library science

Master’s Degrees in Library Science: A Gateway to Career Opportunities

Library science professionals remain in demand. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects only a 2% growth for the profession in the next decade, the relative stability of the field is still good news. Additionally, there’s some compatibility between the library and information services field and other vocations, such as archivist, curator or museum worker. These fields will average about a 7% growth in the next decade, according to the BLS. With these statistics, it’s a wise idea to consider advancing your education by earning a master’s degree in library science.

Types of Graduate Degrees in Library Science and Related Disciplines

Courses of study that offer master’s degrees at their conclusion are the most common form of graduate education programs. Depending on the school, you might earn a Master of Arts (M.A.), a Master of Science (M.Sc.), or a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS). The American Library Association (ALA) website mention other kinds of degrees in the field, which include the Master of Library Science (MLS) and the Master of Librarianship.

However, some programs take a slightly different approach to pedagogy. You may find programs that offer a Master of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS). This degree typically focuses on not only library science curricula, but also leadership and business management pedagogy. One example of this is the USC MMLIS, a course of study housed in the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. Students learn topics such as business administration, marketing and management. The focus is of these curricula is to train professionals in leadership, outreach, advancement and similar skills.

Accreditation Means Opportunities in the United States and Abroad

Depending on the country and its governing body for libraries, the degree you earn in the states may be recognized. For example, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), a body in the United Kingdom similar to the ALA, has formed reciprocal agreements with the ALA, the Library Association of New Zealand and the Australian Library and Information Association. Should you relocate to the UK, this may assist you in finding employment. However, you should check for specific requirements in your country of interest.

The Next Steps

First of all, you’ll need to research each school’s admission requirements and ensure you gather the information they request prior to applying. Keep in mind that you will likely need some letters of recommendation and a statement of personal intent, in addition to transcripts from your undergraduate or other coursework. Finally, you’ll need to submit relevant test scores, such as those for your Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if you’re not a native English speaker.

The next thing to consider is how you plan to pay for your educational investment. Student loans are a common method of financing degrees. However, no matter what vehicles you select to foot the bill, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). U.S. News and World Report offers some additional sound advice, such as checking with your employer for tuition reimbursement programs. Lastly, paid assistantships and scholarships are other options that you don’t have to repay.

Increase Your Employability With Advanced Education

With continued employment prospects in the library science fields, and growth in related vocations, now may be the perfect time to pursue advanced education. Master’s degrees in these disciplines may come in a variety of forms, but the end goal is to get you ready for higher positions of responsibility, including management, collection development, advancement and directorships. Opportunities may open up both in the states and abroad as a result. With the right preparation and funding, you’ll graduate with more knowledge and better employment prospects.

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