on experience while earning a MS in Library and Information Science degree. In addition to the field requirement, students can also specialize in archives and digital curation, school library science, or they can create an individualized program plan. All students, however, complete the following core:

    • Serving Information Needs
    • Achieving Organizational Excellence
    • Creating Information Infrastructures

    Notables

    UMD is a well-decorated university. It is ranked 60th among all national universities by U.S. News & World Report. But it is also considered one of the “Smartest Public Colleges in America” by Business Insider. And The Princeton Review designates it as a “Top School for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”

  9. Florida State University
    Location

    Talahassee, FL

    Tuition

    $16506

    Overview

    Florida State University (FSU) is located in Tallahassee. It is a leading member in the greater State University System of Florida and one of the oldest established universities in Florida. Over 40,000 students attend research-driven FSU.

    Features

    FSU offers a MS in Information degree in which one can concentrate in library science. This program is a mix of classes on information architecture, services, youth outreach, and more. There are ten ways to further specialize at FSU, making this a highly customizable degree program. Classes include:

    • Digital Media: Concepts and Production
    • Design and Production of Networked Multimedia
    • Digital Libraries
    • Introduction to Data Networks

    Notables

    FSU is a sea and space-grant university, meaning it is very involved in research. In fact, there are more than 100 research centers, facilities, labs, and institutes located on campus. FSU is ranked 81st among all national universities by U.S. News & World Report.

  10. University of Michigan
    Location

    Ann Arbor, MI

    Tuition

    $16107

    Overview

    The University of Michigan (UM) is located just west of Detroit in Ann Arbor, Michigan. UM is a renowned research institution and a leader in STEM education. Nearly 45,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students attend UM.

    Features

    The University of Michigan offers a Master of Science in Information degree that can be easily paired with specialization in library science. This is a exhaustive program that takes at least two years of full-time study to complete. UM graduates have gone on to become:

    • Academic Librarians
    • Archivists
    • Digital Curators
    • Public Librarians

    Notables

    The University of Michigan is a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance. It is ranked among the top 50 best universities in the U.S., by Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and Washington Monthly.

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