Best Online Master’s in Library Science Programs of 2023

Explore the best online master's in library science degrees, what jobs the degree can lead to, and expected salaries for jobs in this field.
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  • Librarians oversee libraries and help people find information and research material.
  • To become a librarian, you typically need a master's degree in library science.
  • You can choose concentrations based on your interests, including school librarianship and youth services.
  • A master's in library science leads to jobs that pay over $100,000 annually.

Librarians have a valuable job in our society. They champion our access to information; support our freedom to read, learn, and research what we want; and track down whatever materials we can't find ourselves.

If that sounds like the kind of career you want, an online master's in library science degree might be a great fit for you. Here's how to get started:

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Ready to Start Your Journey?

  • Explore this page to determine whether this path is the right choice for you.
  • Check out the top-ranked online master's in library science programs, as well as our sponsored programs.
  • Request more information from schools you're interested in to find the best fit for your schedule, pocketbook, and career goals.

What Can You Do With a Master's in Library Science?

  • What It's About: You'll learn how to manage vast amounts of printed and digital information, help people find what they're looking for, and oversee the daily operations of a library.
  • Purpose: Most librarian roles require a master's in library science. By getting a library science master's, you'll qualify for jobs that need both broad and specialized librarian skills, including researching, archiving, and tracking information.
  • Place of Work: Librarians find work in many different settings, including schools, public libraries, government libraries, private businesses, and law firms.

Featured Programs in Library Science

Why Should I Get a Master's in Library Science Degree?

A master's in library science is necessary to become a librarian. It is a minimum education requirement for most employers. But beyond education, a library science degree has other benefits, including attractive salaries and strong job prospects.

Benefits of a Master's in Library Science

  • Qualify for high-paying librarian jobs
  • Gain in-demand information management skills
  • Meet requirements for librarian certification programs
  • Diverse work settings
  • Strong job prospects

Reasons to Get Your Library Science Degree Online

  • Keep working while you earn your degree
  • Balance school and other obligations
  • Maintain flexible class and work schedules
  • Control the pace of your education
  • Learn from anywhere you want

How Much Does an Online Master's in Library Science Degree Cost?

The price of a master's in library science can vary dramatically, especially between public and private institutions. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public schools charged an average of $12,394 in tuition for master's degrees during the 2020-21 academic year.

Private schools charged an average tuition of $26,621 in the same timeframe. You should compare online and campus-based program costs to see which format is more affordable.

Average Annual Tuition of a Master's Degree

Public Institution

$11,957

Private Institution (Nonprofit)

$19,167

Source: BestColleges, "How Much Does a Master’s Degree Cost?"

Total Average Cost of a Master's Degree (Two Years)

Public Institution

$54,718

Private Institution (Nonprofit)

$72,572

Source: BestColleges, "How Much Does a Master’s Degree Cost?"

What Are the Best Online Master's in Library Science Programs of 2023?

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

#1 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Programs of 2023

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

  • Indianapolis, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $478
Out of State | $478

Credits to Graduate
39

Program Information
Program Accreditation | American Library Association

The Department of Library and Information Science at IUPUI trains you in information management, digital preservation, and leadership. During the master's in library science program, you'll gain career-focused skills. 

Choose from eight specializations to focus your degree, with options like archives management, academic librarianship, and digital curation. 

Ready to apply? You'll need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA. IUPUI also asks for a personal statement and two recommendations.

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,795
Out-of-state
$30,477
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
29,390
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
89% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#2 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Programs of 2023

Texas A&M University-Commerce

  • Commerce, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $408
Out of State | $816

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | State Board for Educator Certification

Texas teachers can move into school librarian roles thanks to the online library science degree at TAMUC. The master's in educational technology library science integrates technology into education. 

Create a portfolio centered on technology-supported learning to showcase your skills. The program leads to certification as a school librarian or library media specialist in Texas. 

You'll need a Texas teacher or principal certificate to apply. The program also asks for official transcripts, a resume, and a personal statement.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,790
Out-of-state
$17,060
Retention Rate
58%
Admission Rate
60%
Students Enrolled
12,249
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
89% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#3 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Programs of 2023

Fresno Pacific University

  • Fresno, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $705
Out of State | $705

Credits to Graduate
37

Program Information
Program Accreditation | California Commission on Teaching Credentialing

Interested in school librarian jobs? FPU offers a master of arts in education through its teacher librarian program. Learn how to collaborate with classroom teachers and train students to find and use information.

In this program, you'll gain experience in library and information technology. Licensed California teachers can receive their teacher librarian credential through the program. 

Applicants submit 2-3 references, a statement of purpose, and official transcripts. The program requires a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants also complete an orientation interview with the program director.

Average Tuition
In-state
$32,954
Out-of-state
$32,954
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
67%
Students Enrolled
3,995
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
9% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
#4 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Programs of 2023

Louisiana State University

  • Baton Rouge, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $485
Out of State | $485

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | American Library Association

The fully online master's in library science degree at LSU prioritizes flexibility. During the master of library and information science program, you can study information theory and strengthen research skills. You can also earn a certificate in archival studies or records and information management. 

You'll also choose 18 credits of electives in librarianship, archival studies, cultural heritage resource management, and records and information management. 

To apply to the program, you'll need an accredited bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. The program also asks for a resume and a statement of purpose on your career goals and interest in LSU's program.

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,038
Out-of-state
$8,038
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
73%
Students Enrolled
34,285
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
85% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#5 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Programs of 2023

Wayne State University

  • Detroit, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Primarily Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $855
Out of State | $1,714

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | American Library Association

Customize your library science degree at WSU. The online master's in library and information science offers multiple tracks that build on the core curriculum. Specialize in library services, information management, or archives and digital content management. Each track includes several focus options.

You can apply to the program with an accredited bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. You'll need to provide a statement of purpose and a resume. You must also complete an online orientation. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,024
Out-of-state
$29,894
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
69%
Students Enrolled
26,241
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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#6 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Programs of 2023

Kent State University

  • Kent, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $725
Out of State | $735

Credits to Graduate
37

Program Information
Program Accreditation | American Library Association

The School of Information at KSU trains you in research and information management. Over 700 students enroll in the master of library and information science program, making it the largest graduate program at the university. It's also the only ALA-accredited library science degree in Ohio.

You'll choose 21 elective credits to customize your degree and complete a master's portfolio. You can also take classes in health informatics, user experience design, and knowledge management. 

To apply, you'll need an accredited bachelor's degree and a minimum 2.75 GPA. KSU also asks for three recommendation letters, an application essay, a statement on readiness for graduate education, and a resume. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,810
Out-of-state
$19,686
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
26,822
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#7 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Programs of 2023

St. John's University

  • Queens, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,355
Out of State | $1,355

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | American Library Association

A private university in New York, St. John's prioritizes professional development in its library science degree. The master's in library and information science degree incorporates career guidance and mentorship support throughout the two-year online program.

St. John's also offers focus areas in youth services, academic librarianship, archival studies, and public librarianship. 

The program requires an accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. You'll also need a resume, two recommendation letters, and a statement of professional purpose.

Average Tuition
In-state
$42,530
Out-of-state
$42,530
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
20,143
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#8 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Programs of 2023

Drexel University

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Primarily Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,382
Out of State | $1,382

Credits to Graduate
45 quarter credits

Program Information
Program Accreditation | American Library Association

Interested in information management? The College of Computing and Informatics at Drexel offers a master's degree in information that leads to careers in libraries, corporations, and the public sector. 

The interdisciplinary ALA-accredited program focuses on information organization and management. Coursework also covers information literacy and leadership. You'll complete an experiential capstone project to gain hands-on experience. 

You'll need a minimum 3.0 GPA and a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution to apply. Drexel also asks for two recommendations, a statement of purpose, and a resume. The program does not require GRE scores.

Average Tuition
In-state
$53,868
Out-of-state
$53,868
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
23,589
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
89% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#9 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Programs of 2023

University of Missouri

  • Columbia, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $511
Out of State | $511

Credits to Graduate
39

Program Information
Program Accreditation | American Library Association

A top-ranked public university, Mizzou offers many online master's programs. For example, you can earn your master's in library and information science in a fully online format. By taking 1-2 classes per semester, you'll graduate in 2-4 years.  

Mizzou's focus areas include information services, archival sciences, and e-learning information services. 

To apply, you'll need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. The program requires a minimum 3.0 GPA in the final 60 credits of undergraduate study. Mizzou does not require GRE scores.

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,330
Out-of-state
$27,612
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
31,089
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
87% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#10 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Programs of 2023

North Carolina Central University

  • Durham, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $298
Out of State | $1,037

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | American Library Association

Choose from seven tracks in the library science degree offered by the NCCU School of Library and Information Sciences. The online master's in library science program has tracks for academic librarians, law librarians, public librarians, and special librarians. You can also focus on archives and records management, school media coordination, or digital library science.

You'll need at least a 3.0 GPA and a bachelor's degree to apply. The program also requires two recommendations. NCCU admits master's students for fall, spring, and summer start dates.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,728
Out-of-state
$16,435
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
87%
Students Enrolled
8,078
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master's Degree in Library Science?

Most master's of library science programs require 30-40 credits, which amounts to about two years of full-time study. However, you can complete your degree in 12-15 months by enrolling full-time in an accelerated program. Meanwhile, part-time enrollment may take up to three years.

Required Course Credits

30-60*
*Depending on your program and specialization

Field Study Requirements*

No
*Depending on your program and specialization

Concentrations for a Master's in Library Science Degree

In addition to studying to become a librarian, a master's in library science degree gives you plenty of concentration options. Depending on your preferences, you can focus on specific areas that can benefit you later in your career.

Some popular specializations include the following:

  • Library and Information Services
  • Curation
  • Archives
  • School Librarianship
  • Youth Services

How Much Money Can I Make With a Master's in Library Science Degree?

Median annual wage for librarians and library media specialists

$61,190

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Median annual wage for the highest 10 percent of earners

$97,870

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

You can expect to make a median annual salary of $61,190 as a librarian, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Jobs in colleges, universities and professional schools paid the most at $62,550 per year in 2021. But information science industries pay the least at $50,340 each year.

Elementary and secondary schools offered a median pay of $61,640 for librarians, while local government roles (excluding education or hospitals) paid $60,130.

What Jobs Can I Get With A Master's in Library Science Degree?

Graduates with a master's in library science often become public librarians, school librarians, or specialized librarians working in corporate, law, or medical settings.

The library science degree also gives you the skills, knowledge, and credentials to take on various other roles, including working in businesses, museums, and administrative services. Graduates can also work outside of libraries and become teachers or researchers.

Common Library Science Career Paths

  • Librarian and Library Media Specialists
  • Archivists and Curators
  • Instructional Coordinator
  • High School Teacher (may need additional certification or licensure)
  • Library Director
  • Computer and Information Research Scientists

Is an Online Master's in Library Science Worth it?

An online master's in library science degree is worth it if you want a flexible degree that leads to numerous librarian roles. Your degree will give you the qualifications needed for those roles.

A master's in library science is especially great if you enjoy helping people find information, researching, and creating catalogs.

Everything Else You Need to Know About Master's in Library Science Degrees

What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in library science?

Library director is one of the highest-paying jobs you can get with a master's in library science. You can earn up to $111,000 a year in this role, according to Payscale. Other high-paying jobs include law librarian (up to $85,000), reference librarian (up to $74,000), and archivist (up to $73,000).

What classes will I take in a master's in library science program?

You'll take classes that will give you a broad and specialized library education. You can expect to take classes such as:

  • Library and Information Science
  • Information Organization
  • Management of Libraries and Information Centers
  • Archives and Manuscripts
  • Materials and Services to Diverse Populations

What colleges offer library science degrees?

Unlike common degrees like business or English, library science degrees are not always available at colleges. But choosing an online library science degree is a convenient way to enroll in a program, regardless of location.

Can you be a librarian without a library science degree?

According to the BLS, you'll need a master's in library science to be qualified for most librarian jobs. School librarians and other library professionals need a bachelor's or master's degree. A teaching certificate may also be required for school-related positions, but requirements vary by state.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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