Is a Library Science Degree Right for You?
Library science is the application of practices and tools of management and information technology to libraries. It also encompasses the collection, organization, and dissemination of information resources. Thanks to the growing use of electronic records, the library science field is changing rapidly and library professionals must be as knowledgeable about technology as they are about resources and books.
Library science is a highly-specialized field and many graduates find that their education is most applicable to positions in library settings. However, some graduates do branch out to other industries and occupations. But if you have a particular interest in working in a library, an online degree in library science is definitely for you.
Advice for Earning Your Library Science Degree Online
When considering an online bachelor’s program in library science, look for programs that offer plenty of coursework in information technology, as libraries continue to become virtual resources. Also, programs that offer internships should receive special consideration, as competition for library positions can be steep.
Accreditation is another important factor, as any candidate considering graduate school toward a librarian position will need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Accreditation also ensures the quality of the program is comparable to other schools and access to federal financial aid.
Online Library Science degree programs typically include a general education curriculum in math, science, and humanities. Major library science courses focus on information technology, management, and literary studies. Required courses may include:
- Cataloging and Classification
- Young Adult Literature and Education
- Children’s Literature and Education
- Managing Collections
- Leadership and Management in Libraries
Common Career Paths
Some potential careers for those with a bachelor’s degree in Library Science include:
- Expected Growth: 10%
- Average Hourly Wage: $15.62
Library technicians assist librarians. Typical duties include sorting and re-shelving books, organizing and maintaining library materials, issuing new library cards, helping patrons use library resources, and maintaining computer databases. Most work in state and local governments, though they may also be employed by elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universes, and junior colleges. The above salary and employment growth figures were gathered from the BLS, and represent average incomes. Actual salaries can vary based on your experience, education level, certifications, and other factors.
- Expected Growth: 12%
- Average Annual Salary: $53,065
Archivists help maintain records and historic documents. They work to make them readily accessible by creating and overseeing computer archives and databases, organizing archival records, preserving documents, copying records to computer formats, and locating new materials for acquisition.
Archivists must usually have a bachelor’s degree in library science or related field, so graduates of library science bachelor’s degree programs would be uniquely suited for the position. Those seeking the best job prospects may need to continue their education with specialized training, such as master’s degrees in both library science and history. Figures above were provided by the BLS.
- Expected Growth: 23 %
- Average Annual Salary: $74,350
Like archivists, curators help maintain important documents and records. They typically oversee collections, such as historic items or artwork, and work to acquire, store, and exhibit these collections. They are commonly employed by museums, though may also work for local, state, or federal government or institutions of higher education. Most employers require a master’s degree for most curator positions, as well as extensive experience in the relevant specialty, such as history or archaeology. Figures above were provided by the BLS.
- Expected Growth: 7%
- Average Annual Salary: $58,550
Libraries work in private and public libraries at colleges and universities, schools, and governments. Libraries help library visitors find the information and resources they are looking for either by helping them navigate the library collection or by helping them identify the type of resource needed. In many cases, they also oversee the management and operation of the library, databases, and collections. Libraries need a master’s degree to qualify for most librarian positions. Figures above were provided by the BLS.
Writers and Authors
- Expected Growth: 6%
- Average Annual Salary: $69,025
Writing can be a great secondary career for those with degrees in library science. Writers develop original written content in the form of novels, essays, articles, advertisements, and more. Many work independently, on a contract or freelance basis. A bachelor’s degree is not required, but most writers have degrees in English, journalism, or a related field. Figures above were provided by the BLS.