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The library science discipline centers on gathering, organizing, and presenting information to the public. Graduates who earn a bachelor's in library science can work in various industries, including information sciences, medicine, government, business administration, law, museum science, and education. Specifically, with a bachelor's degree, graduates often acquire jobs as library technicians, assistants, archivists, market research analysts, or aides.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of librarian and library media specialist jobs will increase 5% from 2019-2029. This page provides information on careers and offers resources to help you research bachelor's programs in library science.

What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in Library Science Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top Five:

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Rank School Location
1 University Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, NE
2 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY
3 Clarion University of Pennsylvania Clarion, PA
4 University of Maine at Augusta Augusta, ME
5 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS
How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students. 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.

2020 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Library Science Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University Nebraska at Omaha

Omaha, NE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

UNO emphasizes academic excellence, and its students benefit from hands-on learning and multiple research opportunities.The university also offers some of the best online programs in Nebraska.

Aspiring librarians can earn an online bachelor of science in education with a library major. Library science courses include teaching and learning in digital environments, managing collections in libraries and information agencies, and management of resources in libraries.

UNO utilizes the Canvas learning management system. Online assignments include essays, exams, discussion boards, and group work. Students can also access online tutoring. Transfer students from accredited institutions may apply. UNO holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

2

Northern Kentucky University

Highland Heights, KY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 42%

Established in 1968, NKU offers nearly 120 degrees, including 90 bachelor's degrees. Its enrollment exceeds 14,000 students from around the world, and graduates gain access to a vast alumni network.

Students drawn to evaluation and information management can earn an entirely online bachelor's degree in library informatics. This degree requires 121 credits, including 45 major-related credits. Core library informatics courses include fundamentals of business computing, introduction to application development, management information systems, and critical reading. Students also complete a culminating capstone course.

Online courses typically follow an asynchronous format, allowing students to complete assignments on their own time while meeting deadlines. NKU holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

3

Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Clarion, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

Clarion offers over 175 programs, including 100 bachelor's degrees. The school strives to provide affordable coursework, and over 80% of its students receive some form of financial aid.

The Department of Library Science at Clarion offers an online bachelor of science in integrative studies with a library and information studies concentration. This degree requires 120 credits, including 48 general education credits, 48 core credits, and electives. Core courses include informed citizenry, organization of information, and the information society.

First-year college students must submit ACT or SAT scores and official transcripts. Students considering the honors program need a high school GPA of at least 3.64 and a minimum 1220 SAT score or 25 ACT score. Transfer students from accredited schools may apply. Clarion holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

4

University of Maine at Augusta

Augusta, ME Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 18%

UMA is one of seven universities within the University of Maine System, serving over 5,500 students annually. The university strives to transform the lives of all students, including many nontraditional learners.

UMA offers an online bachelor's in information and library science with no in-person attendance requirements. Notable courses include cataloging and technical processes, advanced reference service and materials, creating marketing materials for library and information agencies, and reader's advisory. This program also requires a senior capstone internship/practicum or a 120-hour advanced research project.

Online courses utilize an asynchronous format. UMA holds regional accreditation from the New England Commission on Higher Education.

5

University of Southern Mississippi

Hattiesburg, MS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 49%

Founded in 1910, USM prioritizes diversity, inclusion, and civic engagement. Students at USM engage in over 100,000 hours of service annually. The university oversees140 bachelor's programs, including multiple online options.

USM offers a bachelor's in library and information science that does not require in-person attendance. In addition to general education coursework, students complete 45 major-related credits and an 18-credit minor. Library science courses include sources of information for a multicultural society, rural and small libraries, and library instruction.

This degree also requires an internship, which students complete during their senior year; participants can make arrangements with a local library. All online students pay in-state tuition rates. USM holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Library Science Program?

A bachelor's degree in library science equips students with communication, reading, technology, and problem-solving skills.

A bachelor's degree in library science equips students with communication, reading, technology, and problem-solving skills. Successful students display customer service abilities, proficiencies with research tools, and knowledge of library protocols and methods. Students should also demonstrate resourcefulness and critical thinking.

Most library science programs offer bachelor of arts (BA) degrees. The BA centers on arts and humanities rather than mathematics and science. Many library science programs go by other titles, such as library and information sciences or information studies and library management.

Program applicants typically need to submit contact information, academic transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and an application fee. Many programs ask for letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Some schools require at least a 3.0 GPA for admittance.

Students complete at least 120 credits to graduate, and full-time learners take approximately four years to complete their program. Part-time students should plan for another one or two years. Courses cover topics like information and organization, multimedia and data collection, library management and leadership, literature and media for children, and research methods. Some online programs require a final project or thesis.

Library science students usually pursue one of several concentrations. These may include archival studies, information organization, law librarianship, information technology, health information, and public library studies. Many students acquire a teaching license or get a certification as a media specialist, public librarian, or technology specialist. Students specializing in public library work can intern at a library.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Library Science Program?

Most online bachelor's in library science programs feature the same courses as traditional, on-campus programs. Course structure and requirements vary by school and concentration, although many similarities exist. Programs with more focused career tracks tend to offer fewer electives than those that put more emphasis on the liberal arts.

Cataloging and Classification

This course serves as a core requirement in virtually all library science curricula. Students learn tools and methods to classify and archive books, documents, and other materials. This course also covers authority control, bibliographic utilities, data management systems, and online catalogs.

Grant Writing and Development

Many library science graduates find skills in grant writing to be useful in both public and private sectors. Students learn how to research external funding sources and apply for grants. This class also explores how resource allocation and community partnerships serve as crucial components to serving the public — especially underserved communities.

Information Agencies and Services

Students learn about various information service providers in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors. This course often provides students with practical experience using information services to create and disseminate documents. Students might also go on field trips or talk to librarians and computer and data analytics professionals in the field.

Information Architecture

This upper-level course teaches students to construct and organize content on social media, websites, and other applications. The class emphasizes user experience, digital information systems, and data management's technical aspects. It also covers the theories and applications of developing and testing interface design.

Library Management and Leadership

This class covers the managerial matters that library science professionals address. Most learners find this course useful because it touches on the business-related aspects of library management. Topics include event planning, fundraising, financial planning, and human resources. Students also learn management and supervisory skills, materials acquisition procedures, and staff training methods.

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What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Library Science Degree?

According to the BLS, librarian jobs are projected to grow by 5% between 2019 and 2029, which is slightly higher than the average projected growth rate for all occupations in the U.S. Public libraries, nonprofits, schools, and businesses will continue to rely on librarians for information and data management.

In 2019, librarians and library media specialists earned a median yearly salary of $59,500. Graduates can increase their earning potential if they obtain a master's degree, acquire specialized skills, or get a teaching license.

Learn more about library science careers and find out what you can do with a bachelor's degree in library science.

Archivist

Archivists work in many occupational settings to preserve, organize, and maintain records and documents. Many archivists assemble and display collections for the public. Some of these professionals appraise historical materials. Archivists require data information management knowledge to preserve physical records in digital formats. They also seek and obtain new materials for their archives. Archivists earn a median salary of $53,950.

Information Architect

Although some information architects earn bachelor's degrees in computer science and engineering, many professionals come from library science programs. Information architects classify data and create navigation schemes on websites that allow users to find and manage information. These professionals create categorization models to facilitate user-friendly access to content. According to PayScale, information architects earn an average salary of $102,140.

Librarian

Librarians work in schools, colleges and universities, and government institutions. Some companies employ librarians to organize and circulate their literature and documents. Librarians need skills in customer service because they often answer patrons' questions and help them research information. These professionals also require computer skills to use and manage digital databases. Librarians earn a median annual salary of $59,500.

Library Assistant or Technician

Library assistants serve a support role for librarians. They assist with information requests, records management, and outreach services. Library assistants perform administrative functions, such as answering telephones, repairing damaged books, and helping people locate materials. They also fulfill interlibrary loan requests and distribute library cards. Library assistants earn a median annual salary of $34,040.

Market Research Analyst

Companies may hire library science graduates as market research analysts. These individuals analyze large amounts of data related to topics like market conditions, consumers, and competitors to recommend solutions. Many market research analysts develop expertise in a particular industry if they want to work for a larger corporation. Market researchers make a median annual salary of $63,790.

Library Science Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Library Science Programs

Can you be a librarian without a master's?

Graduates can access diverse careers with a bachelor's degree in library science. In most occupations, you can advance by accumulating work experience and additional training. However, a master's degree can hasten career progression. Factors like the size of a library and state regulations influence whether a bachelor's degree suffices to serve as a librarian.

Is a library science degree worth it?

A library science degree requires considerable time, money, and effort for most students. Nevertheless, most librarians express a great deal of satisfaction with their career choice and recommend this career path to others.

What can I do with a bachelor's in library science?

Individuals who enjoy conducting research and finding information can seek many opportunities in this field. They can work in the nonprofit space, as well as in government, education, healthcare, law, and private industry. Professionals who work in smaller libraries perform multiple functions, while larger institutions typically hire librarians for more specialized work, such as user data analysis or archiving.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in library science degree?

The median annual pay for library science professionals varies depending on your career track, years of experience, and additional certificates or specializations. Your earning potential also increases as you build up your skill sets. However, the median salary for librarians and library media specialists is about $60,000.

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

Media collection specialists and librarians in technical occupations typically earn more than archivists and curators. Higher-paid professionals tend to work in higher education, private industry, and state and local government; these jobs come with a median yearly salary of $64,750. The highest 10% of library science professionals earn more than $94,000 a year.