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:

Earn the No. 4 ranked Master's in Library Science online from Syracuse University
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    • Can be completed in 18 months
    • ALA-accredited
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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

Finding the Best Master of Library Science Online Program for You

Featured ALA-accredited Online MLS Program

Featured ALA-accredited Online MLS Program
School Name Accreditation Status Classroom Setting Degree Type Credit Requirement
Syracuse University ALA-Accredited Live Master of Library and Information Science 36

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All Online Master of Library Science (MLS) Programs

Teach.com has compiled a comprehensive list of all the master of library science online programs in the United States along with their classroom setting, accreditation Status, degree type and credit requirements. In searching for the best online master of library science program that fits your needs, carefully consider the structure of the coursework and the admissions requirements to make your decision. Find a school that interests you and find out what it takes to graduate with an online master of library science!

All Online Master of Library Science (MLS) Programs
School Name Accreditation Status Classroom Setting Degree Type Credit Requirement
Appalachian State University Not ALA Accredited Live Master of Library Science 36
Clarion University ALA Accredited Not Live Master of Library and Information Science 36
Dominican University ALA Accredited Live Master of Library and Information Science 36
East Carolina University ALA Accredited Not Live Master of Library Science 39
East Central University Not ALA Accredited Not Live Masters in Library Media 32
Emporia State University ALA Accredited Live Master of Library Science 36
Fort Hayes University Not ALA Accredited Not live Masters in Education, Library Sciences 18
Indiana University - Purdue University ALA Accredited Not live Master of LIbrary and Information Science N/A
Lousiana State University ALA Accredited Not Live Master of Library and Information Science 36
Murray State University Not ALA Accredited Not Live Masters in Library Media 33
North Carolina Central University ALA Accredited Not Live Master of Library Science 36
Northeastern State University Not ALA Accredited Not Live M.S. in Library Science and Information Technology 33
Sam Houston State University Not ALA Accredited Not Live Master of Library Science 36
San Josè State University ALA Accredited Not Live Master of Library Science 43
St. John's University ALA Accredited Not Live M.S. in Library and Information Science 36
Syracuse University ALA Accredited Live Master of Library and Information Science 36
Texas A & M University Not ALA Accredited Not Live Masters of Educational Technology Library Science 36
Texas Womens University ALA Accredited Not Live Master of Library Science 36
University at Buffalo ALA Accredited Not Live M.S. Information and Library Science 36
University of Alabama ALA Accredited Live Master of Library and Information Studies 36
University of Central Missouri Not ALA Accredited Not Live Master of Library and Information Science N/A
University of Colorado Not ALA Accredited Not live Master of Information and Learning Technologies 30
University of Hawaii at Manoa ALA Accredited Not Live Master of Library and Information Science 39
University of Houston Not ALA Accredited Not Live Masters in School Library and Information Science 33
University of Illinois ALA Accredited Live Master of Library Science 40
University of Kentucky ALA Accredited Some live components Master of Library Science 36
University of Maryland ALA Accredited Not Live Master of Library and Information Science 36
University of Missouri ALA Accredited Live Master of Library and Information Science 39
University of North Carolina at Greensboro ALA Accredited Live Master of Library and Information Science 36
University of Northern Iowa ALA Accredited Live M.A. in School Library Studies 36
University of Oklahoma ALA Accredited Not live Master of Library and Information Science N/A
University of Pittsburgh ALA Accredited Not live Master of Library and Information Science 36
University of South Alabama Not ALA Accredited Not live Masters in Educational Media 30
University of South Carolina-Columbia ALA Accredited Not live Master of Library and Information Science 36
University of Southern California ALA Accredited N/A Master of Management in Library and Information Science 21
University of Southern Mississippi ALA Accredited Not Live Master of Library and Information Science 25
University of Illinois GRE highly recommended Some live components Master of Library Science 64
University of Washington ALA Accredited Not live Master of Library and Information Science 63
University of Wisconsin-Madison ALA Accredited Not Live M.A. Library and Information Studies 39
University of North Texas ALA Accredited Live M.S. in Library Science 36
Valley City State University ALA Accredited Not Live Masters of Library and Information Technologies 33
Wayne State University ALA Accredited Not live Master of Library and Information Science 36