A Guide to Online Library Science Degrees Accredited Online Degree Programs in Library Science

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library science

Do you want to be a librarian? Are you interested in pursuing an online degree in library science? If so, the first order of business would be to find a quality definition of library and information science.

Your research will likely best begin by answering these questions that will help you understand what is the difference between library science and information science.

  • What is library and information science?
  • What is new in library and information science?

The definition of library science is the study of the:

  • Collection
  • Preservation
  • Cataloging of books and other documents within a library system.

Information science is generally more suitable for work in a research or an academic library, rather than a public library. In fact, in the 21st century library and information science are very closely related to fields like data analytics and information technology.

Most Popular Schools with Online Library Science Degree Programs

Quick Facts: Librarians
2019 Median Pay$59,500 per year
$28.61 per hour
Typical Entry-Level EducationBachelor’s degree
Work Experience in a Related OccupationNone
On-the-job TrainingNone
Number of Jobs, 2019146,500
Job Outlook, 2019-295% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2019-297,300
Source: 2020 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2019-29 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Most Affordable Online Library Science Degree Programs

What Can You Do with a Library Science Degree?

Library science is the study and the science of the organization of information that is designed to support and promote the ease and value of said information. And in today’s modern data-rich world, library and information science degree jobs convert to big business, with a variety of available jobs you can get with a library science degree.

So, if you are vying for a library science degree, it is essential to find the answers to these questions –

  • What are the highest paying library science degree jobs available in the market?
  • What jobs can I get with a library science degree?
  • Are there available jobs for library science degrees that are located nearby?
  • What jobs can you get with a library science degree earned online?
  • What types of library science degree jobs are available for those who just hold a bachelor’s degree, as compared to a master’s degree or doctorate degree?

The reality is that not every library science major will work in a library; because many jobs with library science degree will include research, support services, data exploration techniques/tools, and outreach, to name a few. Remember that some of the most comprehensive libraries across the globe perform as research centers or museums with cutting-edge data tools across disciplines.

Degree Types: Associates, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral

Most students studying to become librarians typically complete their associate degree or bachelor’s degree in a rigorous course study in which they wish to specialize as librarians. Would-be librarians then seek a library science or information degree at the graduate level to round out their education and to become eligible for the one of the librarian leadership or management level roles.

Depending on one’s specialty, librarians now manage web archives, or corporate libraries within large pharmaceutical companies or legal firms, for example.

Associate’s Degree in Library Science

Most library science associates degree online programs are designed to prepare students to become library technical assistants. Students enrolled in an associate’s degree in library science online program will generally complete 60 to 66 credit units of coursework that is offered asynchronously via the internet.

It is noted that most library science degrees, whether offered online or on-campus, are considered writing-intensive programs. Students should recognize the requirements before enrolling in a library science degree program.

Bachelor’s Degree in Library Science

Most students choose to earn a bachelor degree in library science online or on-campus as their first college degree. Many library science bachelors degree online program options are offered as interdisciplinary programs because library science professionals are generally well versed across of plethora of subjects.

Some of the more popular bachelor of library science degree online options include –

  • A Bachelor of Library Science degree online with a media studies focus.
  • A Library Science Bachelor Degree online in education & library science.

A majority of Bachelor degree in library science online programs will prepare students for successful library science careers by ensuring these degree candidates are exposed to various disciplines that would benefit from library science efforts. A Library Science Bachelor Degree online program is generally categorized as to whether the student will focus on the libraries that support Kindergarten to Grade 12 students or the more broad field of information science.

When you have earned your library science bachelors degree online or on-campus, you can begin to work in a library as a librarian; however, the most popular degree for entrance into this profession is a master’s level degree in library or information science. This is discussed in detail next.

Master’s Degree in Library Science

Earning a masters degree in library science online or on-campus is where the pedal hits the metal in terms of a library science career. Most masters in library science online programs require students to either complete a culminating capstone project or a graduate-level thesis.

The master’s thesis that is required for students enrolled in an online master’s in library and information science degree program is typically 100+ pages that offers a cogent argument regarding the research of a subtopic within the field of library science. The thesis or capstone project required to complete an online masters in library science degree are designed to evaluate a student’s ability to negotiate recent research within the field of library science and to deliver it in a well-thought-out narrative.

Many masters degree in library science online programs offer academic specializations. Some of the most common academic tracks available to students enrolled in a master in library science online program include–

  • Archives or special collections.
  • Museums.
  • Asset & Data Mgt.
  • Information Literacy.
  • Ethical Reasoning.
  • School/Youth Librarianship.
  • Managing and organizing information systems.
  • Competitive Intelligence and Information Management for Business

Most masters in library science online programs can be finished in less than three years. Many masters in library science online and on-campus programs are designed specifically to meet the needs of working learners.

Coursework for most masters in library science online programs includes documentary editing, museum collection management, and intro to public history, to name a few. Additionally, degree candidates for a master in library science online program learn relevant and important soft skills that include –

  • Customer Service.
  • Effective Communication.
  • Leadership.
  • Professional Practice, among others.

Doctoral Degree in Library Science

The primary degree generally pursued by library science professionals is that of a Doctor of Philosophy or a PhD in library science online.  Students vying to earn a library science PhD online degree are generally focused primarily on research.

Most library science professionals seeking a doctoral-level degree choose to earn an on0campus or online library science PhD. Students enroll in an online doctorate in library science degree program will generally focus on user and data services, archives and preservation, scholarly communication, literacy frameworks, and social information /justice, among others.

PhD in Library science online degree candidates typically complete 30-40 credit units, often taking independent study programs to assist in the completion of the required online doctorate in library science degree program’s dissertation.

Much of a library science PhD online or on-campus program involves students in qualitative and quantitative research studies. A candidate for a doctorate in library science online degree program must demonstrate that they are well-versed in the most prominent library, information science, and archival theories and principles.

Examples of online library science PhD dissertation and research topics, which requires students to work closely with faculty members, include the following –

  • Strategizing in medical libraries in academia.
  • Prioritizing strategizing for academic libraries.
  • Improving diversity in the graduate level of archival education degree programs.
  • Learning to repurchase digital objects across industries.

Accreditation for Library and Information Science Programs

The accreditation process seeks to standardize the quality and the consistency of programs and degrees offered by various institutions of higher education. Accreditation agencies assess both schools and individual degree programs. Holistically, the process of accreditation has been developed to –

  • Develop consistency in the academic quality of the country’s education systems.
  • Protect the public by higher learning institutions accountable for the programs they offer & advertise.

Most schools are accredited regionally through the United States Department of Education’s accrediting agencies. However, each industry offers a more specialized and voluntary process of specialized accreditation.

In the world of library science, the primary library science accreditation is given by the American Library Association (ALA).

The American Library Association

The American Library Association is the largest of library science professional accrediting agencies. The ALA-accredited professional degree programs in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. 

Schools and programs that receive the American Library Association accreditation have passed an arduous approval process. The American Library Association evaluates each program’s goals, educators, administrations, and curricula.  Selecting to attend an ALA-accredited library science degree program will likely help to open more opportunities during your professional career in library or information science.


The field of library and information science offers its professionals a number of on-campus and online library science certificate options. Fortunately, many schools are now offering library science certificate online programs, which helps open one’s educational options. As technology and cutting-edge techniques improve, it is likely that students will begin to see more opportunities for library science certification online programs.

Check out these few examples of the many on-campus and online certificate in library science program options.

The Library Technology Certificate Program

Many different sized colleges and universities offer online library science certification program options that lead to a technology certificate in library science online. An online library science certificate prepares students for rewarding careers in information management or library science. Be certain to choose a technology-based library science certificate online program that is recognized by the ALA.

The Graduate Certificate in Library & Information Management

Another on-campus or online library science program option is the graduate certificate in Library & Information Management (LIM). This library science certification online program is a great springboard for those library science professionals who have already possess a master’s degree in library science but want to advance their professional careers to include leadership roles.

The library and information management certificate in library science online program parlays the information learned in one’s master’s degree program. A graduate online certificate in library science program seeks to build the next generation of library science thought leaders.

Scholarships for Library Science

Students with a keen interest in library science will find there are many options that will help finance a college education and degree program. Check out the options of the various scholarships for library science majors that are listed below. Library science students with a strong inclination to a certain area of research in library science may find scholarships for library and information science students in those specific research areas.

If you are planning on a degree in library science, consider these library science scholarships:

The American Library Association (ALA) Tony B. Leisner Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount – $3,000
  • Deadline for Application March 1, 2021

The Tony B. Leisner Scholarship offers a yearly scholarship to staff/support member in a library who is also choosing to pursue a master’s degree in library science. Award recipients must be a citizen or a permanent resident of Canada or the United States who has earned no more than 12 semester credits towards an accredited degree graduate degree program.

The Alice L. Haltom Educational Fund

  • Scholarship Amount – $2,000
  • Deadline for Application May 1, 2021

The Alice L. Haltom Educational Fund is designed to exclusively support the study/research/dissemination of information in the fields of information management, records, and other related industries. Applicants for this scholarship must be a citizen of the United States who is pursuin an undergraduate or a graduate degree in the field of information and library science.

ALISE Research Grant Competition 

  • Scholarship Amount – $5,000 (Up to four grants can total $5,000)
  • Deadline for Application April 15, 2021

The Association for Library & Information Science Education (ALISE) offers a research grant scholarship through its research grant competition. This scholarship has been designed to support research that is related to the education of information/library science.

The Association for Library Science to Children (ALSC) Frederic G. Melcher Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount – $6,000 x2 scholarships
  • Deadline for Application March 1, 2021

The Frederic G. Melcher Scholarship offers financial assistance to students pursuing a master’s degree in library science who also intend to work in the field of children’s library science.  Applicants may work to serve children as old as 14 in any type of library.  


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Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?