2019 Accredited Online Library Science Degrees

Quick Facts
Accreditation: ALA
Degree Levels: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate
Avg Tuition: $21,528
Avg Salary: $57,517

There are 66 library science degrees offered online. These programs are available at all levels, but most librarian positions require a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree. Prospective students can browse our comprehensive list or best online master's programs list, which ranks schools based on tuition rates and alumni salaries provided by PayScale.

Depending on the area of specialty and desired career path, prospective students are encouraged to choose degree programs that are accredited, which ensures that their program meets high academic standards and is respected within the field. Continue reading for more information on available degree levels, online ALA accredited master's programs, the licensing and certification process, and careers in the field.

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Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Library Science Degrees ( 42)

School Accreditation Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
Auburn University SACS COC $29,640 100% (2 reviews)
84 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Ed.S. Library Media
Central Washington University NWCCU $22,010 100% (1 review)
42 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Endorsement in Library Media
Clarion University MSCHE $15,636 100% (3 reviews)
55 Programs, 2 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Certificate of Advanced Studies in Library Science
  • Certificate of Advanced Studies in Library Science (Post Master's)
Emporia State University HLC $19,918 Add Review
85 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Certificate in Archives
Florida State University SACS COC $18,786 100% (3 reviews)
55 Programs, 2 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Information Architecture Graduate Certificate
  • Reference Services Graduate Certificate
Georgia College & State University SACS COC $28,060 Add Review
33 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Certification in Library Media
Jacksonville State University SACS COC $15,582 Add Review
49 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Educational Specialist - Library Media (P-12)
Kent State University at Kent HLC $18,544 100% (1 review)
99 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Web-Enabled E-Learning Knowledge Management Graduate Certificate
Marshall University HLC $17,856 Add Review
37 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in School Library Media Specialist
McNeese State University SACS COC $15,958 100% (1 review)
29 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Post Bachelor Certificate - School Librarian
Minnesota State University at Mankato HLC $16,216 Add Review
51 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Library Media Education (K-12) Licensure
Montana State University NWCCU $24,071 Add Review
29 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in School Library Media
New Mexico State University HLC $21,022 Add Review
41 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Endorsement in School Library Media Specialist
North Carolina Central University SACS COC $19,106 Add Review
29 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Post-Master's Certificate in Digital Librarianship
Northern Illinois University HLC $23,816 Add Review
39 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Certificate of Graduate Study: Library Information Science
Saint Cloud State University HLC $16,462 Add Review
27 Programs, 2 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Information Media - Library Media Specialist
  • Graduate Certificate in Information Media - Technology Integration
Sam Houston State University SACS COC $18,022 100% (2 reviews)
67 Programs, 2 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Certificate in Youth Services Libraries
  • School Librarian Certification
San Jose State University WASC WSCUC $19,601 100% (1 review)
19 Programs, 2 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Post-Master's Certificate in Library and Information Science
  • Teacher Librarian Program
Southern Utah University NWCCU $20,288 100% (1 review)
50 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Graduate Endorsement in School Library Media
St. John's University MSCHE $40,520 Add Review
41 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Advanced Certificate in Library and Information Science
Syracuse University MSCHE $46,755 100% (1 review)
45 Programs, 2 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Certificate of Advanced Study in Digital Libraries
  • Certificate of Advanced Study in School Media
Texas Tech University SACS COC $18,652 0% (2 reviews)
144 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Book History and Digital Humanities
Texas Woman's University SACS COC $17,446 100% (2 reviews)
27 Programs, 2 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Evidence-Based Health Science Librarianship
  • Graduate Certificate in School Librarianship
University at Buffalo MSCHE $27,068 100% (1 review)
25 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Advanced Certificate in Library and Information Science
University of Arizona HLC $11,800 100% (2 reviews)
100 Programs, 3 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Archival Studies Certificate
  • Digital Information Management Certificate
  • Legal Information and Scholarly Communication Certificate
University of Colorado Denver HLC $25,259 100% (2 reviews)
101 Programs, 2 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Certificate in Highly Effective School Libraries
  • Teacher Librarian Endorsement
University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign HLC $31,194 Add Review
171 Programs, 4 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Certificate in Community Informatics
  • Certificate of Advanced Study in Library and Information Science
  • Certificate of Advanced Study School Librarian Licensure Program
  • K-12 Certification in Library and Information Science
University of Louisiana-Monroe SACS COC $20,570 100% (2 reviews)
55 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - School Librarian
University of Maine NECHE $30,282 Add Review
38 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Digital Curation
University of Memphis SACS COC $21,029 50% (2 reviews)
87 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in School Library Information Specialist
The University of Montana NWCCU $24,943 Add Review
18 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • K-12 Teacher Librarian Endorsement
University of Nebraska at Kearney HLC $13,194 0% (1 review)
97 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • PK-12 School Librarian Endorsement
University of North Texas SACS COC $20,504 60% (5 reviews)
48 Programs, 4 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Graduate Academic Certificate in Advanced Management in Libraries and Information Agencies
  • Graduate Academic Certificate in Digital Content Management
  • Graduate Academic Certificate in Youth Services in Libraries and Information Settings
  • School Library Certification
University of South Carolina-Columbia SACS COC $31,962 Add Review
47 Programs, 2 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Certificate of Graduate Study in Library and Information Science
  • Specialist in Library and Information Science
University of South Florida - Main Campus SACS COC $17,324 80% (5 reviews)
146 Programs, 3 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Library Information Technology
  • Graduate Certificate in School Library Media Specialist
  • Post Master's Graduate Certificate in Library and Information Science
University of Southern Mississippi SACS COC $10,218 0% (1 review)
45 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Archives and Special Collections
University of West Alabama SACS COC $16,818 100% (3 reviews)
73 Programs, 2 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Education Specialist in Library Media - Non Certification
  • Education Specialist in Library Media with Certification
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee HLC $20,844 0% (1 review)
88 Programs, 2 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Certificate of Advanced Study in Digital Libraries
  • Graduate Certificate in School Library Media
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater HLC $16,235 Add Review
30 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Licensure in Library Media
Valdosta State University SACS COC $17,196 Add Review
67 Programs, 3 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Certificate in Library Media
  • Certificate in School Library Media
  • Educational Specialist in Instructional Technology - P-12 Technology Applications with Certificate in Library Media
Valley City State University HLC $16,579 Add Review
37 Programs, 2 Certificates in Library Science (view all)
  • Certificate in Library Media Specialist
  • Graduate Certificate in Library and Information Technologies
Wayne State University HLC $27,203 50% (4 reviews)
38 Programs, 1 Certificate in Library Science (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Public Library Services to Children and Young Adults

Online Library Science Degree Overview & Career Information

Most professional librarians must obtain a master's degree in library science. Students pursuing this degree path should be aware that not all online master’s degrees in library science are accredited by the American Library Association (ALA), and that attending a program not accredited by the ALA could severely limit employment options after graduation.

While graduates can seek positions in a library without a master's degree, these positions are typically support staff roles such as technicians and library assistants. There are currently no agencies that programmatically accredit associate or undergraduate programs in information and library studies.

That said, students can opt to earn a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree in library science, and many institutions that offer ALA-accredited master’s degree programs also offer undergraduate minors and majors in library studies. In many cases, students are not required to obtain an undergraduate online library science degree in order to pursue a master’s degree. Library science students pursuing an online degree can expect to take classes such as Curriculum Resources, Information Tools by Computer, Information Ethics, and Academic Libraries, among others.

Students who wish to advance their careers by continuing their studies beyond the Master’s level might consider enrolling in a doctoral program or completing a graduate certificate in one of a number of specialties such as Archival Administration, Information Management, Public Librarianship, and more.

View Library Science Programs View Library Science Programs

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Library Science

Students seeking to earn an online bachelor’s degree in library science might consider online programs in general or liberal studies with a concentration in library science. Depending on the educational institution, library informatics programs may also be offered online or through a blended distance learning format.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that graduates who earn a bachelor’s degree in library science from an ALA-accredited institution will have an advantage in terms of employment options. Librarians seeking positions in school libraries will oftentimes need a state teaching license in addition to an online bachelor’s degree in library science.

Graduates of accredited online bachelor’s degree programs in library science will develop research skills, communication skills, and critical thinking skills that are valuable to a variety of industries and employers. People with a bachelor’s degree in library science might find work as bibliographers, information service assistants, online content editors, archivists, library paraprofessionals, or online researchers. While the BLS predicts a slow growth rate for librarian positions from 2012 to 2022, the best career opportunities will be in nonprofit organizations, private corporations, consulting firms, and other non-traditional settings.

Keep in mind that the majority of careers in public and academic librarianship require advanced degrees. Therefore, many institutions that offer online bachelor’s degrees in library science also provide opportunities for online Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) programs, allowing students to further their studies at the same institution.

View Bachelor's Programs View Bachelor's Programs

Online Master's in Library Science

There are currently more than 60 ALA-accredited schools in the country, many of which offer online master’s degrees in library science. Several hybrid programs also exist, mixing online and on-campus courses. While requirements for program admittance vary, applicants seeking an online master’s degree in library science must typically have earned a bachelor’s degree in any major and successfully passed the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). To learn more about online master's programs in library science, see our master's overview which includes a list of the best programs.

View Master's Programs View Master's Programs

Online Doctoral Degrees in Library Science

Online doctorate programs can prepare students to become librarians in government offices, corporations, or educational institutions. Certification requirements for school or community librarians apply in most states. Students considering doctoral programs should note that most will include a residence requirement.

Students do not necessarily need to have a master’s degree in order to gain admittance into an online doctoral degree in library science, and graduate or undergraduate work does not have to be in library science. However, applicants are required to take a qualifying exam to establish candidacy for a doctoral program, and students who enter a doctoral program without a master’s degree may be required to complete additional graduate-level coursework in order to satisfy doctoral program requirements.

Students earning an online doctoral degree in library science develop leadership, communication, research, and critical-thinking skills. Most programs offer interdisciplinary instruction and are open to applicants from all academic backgrounds. Possible courses of study include Advanced Research Methods, Theories in Library Information Science, Teaching Library Information Science, Information and the Public, and Regulations and Information Science. After students successfully complete all course requirements, they are entitled to sit for a final exam before they start a dissertation. Each student must research and defend a thesis in front of a panel of faculty members in order to receive an online doctoral degree in library science. Students who earn a doctorate in library science can work in private or government sectors as published scholars, university chairpersons, researchers, corporate librarians, and library science professors.

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Online Certificates in Library Science

Undergraduate Certificates in Library Science

Online certificate programs in library science offer students the necessary training required to manage and organize library information and resources. Exposure to cataloguing systems and technologies used by libraries are part of the required coursework, and skills gained can be applied in the future should the student seek an online bachelor's or master’s degree in library science. Certificate programs typically last one year and require students to have earned a high school diploma or GED prior to admission.

The popular online library technician certificate allows students to become acquainted with the tools and technologies libraries use to manage, retrieve, and organize information sources. Classes teach fundamental skills in cataloging and classifying electronic records, periodicals, and books. Courses may include: Internet Fundamentals for Librarians, Electronic Databases, Cataloging and Classification, Collection Development, and Information Resources.

Graduate Certificates in Library Science

Several schools offer online certificates specializing in other areas of library science such as school media, youth services, archive management, reference services, or academic, art, health, law, or music librarianship. Such certificates are sometimes referred to as Post Master's certificates, as they require a master’s degree for admission and are designed for working librarians seeking to advance their skills in areas such as digital or public librarianship. Depending on course outcomes, some programs may culminate in an oral examination or final project.

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Accreditation for Online Library Science Degrees

The American Library Association (ALA) is the largest and oldest library association in the world. An American Library Association (ALA) accreditation specifically allows potential library workers greater flexibility when it comes to searching for jobs or advancing in the career field. Students attending an ALA-accredited degree program can feel confident that the program has been assessed for educational quality based on peer, external, and nongovernmental evaluations.

While students can earn a master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program, they can also seek a master’s degree with a school librarianship specialty from an American Association of School Librarians (AASL)-recognized program accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The AASL does not review online library science degree programs that are not affiliated with a unit accredited by the CAEP.

Since the CAEP dictates that any institution that prepares K-12 teachers for positions in public schools must be evaluated by professional bodies, the ALA joined CAEP to give the ALA the opportunity to evaluate programs for school librarians and to identify specific entry-level competencies for school librarians. The two organizations work together to promote educational opportunities for anyone seeking a career as a school librarian.

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Licensing and Certification Process

Each state has different requirements that students must meet in order to receive licensure or certification. Many states require that students pursuing a career path as a school librarian receive licensure or certification as a teacher in an alternate subject in addition to obtaining certification as a librarian.

In general, students will pursue an accredited bachelor’s program prior to receiving certification. Depending on which state they live in, an application for licensure or certification may be available online. Students then submit the completed application and official transcripts to the certification commission in their state. Many states will accept library or teacher certifications from other states, but students who are planning on moving to a different state should check with the certifying agency to verify that certificates are accepted or transferable. All prospective students are advised to contact their state’s education board to learn about specific certification or state licensing requirements and ensure that the program they choose is recognized by the state they wish to work in.

School librarians who wish to demonstrate their commitment to the profession and their expertise while possibly qualifying for salary increases might consider pursuing voluntary certification with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Qualified applicants must pass a four-part evaluation process before they are granted a library media certification.

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Careers in Library Science

While some online library science degrees provide a solid generalized education in the field, many others offer more specific areas of study for students who are seeking a more specialized career path. In either case, it’s important to know that there are many different job opportunities in the library science industry for students to choose. Here is a sampling of career paths that library science degrees can lead to:

  • Integrated Library System Administrator: This management-style position requires the individual to oversee all of the IT systems used by the library. Responsibilities can include managing internal server problems, website issues, interactive features, and more.
  • Web Archivist: Most libraries maintain a solid website presence that includes archives of all microfilms, records, documents, and more. A Web Archivist is responsible for transferring hard media into a digital form before uploading it to the library’s website for access by the public or other employees.
  • School Librarian: In addition to assisting students with their academic and research needs, a School Librarian may oversee students’ access to videos, computers, and other resources.
  • Web Services Librarian: A Web Services Librarian leads the management, design, and vision of a library’s website to meet the needs of its users, whether staff, faculty, or students of the university or school. This role may work to improve user experience and conduct analysis of the website taxonomy.
  • Director of Content Acquisition: This role focuses on the accumulation, purchasing, and sharing of resources. Individuals in this position are responsible for locating and obtaining documents, books, and other materials to add to the library as well as overseeing the archiving, cataloging, and availability of those materials.
  • Library Director: The Library Director is usually the top leadership position. This person oversees and prepares the budget, makes strategic plans, develops policies for service and employment, and organizes fundraisers.

References

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