Contrary to what you might expect, librarians learn a lot more than just how to organize bookshelves. At its core, library science is a field about information, resources and materials, regardless of whether that information is stored in a decades-old hardcover book or a minutes-old Internet database.
The job of librarians and library technologists has not changed: their purpose is still to connect people to the information and resources they are looking for. However, our expanding technological world has changed the tools they have available to work with. Databases, electronic catalogs and Internet applications have become part of the librarian's toolkit as much as library cards and microfilm. According to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), in 2015, "Public libraries made 1.31 billion collection items available to patrons and provided access to over a quarter million internet computers."
Individuals interested in library science can find several different flavors of degree programs in the field, many of which are offered online. Students who enroll in an online college for library science can learn basics about cataloguing and research, but also about multimedia materials and presentations, as well as innovative technology applications.
Rankings are a useful tool that can help students to find the online library science colleges that could be a good fit for them. Our list of the top five online schools in library science was compiled using information from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
Visit our methodologies page to learn more about how we use official data to evaluate schools.
Online colleges for library science can help to arm students with skills they need to be successful. This page discusses some of the ways that schools structure their curriculum in order to provide this education, as well as some of the skills that library science students might want to focus on developing for the sake of their careers.
Course selections for online library science degree programs may vary from one school to the next. Nevertheless, there are usually some commonalities. The following are some of the common courses that library science students may be required to complete during their academic careers.
The coursework assigned by library science degree programs is meant to help students learn and polish various skills that may be helpful to them for a career in library science. The following are some of the skills that library science professionals need to be successful in their field.
The IMLS reports that "Public libraries offered 4.7 million programs in 2015, attended by nearly 107 million people, 5 million more attendees than the previous year." It's clear there is plenty of opportunity for students who graduate from online colleges for library science. These opportunities aren't all located at libraries, either! This section displays some of these career options and describes what they entail, as well as the level of education that may be required for each.
Wherever they work, librarians are responsible for checking books in and out; instructing people on how to use research tools in their facility; researching and obtaining new books, videos and audiobooks; and keeping abreast of developments in the field by taking continuing education courses, reading industry journals and attending events.
These professionals need to have strong communication, technology, interpersonal, and detail orientation skills. In order to qualify for this position, prospective employees usually complete a certificate program in library, audio-visual or media technology. Some employers may hire applicants who have a high school diploma, giving them a chance for on-the-job training.