Online Master of Library Science (MLS)

With a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree, also referred to as a master of library and information science or MLIS, you can work at the forefront of the dynamic field of librarianship. School librarians help teachers and students navigate the evolving world of information and technology, and they help students develop the lifelong skill of research.

Thanks to rapid advances in technology and systems, librarianship today is radically different from librarianship 10 years ago. With this change has come the emergence of online master of library science programs as the most efficient way to jumpstart your career in librarianship. An online master of library science program prepares you for the changing environment of digital trends and ensures a comprehensive understanding of library resources, both tech-based and otherwise. Some responsibilities of a librarian in a school setting include service to faculty and students, reference, circulation, technical services, serials management, manuscripts, music, digital files, media services, teaching, management, and more.

With technology becoming so integral to the field of library science, enrolling in a master of library science online program is an easy way to begin developing the tech skills necessary to be a librarian in the digital age. A master’s degree from an accredited institution is essential to becoming a practicing school librarian. This, along with state certification, will allow you to become a librarian at any grade level.

Jumpstart Your Career in Librarianship, Explore Online Library Science Degrees:

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Online Master of Library Science Admissions Requirements

Each online library science master's degree program has its own set of prerequisites, so you should contact your accredited institution for detailed information regarding its policies. With that being said, here are some example components that might go into an application for an online MLS program:

  1. Application: Fill out an initial application, which you can find on the website of the accredited institution of your choice. Paper and online forms are both generally accepted.
  2. Bachelor’s degree: You should have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from an accredited institution prior to applying to an MLIS program.
  3. Transcripts: Request transcripts in advance of the application deadline, and upload one official copy of each transcript from any postsecondary schools you have attended.
  4. Personal statement: Write a personal statement, which is typically in the form of an essay. You may be required to submit multiple essays to fully express the intent and purpose of your application. Below are some common topics that should be mentioned in a statement.
    • Your main academic and personal interests
    • Experiences in school or work that have helped to prepare you for this course of study
    • Why you wish to study for the degree you’ve chosen
    • Why you wish to study at the university
    • Your plans for the future after you earn your degree
  5. Resume/CV: Upload a copy of your most recent resume or curriculum vitae as part of your application.
  6. Letters of recommendation: Submit your letters of recommendation. The number of letters required varies with each school. Be sure to request them well in advance of the deadline.
  7. Test Scores: Many schools require GRE General Test scores or TOEFL/IELTS scores for international students; however, some programs do not require test scores at all.

Online MLS Curriculum

The curriculum and number of credits required to complete a master’s program vary widely depending on your school and specialization. However, a typical online MLIS program includes courses in:

  • Information organization
  • Library and information studies
  • Research methods
  • User center information services
  • Information technology

Online Master of Library Science Concentrations

Many students completing a master in library science online have the option of concentrating their studies in a specific field of librarianship. Although concentration options vary widely from program to program, here are a few example concentrations and descriptions of what their curriculum might look like:

School Media

Gain enhanced insight into developing and managing educational media and providing library services and resources to students of all ages.

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Information Management

Learn skills in managing information acquisition, utility, retention, and transfer to help organizations succeed.

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Librarian Career Outlook

After completing an online MLS program, the next step is to get licensed. This certification will enable you to officially work in the field of your choice. Every state has its own licensure requirements to become a school librarian. The median annual salary for a librarian was $58,520 in 2017. School librarians with an degree can work at the elementary through high school level.

In addition to these common school librarian roles, there are also specializations and different roles that a recent graduate from an online MLS program can pursue, including:

  • Academic librarianship
  • Archival or special collections librarianship
  • Cataloging or metadata
  • Digital librarianship
  • Digital preservation
  • Information technology and information science
  • Library management
  • Museum studies
  • Public librarianship
  • Reference librarianship
  • Special librarianship
  • Youth services
  • Children’s librarianship
  • Teen librarianship