Last Updated: May 22, 2022
Study Library Science in the US
Library Science is a field of study that deals with the collection, classification, and organization of data to share and manage information. In most cases, the goal of curating data within this field is for preserving the said data and also for promoting awareness about the curated information. Students who take up this field of study will have to either take a bachelor’s degree and then take up certification programs or they will have to complete master’s programs if they wish to get decently paid occupations.
Candidates who wish to take up programs in this field will have to ensure that the program has been accredited by the ALA or the American Library Association. While it was not a highly popular field of study earlier, there is a sudden increase in job demand within this field which makes it an ideal choice. Though the general assumption about this field is that it deals with books and old libraries, the field deals with the collection and preservation of data which makes it an important field of study in the present world.
Benefits of Studying Library Science
Candidates who take up courses in the field of Library Science will be able to work both in the public and private sectors. Despite the general belief that students of library science only become librarians, candidates will be able to become information officers and take up other professions relating to data curation if they have specialized in this field. They will be able to easily find jobs with modest salaries both in rural and urban settings. The field has an estimated growth of 9% from 2020 to 2030 making it a good choice for people who wish to pursue this field.
This course will allow students to learn more about data curation, information systems, archiving systems, and other data-related subjects which are important in a tech-related world. Students will also be able to work for corporates by being information officers, though it can be a little out of the scope of library science. They will be able to take up certifications that can increase their credential within the job sector.
Undergraduate Programs in Library Science
Candidates who wish to study Library Science will be able to find that there are associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees offered for the subject at an undergraduate level. But in general, students don't need to take a Library Science degree at an undergraduate level if they wish to take up the subject at a graduate level.
Bachelor’s Degree in Library Science
A bachelor’s program will have a duration of 4 years in all and candidates will have to complete around 120 credits for course completion. Candidates should ensure that the program they have opted for is accredited by the ALA. Most undergraduate degrees are provided both ad on-campus and off-campus courses. The cost of taking a degree program in Library Science can range between $56,000 to $104,000 depending on whether it is a public or private educational institution.
The bachelor’s degrees offered can be for-
- BSc in Information and Library Science
- BA in Library Science and Media
- BSc in Library Informatics
- BSc in Information Science
Associate’s Degree in Library Science
Taking an associate’s degree in Library Science is not entirely popular among students since it is mandatory to have a graduate degree in the subject if one wishes to work in urban libraries. Associate’s degrees are generally offered in community colleges and students will be able to complete the course within 2 years in general depending on the institution. Most associate degree programs are offered in the online mode. A few of the titles in which associate degrees in Library Sciences are offered include-
- Associate of Arts in Library Information Technology
- Associate of Science in Library Information Technology
- Library Technician Associate in Applied Science Degree
Common Courses for Undergraduate Programs
Associate degrees and Bachelor’s degrees generally deal with a few topics in the subject that relates to information sciences and archiving. A few of the subjects that tend to overlap in all undergraduate programs include-
- Indexing and Abstracting
- Library Organization
- Record Management
- Electronic Information Resources
- Information Ethics
Admission Requirement for Bachelor’s Degree
The admission requirements for a bachelor’s program in Library Science are dependent on the institution one plans to attend. But there are general requirements that one must meet if they wish to apply for the program. These are-
- SAT/ACT Scores
- High School Diploma or its Equivalent
- Letters of Recommendation
- Statement of Purpose
- Educational Transcripts
Postgraduate Programs in Library Science
Candidates who have completed their bachelor’s degree in Library Science will be able to continue their education by taking up a master’s degree in the subject. Most often, candidates who do not have an undergraduate degree in this subject will also be able to pursue the program. This is mainly because undergraduate programs are not commonly available in this field of study as it is available at the graduate level. A Master of Science/MSc program in Library Science typically has a duration of between 1 to 2 years depending on the institution one is attending. Master’s programs will have a specialization in the general field of Library Science from which candidates will be able to choose one.
Specializations in Library Science
A few of the specializations offered in Library Science programs include-
- Digital Librarianship
- Law Librarianship
- Archives and Preservation
- Art Librarianship
- Health Librarianship
Doctoral Programs in Library Science
Since a master’s degree in the subject is essential for better career opportunities, sometimes students opt to enter the research domain in the field for better prospects. Candidates who take up research programs will be able to specialize further in the subject of their choosing. They will mainly be learning about curating data, information systems, and archives since most of their professional description will require them to be analysts.
A doctoral program in this subject can have a duration of 2 to 5 years depending on the institution and the pace at which the candidate can learn. They will have to complete the necessary coursework and submit a dissertation to complete the program. Candidates will be required to defend their dissertation if they wish to earn the degree.
Certification Programs in Library Science
Students who have completed their undergraduate degree but cannot immediately do a master’s program in the subject will be able to take up certifications that can up their game in the corporate world. The certification programs within Library Science will have a duration of 6 months and it comes under different titles. A few of these are-
- Library Catalog Certification
- Library Programs Certification
- Library Public Services Certification
- Library and Information Services Certification
- Archives Certification
Top Universities for Library Science in the US
The universities where one can study Library Science include-
- University of Illinois
- University of North Carolina
- University of Washington
- University of Maryland
- University of Texas
- Syracuse University
- Indiana University
- University of Tennessee
- Florida State University
- University of Wisconsin
Career Opportunities in Library Science
Candidates who have completed a degree in Library Science mainly work in the educational instruction and library occupations. Some of them also work in office and administrative support occupations though this isn’t directly associated with their field of study. Ideally, candidates who have a degree in Library Science can be library scientists and they will be able to work at TV stations, consulting firms, etc. where they have to handle and store information as required.
The kind of profession one can take is dependent on the level of the degree they have completed. Candidates who only have a bachelor’s degree will be able to take up professions like library assistant, library technician, library clerks, etc. whereas those who have a graduate degree will be able to be researchers, information brokers, etc.
The details of these jobs include-
- Library Technician- Their job description includes assisting readers in accessing the library catalogs and databases that are open to the public. They will also have to locate books from within the library as requested by readers.
Median Salary- $37,000 per year
- Clerical Library Assistant- They will be in charge of organizing and adding to existing records in the library. They will also have to issue, shelve, and receive books and other materials for readers.
Median Salary- $29,000 per year
- Librarian- They will be in charge of handling a library with tasks ranging from using the library material databases to the maintenance of books and other materials. They will also have to create library budgets and organize the library.
Median Salary- $61,000 per year
Salary and Employment Outlook
According to estimates, there is an expected growth in the career field for library technicians and assistants especially if they have a master’s degree in the subject. There is a projected growth of 9 percent for the jobs of librarians and library media specialists for the next 10 years with around 15,000 new openings for the post across the country. The median wage for those who have studied Library Science is estimated to be around $50,000 by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Most professions in this field will require candidates to have a graduate degree in library science or an equivalent of the same depending on where one is seeking employment.