Online Colleges for Library Science

COLLEGE FINDER

Article Sources

Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  1. Offer at least one degree or certificate in that subject online
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2015-16

Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on six criteria:

  1. In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  3. Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  4. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded by the school in 2015-16 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  5. Related subjects, based on the number of similar programs that the school offers at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  6. Variety of degree levels, based on the number of degree and certificate levels out of a possible nine that the school offers in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Sources:

  1. Associate of Applied Science, Library Science, Dona Ana Community College, Accessed February 2018, http://dacc.nmsu.edu/advising/wp-content/uploads/sites/62/2015/05/Library-Science-Associate-of-Applied-Science-Degree.pdf
  2. Information & Library Science, University of Maine at Augusta, Accessed February 2018, https://www.uma.edu/academics/programs/ils/
  3. Library Information Technology, Cuesta College, Accessed February 2018, https://www.cuesta.edu/academics/hum/libinfotech/
  4. Library Paraprofessional, Belmont College, Accessed February 2018, http://www.belmontcollege.edu/current-students/programs-of-study/library-paraprofessional-course-chart/
  5. Library Science, Dona Ana Community College, Accessed February 2018, https://dacc.nmsu.edu/lsc/library-science/
  6. Library Technician, Western Dakota Technical Institute, Accessed February 2018, https://www.wdt.edu/degree-programs/library-technician
  7. Prior Learning Assessment, University of Maine at Augusta, Accessed February 2018, https://www.uma.edu/academics/pla/
  8. Library Science, North Carolina Central University, Accessed February 2018, https://nccuonline.nccu.edu/programs/library-science/
  9. School of Library & Information Science, Louisiana State University, Accessed February 2018, http://www.lsu.edu/chse/slis/
  10. Library and Information Science, University of Missouri, Accessed February 2018, https://sislt.missouri.edu/lis/
  11. Bachelor of Arts in Library Science and Media, Ashford University, Accessed February 2018, https://www.ashford.edu/online-degrees/education/bachelor-of-arts-library-science-media
  12. Library Science Master's, University of Washington, Accessed February 2018, https://ischool.uw.edu/programs/mlis
  13. Master of Library and Information Science, San José State University, Accessed February 2018, http://ischool.sjsu.edu/programs/master-library-and-information-science-mlis
  14. Librarians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2016, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/librarians.htm
  15. Librarians, O*Net, Accessed February 2018, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/25-4021.00
  16. Top five skills required for librarians, LibSource, Accessed February 2018, https://libsource.com/top-five-skills-required-for-librarians-today-tomorrow/
  17. Top Skills for Tomorrow's Librarians, Library Journal, Accessed February 2018, https://lj.libraryjournal.com/2016/03/careers/top-skills-for-tomorrows-librarians-careers-2016/
  18. Job Description Librarian, Lake County Public Library, Accessed February 2018, http://www.lcplin.org/job-desc/JD-L1-Reference-Librarian.pdf
  19. Sample Job Description for School Librarian, American Library Association, Accessed February 2018, http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/learning4life/resources/sample_job_description_L4L.pdf
  20. Librarians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2016, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/librarians.htm
  21. Librarians, O*Net, Accessed February 2018, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/25-4021.00
  22. Library Technician, State of Michigan, Accessed February 2018, http://www.michigan.gov/documents/LibraryTechnician_12801_7.pdf
  23. Becoming a Library Assistant or Technician, American Library Association, Accessed February 2018, http://www.ala.org/educationcareers/careers/paths/assistant
  24. Library Technicians and Assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2016, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/library-technicians-and-assistants.htm
  25. Library Technicians, O*Net, Accessed February 2018, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/25-4031.00
  26. What's an Archivist?, National Archives, Accessed February 2018, https://www.archives.gov/about/info/whats-an-archivist.html
  27. Explore a Career in Archives, Society of American Archivists, Accessed February 2018, https://www2.archivists.org/careers/beanarchivist
  28. Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2016, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/curators-museum-technicians-and-conservators.htm
  29. Archivists, O*Net, Accessed February 2018, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/25-4011.00
  30. Job Description for Historian, California State PTA, Accessed February 2018, http://toolkit.capta.org/job-descriptions/historian/
  31. Historians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2016, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/historians.htm
  32. Historians, O*Net, Accessed February 2018, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/19-3093.00
  33. "People Visited Public Libraries More Than a Billion Times in 2015," Institute of Museum and Library Services, Accessed August 2018, https://www.imls.gov/news-events/news-releases/people-visited-public-libraries-more-billion-times-2015?utm_source=news+release&utm_medium=email
X

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.

Best Online Colleges for Library Science

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). More details on our methodology are provided at the bottom of this web page.

1

New Mexico State University-Doña Ana Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$1,968
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
39%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
8
School Type
2-year

At Doña Ana Community College, a branch of New Mexico State University, prospective students can pursue a certificate of completion or an Associate of Science degree in library science. Both programs are available completely online with no on-site attendance required. The school's open admissions policy makes the school accessible for any interested applicants who have earned a high school degree or a GED certificate.

Students can customize their path of learning in the certificate program. In the associate degree program, students learn about cataloging, technical services, collection management, reference materials and more. A capstone project also is part of the associate program. Additionally, courses can be applied toward the state's Department of Education library specialist endorsement.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

2800 N. Sonoma Ranch Blvd
Las Cruces, New Mexico 88011
 
2

University of Maine at Augusta

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,448
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
70%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
30
School Type
4-year

A certificate program, an Associate of Science program and a Bachelor of Science program in information & library science are all available completely online through the University of Maine at Augusta. Online delivery is offered for both national and international students, with instruction delivered through streamed video, computer conferences, e-mail, chatting and more.

The university's library science programs build upon each other, so students can complete a certificate first, followed by an associate and then a bachelor's degree, if they wish. Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is also available, allowing students to build credits through examination, portfolio review or external training review. Students can even begin coursework before they are accepted by UMaine's generous open admissions policy.

Accreditation:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.

Location:

46 University Drive
Augusta, Maine 04330-9410
 
3

Belmont College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,541
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
17%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
1
School Type
2-year

Courses in the library paraprofessional program at Belmont College are provided through web-delivery and intended for professionals interested in academic, library or education-type careers. The associate degree program includes courses in information services, library technology and communication and teamwork. A capstone project is required.

Online students also can access the school's library, which offers research databases, films on demand and e-resources for additional support. Graduates of the program can seek national Library Support Staff Certification without any additional follow-up courses or assessments. Furthermore, Belmont College builds its coursework around the premise of degree completion, which can help graduates to transfer their coursework to another school later and complete a four-year degree, possibly even an online bachelor's.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

68094 Hammond Road
Saint Clairsville, Ohio 43950
 
4

Cuesta College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$1,234
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
24%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
2
School Type
2-year

The library/ technology programs delivered at Cuesta College include a certificate and online associate degree option. Courses in these programs are offered through distance learning, and students can take one to six courses per semester. Since the courses are distance-based, students can work at their own pace. Many students are able to finish the program within four semesters at Cuesta College, which has an open admissions policy.

According to Cuesta College, hundreds more transfer students are accepted from Cuesta into Cal-Poly State University in San Luis Obispo than from any other community college in the state. Considering Cuesta's open admissions policy, such a path can be a convenient and useful one for a student to pursue.

Accreditation:

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges through the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

Location:

Highway 1
San Luis Obispo, California 93403-8106
 
5

Western Dakota Technical Institute

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,560
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
36%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
6
School Type
2-year

Prospective students to Western Dakota Technical Institute can opt for one of two library technician programs: a 30-credit, nine-month online diploma or a 63-credit, 18-month online Associate of Applied Science degree. Students can even start coursework for these programs as early as junior year of high school due to South Dakota's dual enrollment requirement, which allows high school students to work on credits at public higher learning institutes.

Both the diploma and associate degree programs require completion of many of the same courses, although the associate degree is more extensive. The associate degree also requires students to complete an internship or a class in advanced computer applications for business in their last semester.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

800 Mickelson Drive
Rapid City, South Dakota 57703-4018
 

Degree Overview: Library Science

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.

Online Library Science Courses

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.

  • Information professions: An information professions course can help give students an overview of where people in the field can work, what ethical and legal issues govern the profession, and how leadership theories can be applied to the library science work environment.
  • The history of libraries:Courses in this subject give students the opportunity to learn about different types of libraries and their histories, as well as how the role of libraries and librarians has changed over time.
  • Comparative librarianship: Students in this course typically learn about how library systems are run in different countries around the world and how they differ from those in the United States. The course may also explore how communication technologies and intercultural relationships can influence librarianship.
  • Library marketing: This course exists to educate students about various marketing strategies that are used by libraries. The curriculum may touch on multiple marketing concepts, as well as how to evaluate marketing needs based on long- and short-term goals, create a marketing plan to help meet those goals, and track the progress of a campaign.

Career-Related Skills to Develop

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.

  • Technology: Librarians regularly utilize systems such as LexisNexis, Westlaw, Ex Libris Group Voyager, Blackboard, MC2 Systems Auto Librarian and WorldCat. You may not be required to know all of these systems to find a position, but at least you must have the technological skill to learn whatever systems may be required at your place of employment.
  • Information curation: Librarians must know how to evaluate information to decide what is useful, and then to sort that information into categories that make sense.
  • Communication: Explaining how to use library systems is a large part of a librarian's job. Having solid communication skills is a crucial part of being able to walk users through technologies they may not be familiar with. In addition, librarians often collaborate with board and staff members, where clear communication is needed to complete projects.
  • Digital preservation: More and more, magazines, newspapers, books and maps are being digitized. Because of this, librarians must know how to store and preserve resources in a digital format, as well as how to work with them afterwards.

Library Science Career Outlook

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.

Librarian
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$60,760
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
14,500
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
8.9
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Master's degree
Hopeful librarians are required to earn a master's degree in library science in order to find employment. In addition, there can be many other requirements for becoming a specific kind of librarian. For example, people who want to work at special libraries, like those at law or medical schools, may also need to earn a degree in that specific subject. Meanwhile, public school librarians are generally expected to have a teaching credential.

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.

Library Technician
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$35,510
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
14,400
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
9.1
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Postsecondary nondegree award
Librarians often rely on a library technician to help them juggle the numerous daily duties they perform. These professionals are responsible for sorting and shelving books and periodicals; maintaining library databases; coding and cataloging library materials; preparing reports; issuing library cards to new patrons; handling interlibrary loans; and training volunteers.

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.

Archivist
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$55,470
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
800
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
14.3
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Master's degree
History buffs that enroll in online library science degree programs may consider pursuing a job as an archivist. This position entails appraising and authenticating historical documents; coordinating lectures, classes, tours and workshops for the community; establishing a search system to make it easier to find and classify records; creating digital and film copies of records; and researching the significance of historical documents. These workers can find employment in a variety of places, such as government agencies, museums, historical societies, colleges, universities, hospitals, libraries and corporations. Generally, archivists are required to earn a master's degree in archival studies, library science, history or public administration.
Historian
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$64,220
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
300
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
5.4
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Master's degree
Thanks to the work of historians, people are able to understand the events of the past and put them into their proper context. In order to do this, these professionals are responsible for finding historical information from multiple sources; organizing and analyzing data; drafting reports; interviewing historical figures; finding translators for reference materials; and preserving and archiving historical resources. To land a job in this field, people should earn a master's or doctoral degree in history, museum studies, public history, archival management or historical preservation. Professionals may be able to find employment at museums, government agencies, historical societies, research organizations and archives.
Article Sources
Download Badge
Download
This badge will download in .png format. For assistance, please contact our editorial team.
X