Best Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees

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Have you been in a library lately? Libraries today no longer fit the stereotype of long rows with shelves of books and No Talking signs.

Best Online Master's in Library Science Badge

Instead, walking into a modern library, you will see spaces filled with dynamic programming and new technologies. Up-to-date research methods are being incorporated at an exciting pace.

Ebooks, digital archives, computer training for patrons is commonplace. Librarians are active instructors, facilitators of user services, and information leaders in their communities.

The academic field of library science, where students go to learn the foundations of librarianship, has evolved to keep up with the modern library. Academic programs equip students with best practices for research, how to create lifelong learning, reference, administration, technology, organization and more.

For those interested in information management and librarianship, a career in library science is a natural choice.

Top 10 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees

Rank School Location
1 University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI
2 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
3 Kent State University Ashtabula, OH
4 Auburn University Auburn, AL
5 University of Washington Bothell, WA
6 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
7 Rutgers University Camden, NJ
8 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
9 University of South Carolina Aiken, SC
10 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY

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What do I need to enter the field of Library Science?

To work in this exciting field, most employers require applicants to have completed a Master’s Degree in Library Science, usually from a program that has accreditation from the American Library Association. Choosing a specialization in your degrees such as Library Management, Digital Librarianship or K-12 School Librarianship gives applicants an even stronger endorsement. Internships and certificates included on resumes are especially appealing to future employers. Teaching certification is almost always required for those entering classroom teaching positions.

How much money does a Library Science graduate make?

With librarians who have a Master in Library Science degree earning an average salary of $51,155 according to PayScale.com and library director’s earning $59,658, solid careers are able to be secured. Job satisfaction among librarians is very high, with Extremely Satisfied rankings on PayScale.com’s poll.

But, a degree in Library Science doesn’t stop at working in a community library or in a PreKindergarten – 12 teaching or school classroom environment. There is so much more.

What else can I do with a Masters in Library Science?

Graduates of Library Science programs are applying their Master in Library Science to a wide-arching range of careers. Museum Studies allows graduates to competently work in organizations like the Smithsonian Institution, regional cultural heritage centers, and more. Archival or Special Collections librarians find careers in hospital systems, research labs, prisons, motion picture studios and more. Masters in Library Science graduates have been employed as Wine Librarians, Web Project Managers, Creative Project Managers, and Sound Librarians.

What does a Library Science Degree graduate do all day?

The job responsibilities are as diverse as the jobs that are available to degree holders. Some daily tasks may include:

  • Cataloging, organizing or selecting resources
  • Assisting others with technology
  • Managing budgets, personnel, or other resources
  • Answering questions and working collaboratively with others
  • Promoting resources
  • Working with external suppliers, outside organizations or institutions

How do online programs work?

In a perfect example of how the field of library science is always innovating and keeping up with technology, some of the best Masters in Library Science are available fully online. Coursework is either delivered synchronously or asynchronously and utilizes popular delivery platforms like Blackboard learning, Zoom, and others. Online students are able to create ePortfolios, receive academic advising, listen to guest speakers, collaborate with colleagues on group projects, and more.

Whether you are intrigued by a Masters in Library Science because you know exactly what career you want or if you are interested in exploring what amazing opportunities exist, the only thing waiting is to start your research and apply! For those interested in online learning, make sure to check out our Best Online Colleges and Universities.

What are the Best Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees?

We’ve examined the best online master’s programs in library science in order to provide a guide for you to succeed. Our methodology is based on student success, student satisfaction, and program excellence. Check the toolbar at the top of the page to learn more.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Location

    Madison, WI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The online Master’s program in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison tops the list for the best Online Masters in Library Science Degrees. Engaging students with 42-credit hours of rigorous and relevant coursework, students complete the iSchool program with the professional skills for success in the diverse field of library science.

    Program Features

    This UW-Madison iSchool degree is accredited by the American Library Association. Students are encouraged to choose areas of concentration in their degree, allowing a highly tailored course load. Specializations range from Librarianship to Archives, Data/Information Management & Analytics or Info and Data Organization. Classes offered to students include:

    • TLAM (Tribal Libraries, Archives & Museums)
    • Information Ethics & Policy
    • Community Engagement
    • Digital Tools, Trends & Debates

    Details

    The online Master’s program in Library and Information Science requires students to live at least 55 miles from Madison, Wisconsin for admission. Students must attend an on-campus orientation and instruction week, allowing interaction with other online students and engagement with faculty instructors. Supervised field study is part of the program as well. UW-Madison students can also receive Named Certificates as optional enhancements to the master’s degree.

  2. Drexel University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Drexel University’s top-ranking online Master’s in Library and Information Science program is an accredited degree program that offers graduates the all the skills they need to be successful leaders in information management. The core values of the field: equity, social justice, privacy, access, and intellectual freedom, are integrated into all coursework.

    Program Features

    American Library Association accredited, Drexel offers convenience for the professional working in the field. The year is set up as four 10-week quarters, which allows students to take more classes at an accelerated pace. Totalling 45 credits, students are immersed in the latest technologies. Classes include:

    • Users, Services, & Resources
    • Leading & Managing Information Organizations
    • Organization of Data and Information
    • Data and Digital Stewardship

    Details

    Drexel University offers several specializations in their Library and Information Science program. Digital Technology Services, Information and Data Services or User and Community Services concentrations allow students to fine-tune their interests and get maximum career value from their degree. All online courses are taught by College of Computing and Informatics faculty and offer students a solid foundation in library science and engaging electives.

  3. Kent State University
    Location

    Ashtabula, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Kent State University offers a well-rounded online Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. Fully accredited by the American Library Association, Kent State University students benefit from the highly awarded and recognized faculty, but delivered in a convenient, user-friendly online format. Perfect for the working professional, students receive the same high standard of classes which has made Kent State University a top-tier academic institution.

    Program Features

    Kent State University wants to make sure your M.L.I.S. degree is exactly tailored to the career you have in mind. The degree offers an incredible array of 14 specializations available for students to pursue, from Information Technology and Information Science to Academic Librarianship. Dual or multiple degree options are also available, as are electives from the Master of Science program.

    Core class offerings include:

    • The Information Landscape
    • Information Organization
    • People in the Information Ecology
    • Information Institutions and Professions

    Details

    Kent State University M.L.I.S. students have shown high job placement success. Surveys run of iSchool graduates in the past 5 years have indicated 92% employment placement within 12+ months of program completion. Utilizing the highly effective and user-friendly Blackboard Learn online platform, Kent State students are able to access their coursework and engage in the high caliber learning environment.

  4. Auburn University
    Location

    Auburn, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Auburn University provides a top-notch Library Media Master of Education degree, specifically focused on career paths as a school librarian or technology specialist. Whether you want to teach, be an information specialist or enter administration, Auburn’s online program will give you the bandwidth to fully engage and understand the rapidly changing field of media. The degree carries A-level teaching certification for the state of Alabama and receives library media certification upon completion.

    Program Features

    The online Library Media Master of Education program gives students the opportunity to study instructional design and technology, learning theory, and information science. The program is approved by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Specific coursework in the degree offerings includes classes such as:

    • Bibliographic Description, Organization & Control
    • Literacy & Inquiry in the Content Areas
    • Selection & Use of Media for Youth
    • Integration of Technology into the Curriculum

    Details

    Auburn University online students have a clinical residency built into their coursework. Featuring 300 clock hours in diverse school environments, students gain hands-on, applicable experiences. Over 30 hours of coursework is required for graduation and multiple scholarships are offered specifically for library media students. Online courses begin at $610 per credit hour and program enrollment is offered three times a year.

  5. University of Washington
    Location

    Bothell, WA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Washington Information School offers a Master of Library and Information Science degree that will equip professionals in library sciences. Highly regarded faculty will guide you through online coursework that is identical to what students on campus receive. Boasting a low student/faculty ratio and high rankings by many national publications, students graduate and enter the rapidly evolving world of library and information science prepared for successful careers.

    Program Features

    Whether you are interested in working with nonprofits, corporate environments, libraries, or other information jobs, iSchool grads are given the research connections, scholarship, and community engagement to make it happen. Core curriculum centers on information organization, policy, design concepts and more. Field experiences and independent study gives a practical application to the program standards. Course offered in the MLIS degree include:

    • Information Resources, Services and Collections
    • Management of Information Organizations
    • Research, Assessment, and Design
    • The Question of Information

    Details

    Tailoring your education to your specific career goals within the iSchool is simple. Students can build on their law degree by choosing a specialization in Law Librarianship in their top-ranked focused track. Those interested in working in K-12 public schools can also pursue a School Library Media Endorsement. The online program is 63 quarter credits to completion. It is part-time and designed to be completed in three-years. Students enroll at a pace of 6–8 credits per quarter.

  6. Florida State University
    Location

    Tallahassee, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Florida State University’s online Master of Science in Information prepares students for professional careers in librarianship, youth information & services, information architecture & technology and more. American Library Association accredited, students in this rigorous program gain skills, in theory, basic information techniques, application of new technologies and much more. The degree requires 36 semester hours of graduate-level coursework.

    Program Features

    Students are able to specifically tailor their degree to suit their career goals through one of the many areas of study. These tracks do not add any official endorsements upon graduation, rather are used as guides in course planning. Students are able to clearly focus their interests on their studies by choosing to engage in tracks like:

    • General Librarianship
    • Public, Academic, and Special Libraries
    • Web Design
    • Specialized Study in Museum Theory & Practice
    • Health Informatics

    Details

    Florida State University does also offer five certificate programs at the graduate level which give students technical expertise in a certain area of study. Certificates available range from Health and Information Technology to Information Leadership and Management. Juris Doctor/MS joint degree program is also offered in conjunction with the school of law. With the majority of online programs being taught by FSU’s highly respected faculty, students gain a top-notch education with online convenience.

  7. Rutgers University
    Location

    Camden, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Rutgers University offers an online Master of Information program that equips professionals for outstanding careers in library science. Whether working with books or integrating advanced and dynamic technology, Rutgers knows that students need a pedagogical framework and the practical application skills to be field leaders. Their curriculum is suited to enable data scientists, information managers, librarians, archivists, and designers to excel.

    Program Features

    Rutgers University has consistently ranked high in national publications for its Information Sciences, School Library Media, and Digital Librarianship. It is American Library Association accredited and part of the iSchool consortium. The Master of Information program is focused on these core principles for success:

    • People and Community
    • Data, Information, and Knowledge
    • Technologies, Systems, and Networks
    • Empowerment, Engagement, and Action

    Details

    Students who are enrolled in the online program have opportunities for internships, a close-knit networking community, and interaction with other online classmates through various clubs and organizations. The Master of Information also offers six concentrations of study, from Technology, Information and Management to Library and Information Science, which includes School Libraries. Rutgers maintains high student satisfaction and gives students an easy entry to the field.

  8. The University of Alabama
    Location

    Tuscaloosa, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama offers a fully online Master of Library and Information Studies degree. Completion of the 36 hours requirement can be met efficiently, as online students typically register for two classes each semester, completing the degree in six total semesters. Online classes meet synchronously at a set time each week.

    Program Features

    Accredited by the American Library Association, students are prepared for a career in the rapidly evolving field of library and information studies. Whether looking to engage in library work via an academic environment, a community branch, or interested in digital technologies, the rigorous coursework will train and prepare. Classes offered in the degree requirements include:

    • Public Libraries
    • Academic Libraries
    • School Media Centers
    • Special Libraries and Information Centers

    Details

    The University of Alabama allows students to choose from six areas of emphasis in their program. Ranging from Youth Service to Social Justice, Digital Stewardship to Special Libraries, these give students avenues to explore their career interests and design their study. Specializations which can be seen on their degree are also offered, including Archival Studies and School Libraries.

  9. University of South Carolina
    Location

    Aiken, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of South Carolina’s Master of Library and Information Science degree offers a highly tailored education which gives students big opportunities for career success. Whether working in schools, businesses, academic, or private settings, this online degree can launch you into the career you want. 36 hours of coursework complete the degree, with 9 hours being required classes.

    Program Features

    The Master of Library and Information Science degree offers a school library certification option for students ready to enter a classroom setting. All of the coursework is designed to integrate and teach the core competencies. Students leave the program with the understanding the dispositions, skill-sets, and values of:

    • Information and its organization
    • Provision of information services
    • Leadership and management
    • Research
    • Technology
    • Professional development and lifelong learning

    Details

    Built into the course offerings is a 135-hour internship or field practicum. Students are placed in a learning environment in the field where they are engaged and mentored by an experienced professional. This experience provides vital lessons and skills to take into their careers. With a high student retention rate in the program and very positive job placement results, the MLIS program shows its strength and longevity.

  10. Syracuse University
    Location

    Syracuse, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The Master of Science degree in Library and Information Science offered at Syracuse University’s iSchool gives students the ability to fully engage library settings. Accredited by the American Library Association, the LIS program is a leader in the field, always seeking to innovate and expand what a library is and better understand the diverse role a librarian plays in modern culture.

    Program Features

    The LIS program can typically be completed in 2 years and has a 36 credit requirement. With core competencies in management, information resources, and electives available in a focus area, students receive robust knowledge of the field. Focus areas include:

    • Academic Librarianship
    • Data Librarianship
    • Historical Materials
    • Management
    • School Media
    • Public Service Librarianship

    Details

    Online students in the iSchool receive coursework and are taught by the same faculty they would encounter on campus. Through a combination of live classes, collaborative coursework, and professional networking, students are able to maintain full-time work and keep up with their classes. Merit-based awards and LIS specific scholarships are available, including a 25% tuition award for library employees.

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