Master's in Library Science

In order to become a librarian, you must first become a Master of Library Information Science (MLIS) or the equivalent. The master's program of your choice must be accredited by the American Library Association. They currently list 63 accredited programs in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. You can find a directory of accredited programs at this website: http://www.ala.org/accreditedprograms/directory. Some of these programs might not be a "master's in library science (MLS)" per se. They may, instead, have different titles that mean the same thing. For instance, you might come across Master of Librarianship (ML), Master of Information Studies (MIS), or Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS). You might also find titles like Master of Science (MS) or Master of the Arts (MA). Regardless of the name, if it is ALA accredited, than employers will recognize your qualifications.


Getting Accepted into a Master's in Library Science Program

What do you need to be accepted into a master's in library science graduate degree program? Well, first one has to have an undergraduate degree. Though there are some bachelor's degree programs in library information science, it is not necessary that your undergraduate concentration be in it. In fact, those undergraduate programs are so rare, that it is mostly assumed your prior education will be in some other (hopefully related) field. As with most graduate schools, to be accepted into a master's in library science degree program, you will likely need to send the admissions office your GRE scores, letters of recommendation, transcripts from your previous educational institutions, and a personal essay.

So, let's say you are accepted into the program. Now, what does it take to become a Master of Library Information Science? The coursework consists of a whole host of things. A librarian's job requires knowledge in everything from computer technology, to cataloguing, to preservation of materials, to reference, to acquisition of resources, to customer service, to administration and management. Needles to say, your classes will harbor a wide variety of subjects. Particular classes in a master's of library science degree program might be electronic information systems, information users and services, collection management, or resources for children. Many times the courses you take will depend on your preferred specialization. Some universities require you to pick a specialized track and some just offer electives in these specializations. These specializations can include categories like archival studies or school library media. All master's in library science degree programs will have basic foundation courses as well as specialized courses.

Many universities will require some sort of fieldwork on top of their regular coursework in order to become a Master of Library Information Science. Some call it a "practicum," some might call it "field experience." Either way, these courses are set up to give the prospective Master of Library Information Science a chance to get some real life experience. It is especially helpful because it may help you decide what kind of library you wish to work in (there are public, primary and secondary school, university, law, hospital, and government libraries) as well as what area of librarianship you wish to specialize in (wether you prefer a life of acquisition of materials, administration, or computer referencing, etc.).

After you've completed the coursework and the necessary fieldwork, you may walk across the graduation stage as a Master of Library Information Science. You will have everything you need to follow your dreams and become what you've always wanted to be, a librarian.