Remove from your mind past stereotypes of librarians. And libraries for that matter. The shushed atmosphere of the libraries of your past are transforming into inviting, digitally-advanced, and community-centered organizations.
And many libraries exist without brick-and-mortar confines at all. A degree in Library Science will give you the tools to collect, preserve, organize and otherwise manage digital—as well as physical—collections.
This is a highly transferable degree which will give you skills for the public and private sector.
What kind of Master’s degree in Library Science degree should you get?
Having a general idea of what kind of career you want will help you find the right degree. If you want to work in schools, look for NCATE or CAEP-accredited programs that lead to licensure. If school licensure isn’t important, look for programs with ALA accreditation or iSchool membership.
And online programs are now a great alternative to campus-based programs. If you want to continue to work while you study—or simply like the flexibility and affordability that online study provides—our ranking of the most affordable online Master’s in Library Science programs will help you find a great program.
For more general information, check out our list of the Most Affordable Online Colleges and Universities for a Graduate Degree.
How much money do people make with a Master’s degree in Library Science?
Having a Master’s in Library Science can land you in a variety of jobs—so generalizations about pay don’t make a lot of sense. Nevertheless, for a well-educated librarian, the salary range is pretty respectable. Here are some median salaries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Librarian: $57,680 per year
- Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers: $47,230 per year
- Library Science Teachers, Postsecondary: $71,580
It’s worth noting that the BLS does not take into account the myriad jobs that are “library science” related, but do not involve working in a physical library or museum. Management of digital collections is a big part of the future of librarianship—see this article for encouragement!
What can you do with a Master’s degree in Library Science?
Of course, you can become a librarian in a school, university, or public library. That is the obvious answer and those jobs will always be possibilities—though even the nature of those jobs has changed dramatically.
But librarianship is an increasingly technology-focused profession. And that will continue to be true in the foreseeable future. So here are a few less conventional job possibilities for those with a Master’s degree in Library Science:
- Curator, Media Resource Center
- Archival Consultant
- Information Resources Manager
- Digital Reference Librarian
- Manager, Information Services
- Metadata Analyst
What are the requirements for a Master’s degree in Library Science?
Admission requirements vary widely depending on the type of degree program. But here are some common requirements for admission to a library science program :
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- GRE scores
- Letters of recommendation
- A letter of intent (outlining your specific career goals).
For a Master’s in Education program, you may also need to have an initial teaching licensure and teaching experience in addition to your bachelor’s degree.
What are the most affordable online Master’s in Library Science degrees?
To find the most affordable online degree programs, we scour the internet for Master’s in Library Science programs and compile their tuition data. We then make sure that all the schools on our list are regionally accredited—the gold standard of accreditation for universities and colleges.
And all of our data comes from publicly available sources—so you can verify it yourself by checking out college websites, U.S. News and World Report, and the National Center for Educational Statistics.
Good luck in your search for a great (and affordable) program!
East Central University
Average Net Price: $6,853
Located in the town of Ada, in south-central Oklahoma, East Central University is a small, public, teaching university with a history as a teachers’ college. The school currently offers over seventy degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level, with small class sizes and dedicated faculty. Their online programs are extending the reach of high-quality programs to nontraditional students.
East Central University offers an online, NCATE-accredited Masters of Library Media designed for students planning to become a School Library Media Specialist in grades PK-12. The program is in alignment with state and national professional standards and guidelines and covers all areas of school librarianship, including technology. Special attention is given to the development of the student as a consumer of research. Courses include:
- School Library Administration
- Materials Selection
- Cataloging and Classification
East Central University’s Master of Library Media is a 32-credit program comprised of 18 credits of required coursework and 14 credits of specialization courses, a portfolio, and electives. The program is fully online. To become a certified media specialist in Oklahoma, you’ll need a valid standard Oklahoma teaching certificate in an approved area and pass the Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT).
Texas Woman's University
Average Net Price: $8,881
Located in Denton, Texas, Texas Woman’s University is actually a co-ed, public university that specializes in areas like nursing, education, business, and nutrition. The school boasts a diverse student body and a high return on investment— and their Library and Information Studies programs rank in the top 35 nationally.
Texas Woman’s University offers an affordable Master of Library Science degree that is accredited by the American Library Association. The program prepares students to work in a variety of information environments—from academic libraries to public and technical libraries. Students gain a foundational understanding of library and information studies as well as specialized training. Courses include:
- Foundations of Library and Information Studies
- Information Retrieval
- Information and Communication Technology
TWU’s Master of Library Science is a 36-credit program comprised of seven required courses (21 credits), a practicum, and 12 credits of electives. Students can use their electives to focus their program on their specific career goals, creating a program track of their own choosing. This is a very affordable, high-quality program and many TWU students and graduates have been named ALA Spectrum Scholars.
Texas A & M University-Commerce
Average Net Price: $9,032
Texas A&M-Commerce is a nationally ranked public university and the second largest school in the Texas A&M University System. Since the late nineteenth century, Texas A&M-Commerce has been providing high-quality education programs for the people of Texas. And their strong online presence is extending the reach of their “personal, accessible, and affordable” programs to off-campus students.
Texas A&M-Commerce offers a Master of Science and Master of Education in Educational Technology. The degrees are in Educational Technology-Leadership and in Educational Technology-Library Science. Students can also choose coursework in two certification areas to prepare educators for teaching Technology Applications and for becoming school librarians. Courses include:
- Information Reference and Mediagraphic Services.
- Cataloging and Classification
- Developing General and Specialized Collections
Texas A&M’s online Master of Educational Technology degrees are both available 100% online, with no face-to-face requirements. The program is comprised of 36 credits of required coursework, which includes a practicum and one elective. And for those interested in the M.Ed. program, school librarian certification is approved by the State Board for Educator Certification for the state of Texas only.
University of Washington
Average Net Price: $10,068
Located in the rainy seaport city of Seattle, Washington, the University of Washington is a public research university that ranks among the top public schools in the US. The school is home to many prestigious graduate programs, and their Library and Information Science program currently ranks as second-best in the country (U.S. News and World Report).
The Information School at UW offers an affordable, online Master of Library and Information Science that promises the practical skills you need to advance your career. UW’s program prepares students to be leaders in any knowledge-intensive industry, from digital libraries to special collections or school libraries. Options within the program include:
- Law Librarianship (ranked best in the U.S.)
- School Library Media Endorsement
UW’s Master of Library and Information Science is a 63 quarter-credit program. The online program is designed as a three-year, part-time program, with students enrolling in 6-8 credits per quarter. Students who wish to take additional courses, may do so. The curriculum is based on a set of core courses giving foundational knowledge, with enough electives that students can tailor the program to their own career aspirations.
Appalachian State University
Average Net Price: $10,167
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Appalachian State University is a public comprehensive university that ranks among the top ten regional universities in the South. The school was originally founded as a teacher’s college in 1899, and currently offers over 150 undergraduate and graduate majors on campus or through their robust online system.
Appalachian State University offers an online Master of Library Science for students interested in careers in school librarianship or public librarianship. The program is nationally recognized by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and is also accredited by CAEP. Online students work in small classes in a fully immersive and collaborative educational environment. Courses include:
- Collection Development and Management
- Information Sources and Services
- Technology and Libraries: Tools, Resources, and Issues
Appalachian State’s online Master of Library Science is a 36-credit program comprised of 11 required courses and an internship. Completion of the Master of Library Science program entitles the graduate to apply for licensure from the State of North Carolina as well as Public Librarian Certification from the North Carolina Public Librarian Certification Commission.
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Average Net Price: $10,403
Commonly known as UNC Greensboro, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is a nationally ranked, public liberal arts research university and a member of the University of North Carolina System. The school has invested heavily in online learning and their graduate Library Information Studies program ranks in the top 25 nationally (U.S. News and World Report).
UNC Greensboro offers an affordable, online Master of Library and Information Studies that promises to prepare you for an exciting and rewarding career in a field that is broad and deep in its vocational variety. Accredited by the American Library Association, the program provides an intellectually rich, community-centered, and hands-on curriculum for library and information education, innovation and service. Courses include:
- Researching Opportunities in Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
- Foundations of Library and Information Studies
- Collection Management
UNC Greensboro’s online Master of Library and Information Science is a 36-credit program designed for either working or full-time students—the average completion rate is 2.5 years for part-time study. The curriculum is very flexible and comprised of four required courses, supplemented by a full complement of elective courses in specialized information resources, archival management, and computer applications.
University of North Texas
Average Net Price: $10,424
Located near Dallas in the city of Denton, TX, the University of North Texas is a large public research university that frequently appears on college rankings. The flagship university of the University of North Texas system, UNT houses ten colleges and two schools, including a highly ranked Library and Information Science department.
UNT’s Department of Information Science offers an online Master of Science in Library Science which provides students with the skills to be successful professionals in a variety of library, archival, and information settings. The department is ALA-accredited and a member of iSchools— a consortium of Information Schools that shares a fundamental interest in the relationship between information, people, and technology. Courses include:
- Information and Knowledge Professions
- Information Organization
- Information Access and Knowledge Inquiry
UNT’s online MS in Library Science is a 36-credit program comprised of 9 credits of required courses and 27 credits of guided and general electives. The program offers a significant amount of flexibility for students to tailor their degree to their professional interests. Students can complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis with only six days of in-person classroom attendance required.
Murray State University
Average Net Price: $10,529
Located in the town of Murray, Kentucky, Murray State University is a primarily 4-year public university which emphasizes experiential learning and a personalized approach to education. The school ranks among the top 35 regional schools in the South and is home to many highly regarded graduate programs, like their M.Ed. in Library Media.
Murray State’s College of Education and Human Services offers a CAEP-accredited, online Master of Education in Library Media for both initial certification and certification in Library Media. The school provides training for future school librarians, with a focus on learning, leadership, and literacy. The curriculum covers information in all its forms, from paper-based to digital. Courses include:
- Integrating Educational Technology
- Curriculum Development
- Research to Improve Student Learning
Murray State University’s online M.Ed. in Library Media is a 33-credit program, comprised of 7 required courses, plus electives and practicums. All students take part in 3 practicum classes in which they work in a school library under the supervision of an experienced and certified school media librarian. Students seeking initial certification in education must meet all requirements for admission to Teacher Education, including completing 200 hours of field experience.
North Carolina Central University
Average Net Price: $10,835
Originally founded as the first public liberal arts institution for African Americans, North Carolina Central University is now a highly-ranked master’s comprehensive university in Durham, NC. Their graduate programs—like Library and Information Studies (which U.S. News and World Report ranks at #27 nationally)—continue to garner national acclaim.
NCCU’s School of Library and Information Sciences offers an online Master of Library Science program with several concentrations. The program is accredited by the American Library Association, and prepares students with the knowledge and skills to be successful in a wide range of Library and Information careers. There are seven possible tracks which include:
- Academic Librarian
- Archives and Records Manager
- Digital Librarian
- Law Librarian
North Carolina Central University’s online MLS program is comprised of 36 credits (the School Media concentration requires 39 credits). All concentrations share six core courses which provide a foundational knowledge. Other requirements vary in terms of resources and services courses, a librarian specialization course, and recommended electives. All students have the chance to experience libraries as information centers for collaboration and investigation.
Western Kentucky University
Average Net Price: $11,409
A public university located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Western Kentucky University ranks among the top public universities in the country. The school, which was originally founded in 1906, has gone through a significant transformation in recent decades, leading to high rankings for both their on-campus and their acclaimed online programs (US News and World Report).
Western Kentucky University offers a Master of Science in Library Media Education which is a dual concentration program in information services (LMS) and educational technology (EDTECH). This is a broad-based degree which prepares students as library media specialists, training development specialists, educational technology specialists, and information service specialists. Students choose from two concentrations:
- Library Media Specialist Concentration
- Educational Technology Specialist
WKU’s MS in Library Media Education- Library Media Concentration is a 33-credit program which prepares students for certification as a P-12 School Media Librarian in Kentucky. And if you are already a teacher in Kentucky then you can take advantage of the Kentucky P-12 Professional Educator Rate—a special tuition rate ($395 per credit hour) for Kentucky teachers in specific master degree programs.
University of Houston-Clear Lake
Average Net Price: $11,628
Located near the shores of Clear Lake in Houston, Texas, the University of Houston-Clear Lake is a four-year state university that is part of the University of Houston System. The school ranks at #63 among regional universities in the West and has a reputation for being a good value in higher education. The school is also home to a highly regarded College of Education.
The University of Houston-Clear Lake offers an online, CAEP-accredited Master of Science in School Library and Information Science program. The program prepares students to lead elementary, middle, or high school teachers in the integration of technology and learning. As a student, you’ll become familiar with the theories and practices of library and information science through the study of the foundations, principles, and ideas of the discipline. Courses include:
- Foundations of Multicultural Education
- Selecting Literature and Materials for Young Adults
- Librarians as Instructional Partners
UHCL’s MS in School Library and Information Science program is comprised of 33-34 credits of required courses. Graduates will have met the requirements to be recommended for the Texas school librarian certification. And if you are interested in additional certification, you will have the option of adding Texas Master Technology Teacher certification to your program by completing a few additional courses.
Middle Tennessee State University
Average Net Price: $11,744
Located in the city of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State University is a public university which focuses primarily on undergraduate education, but also offers several high-quality masters and doctoral programs. The school is committed to preparing career-ready students through hands-on learning—and extends the reach of their programs—like Library Science— through a robust online presence.
Middle Tennessee State University offers an online Master of Library Science program that is currently accredited by CAEP and is seeking accreditation by the American Library Association. The program is intended to prepare graduates to lead and educate in school, public, and corporate libraries. Master’s candidates may seek an initial license or add an endorsement to an existing licensure. Courses include:
- Collection Development and User Services
- Reference Materials and Process
MTSU’s Master of Library Science is a 36-credit program which aims to be uniquely flexible, allowing students significant ability to tailor the degree to their professional interests. Though MTSU has recently changed the degree from an Master of Education to the more broad MLS, school licensure will continue to be available with the MLS degree.
Wayne State University
Average Net Price: $11,910
Located in Detroit, Michigan, Wayne State University is a large, nationally ranked, public research university. The school ranks among the top 150 public schools nationally (U.S. News and World Report), and offers over 300 academic programs. WSU is home to a highly regarded School of Information Sciences, which offers high-quality programs online and on-campus.
Wayne State University’s School of Information Sciences offers an online, ALA-accredited Master of Library and Information Science. The program prepares students to be leaders in libraries and other information organizations and emphasizes the core principles and practical experiences of information access, organization, services, and support. Students choose to specialize in one of three areas:
- LIbrary Services
- Information Management
- Archives and Digital Content Management
WSU’s online Master of Library and Information Science is a 36-credit program comprised of 18 credits of required courses (the program core) and 18 hours in your chosen specialization. The program includes opportunities for practicum experiences, as well as for research and directed study. WSU’s School of Information Sciences is accredited by ALA as well as a member of iSchools.
University of Southern Mississippi
Average Net Price: $11,916
Colloquially known as Southern Miss, the University of Southern Mississippi is a public research university located in Hattiesburg, MS. The school serves a diverse student body with over 180 undergraduate and graduate programs through its six degree-granting colleges. Among these, the School of Library and Information Sciences offers solid, accredited programs both online and on campus.
The School of Library and Information Sciences at Southern Miss offers a Master of Library and Information Science. The program is accredited by the ALA and includes coursework that prepares students for diverse career opportunities in archives, libraries, or special collections. For those looking for school licensure, there is also an MLIS with school library licensure emphasis. Core courses include:
- Reference and Information Sources
- Cataloging and Classification
- Collection Development and Management
The University of Southern Mississippi’s Master of Library and Information Science is comprised of 40 credits consisting of 22 hours of required courses, 15 hours of general electives, and three hours of the master’s project. Students can use electives to form an area of emphasis in line with their career goals, and all students are encouraged to take part in a practicum experience.
Valley City State University
Average Net Price: $12,073
Located in Valley City, North Dakota, Valley City State University is a public university that ranks among the top 35 regional schools in the Midwest and as the top public school in the region (U.S. News and World Report). The school has also invested in online programs, and their online Graduate Education Program ranks among the best nationally.
For those interested in a career primarily in school libraries, VCST offers an online Master of Education in Library and Information Technologies which leads to Library Media Specialist Licensure. Designed to meet NCATE and AASL School Library Media Specialist Professional Standards, courses and program requirements have been designed for transfer to all state Library Media Specialist licensing agencies. Courses include:
- Introduction to Libraries in the Information Age
- Using Information Resources
- Collection Development- School Library
Valley City State University’s online M.Ed. in Library and Information Technologies is a 37-credit program with four required courses (12 credits) in Education, 22 credits in the LIT concentration, and 3 credits of research with a capstone project. Practical field experiences are incorporated into each course and are designed to accommodate the needs of distant and online learners.
Jacksonville State University
Average Net Price: $12,474
Located in Jacksonville, Alabama, Jacksonville State University is a public university that ranks among the top public schools in the South (U.S. News and World Report). The school’s mission is to provide distinctive educational, cultural and social experiences for a diverse student population—and they do so through strong academic programs both online and on campus.
Jacksonville State University’s School of Education offers an online Master of Education in Library Media that will prepare you for a career in school libraries. The program features a strong emphasis on technology, and certifies teachers as school library media specialists. Graduates will be eligible for fifth-year (master’s) teacher certification in library media (P-12). Courses include:
- Learning through Interactive Technologies
- Curriculum Integration of Technology
- Management of Media Center
JSU’s online M.Ed. in Library Media is a 36-credit program consisting of 9 credits of foundational (core) courses and 27 credits in Library Media. The program includes an internship in Media Services, and some students may need to take prerequisite courses before starting the program.
To be admitted to the program, you’ll need teacher certification in any area of education and before you graduate from the program you need to prove two years of teaching experience.
East Carolina University
Average Net Price: $12,817
Located in Greenville, North Carolina, East Carolina University is a nationally ranked, public research university that was founded in 1907. Ranking at #113 among national public schools (U.S. News and World Report), ECU makes personalized educational experiences accessible and affordable for its large student body. And their online programs—like the top-ranking Graduate Education program—have also earned national acclaim.
East Carolina University’s College of Education offers an online Master of Library Science with a high-tech and hands-on emphasis—providing a web-based course of study using new and emerging technologies. The program is accredited by both the NCATE and the ALA and students can tailor the degree to their career goals by choosing one of three concentrations:
- School Library Media
- Public Library
- Academic Library
East Carolina University’s online Master of Library Science is a 39-credit program, comprised of 8 required courses, with the remainder being devoted to the concentration of choice. All graduates of the MLS program are eligible for NC Public Library Certification, regardless of their chosen concentration. The program is open to applicants with no academic background in library science, but you will need to fulfill further program requirements.
Emporia State University
Average Net Price: $12,939
Located just east of the Flint Hills of Kansas, Emporia State University is a small public university which ranks as one of the top regional public universities in the Midwest. The school, which has campus sites across the country, has a mission to create a student-centered learning environment and has a robust online program which serves the needs of nontraditional students.
Emporia State University offers a unique, blended (part online, part face-to-face) Master of Library Science program at several of their campus sites (Emporia and Overland Park, Kansas; Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City and Orem, Utah; and Portland, Oregon). The program’s stated goal is to prepare students to work in public or school libraries, or the medical, legal, governmental, or corporate worlds. Concentrations include:
- Archives Studies
- Leadership and Administration
- Youth Service
ESU’s Master of Library Science is a 36-credit program comprised of 22 credits of core coursework and 14 credits of electives. The program is ALA-accredited and the school licensure program is NCATE accredited. All courses are facilitated online for the full semester, with the majority of courses meeting for two face-to-face weekend intensive sessions during the semester. Most students are in class two to three weekends per semester.
University of South Alabama
Average Net Price: $12,963
Located in Mobile, Alabama, the University of South Alabama is a relatively young, public, national research university which provides a close, student-centered environment for students. The school offers more than 50 undergraduate and 40 master’s level programs—including solid Graduate Education degrees—both online and on their Mobile campus.
The University of South Alabama’s College of Education and Professional Studies offers an online, NCATE-accredited Master of Education with Certification in Library Media. Graduates will be prepared to plan, design, and administer school libraries and be qualified to serve as school librarians in P-12 schools. Online students interact with professors, other students, and have access to the University Library and student services. Courses include:
- Microcomputing Systems in Education
- Curriculum Media for Children
- Media Center Management
The University of South Alabama’s M.Ed. in Library Media is a 30-credit program comprised of 27 credits of required courses and electives, and a three-credit internship. For certification as a library media specialist by the Alabama State Department of Education, students must have completed a basic program in a teaching field. And eligibility for certification requires two years of appropriate professional experience.
University of Central Missouri
Average Net Price: $13,567
Located in Warrensburg, Missouri, the University of Central Missouri is a public state university which ranks among the top 25 public regional universities in the Midwest (U.S. News and World Report). UCM offers highly ranked programs at the undergraduate and graduate level—both on campus and online—in a number of areas, including Library and Information Sciences.
The College of Educational Leadership and Human Development at UCM offers an online Master of Science in Library Science and Information Services which is accredited by the ALA and the CAEP. The program prepares students for leadership roles in K-12 settings and satisfies the requirements for certification as a library media specialist in the State of Missouri. Courses include:
- Foundations of Librarianship
- Library Media Administration
- Library Systems & Information Technology
The University of Central Missouri’s online MS in Library Science and Information Services is a 35-credit program comprised of 12 required courses (including a major research paper and a practicum). To make the degree manageable for online students, those who are under contract as a school librarian may complete their practicum in their own school library.