2019 Accredited Online Library Science Degrees

Quick Facts
Accreditation: ALA
Degree Levels: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate
Avg Tuition: $24,415
Avg Salary: $57,517

There are 157 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 ( 67)

Partner School
Partner School
Full List Accreditation Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
Full List (66)
Appalachian State University SACS COC $21,331 100% (4 reviews)
47 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library Science
Auburn University SACS COC $29,658 100% (2 reviews)
114 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • M.Ed. in Library Media
Clarion University MSCHE $25,064 100% (3 reviews)
56 Programs, 3 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Science in Library Science
  • Master of Science in Library Science - School Library Media
  • Master of Science of Library Science - School Library Media
Dominican University HLC $18,920 Add Review
45 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library and Information Science
Drexel University MSCHE $33,996 60% (5 reviews)
320 Programs, 4 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science - Digital Technology Services
  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science
  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science - Information and Data Services
  • Master of Science in Library and Information Systems - User and Community Services
East Carolina University SACS COC $20,419 100% (4 reviews)
148 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library Science
Eastern Kentucky University SACS COC $15,220 33% (3 reviews)
102 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Arts in Education School Media Librarian (P-12)
Emporia State University HLC $20,867 Add Review
65 Programs, 5 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library Science
  • Master of Library Science - Archives Studies
  • Master of Library Science - Informatics
  • Master of Library Science - Leadership and Adminstration
Florida State University SACS COC $26,707 100% (3 reviews)
57 Programs, 2 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • MS in Information - General Information Studies
  • MS in Library and Information Studies
Georgia College & State University SACS COC $20,508 Add Review
23 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Education in Library Media
Grand Canyon University HLC $10,555 53% (413 reviews)
220 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • MED in Curriculum & Instruction - Technology (No IR, No Cert.)
IUPUI HLC $24,287 100% (1 review)
73 Programs, 8 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library and Information Science
  • Master of Library and Information Science - Academic Librarianship
  • Master of Library and Information Science - Digital Curation
  • Master of Library and Information Science - Public Librarianship/Adult Services
Jacksonville State University SACS COC $19,086 100% (1 review)
61 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Science in Education - Library Media
Kent State University at Kent HLC $20,396 100% (1 review)
102 Programs, 5 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Dual Degree M.B.A./Library and Information Science
  • Dual degree Master of Education / Master of Library and Information Science for K-12 School Library Media Licensure
  • Master of Library and Information Science
  • Master of Library and Information Science and Master of Education - K-12 Library School Media Licensure
Lindenwood University HLC $16,960 Add Review
72 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • MA in Education - Library Media
Marshall University HLC $19,522 Add Review
41 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Arts in Education - School Library Media Specialist
Middle Tennessee State University SACS COC $24,192 100% (1 review)
33 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library Science
Minnesota State University at Mankato HLC $7,856 Add Review
47 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Science in School Library and Information Studies
Murray State University SACS COC $27,684 Add Review
66 Programs, 3 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Arts in Education in Library Media
  • Master of Arts in Education in Library Media for Certification in Library Media
  • Master of Arts in Education in Library Media for Initial Certification
New England College NECHE $13,080 38% (8 reviews)
89 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Education in Digital and Media Literacy
North Carolina Central University SACS COC $20,365 Add Review
36 Programs, 8 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library Science
  • Master of Library Science - Academic Librarian
  • Master of Library Science - Archives and Records Manager
  • Master of Library Science - Digital Librarian
Northern Arizona University HLC $18,619 72% (18 reviews)
160 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • MED in Educational Technology
Northern Illinois University HLC $22,551 Add Review
38 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Science in Education - Instructional Technology - Library Information Specialist
Northwestern State University of Louisiana SACS COC $19,275 100% (2 reviews)
116 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction - School Librarian
Old Dominion University SACS COC $29,976 80% (10 reviews)
153 Programs, 2 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library and Information Studies
  • Master of Library and Information Studies - School Librarianship
Rutgers University MSCHE $30,792 67% (3 reviews)
98 Programs, 4 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Information
  • Master of Information - Archives and Preservation
  • Master of Information - Library and Information Science
  • Master of Information - School Librarianship
Saint Cloud State University HLC $12,566 Add Review
26 Programs, 2 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • MS in Information Media
  • MS in Information Media - Library Media
Sam Houston State University SACS COC $15,045 100% (2 reviews)
65 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library Science
San Jose State University WASC WSCUC $18,659 100% (1 review)
17 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library and Information Science
Southern Arkansas University HLC $8,558 100% (2 reviews)
41 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • M.Ed. in Library Media and Information Specialist
St. John's University MSCHE $18,175 Add Review
41 Programs, 8 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science
  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Academic Librarianship
  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Archival Studies
  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Legal Information Professional
Syracuse University MSCHE $37,276 100% (1 review)
45 Programs, 3 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • MS in Library and Information Science
  • MSLIS
  • MSLIS - School Media
Texas A & M University-Commerce SACS COC $13,664 86% (7 reviews)
50 Programs, 2 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Education in Educational Technology - Library Science
  • Master of Science in Educational Technology - Library Science
Texas Woman's University SACS COC $14,542 100% (2 reviews)
55 Programs, 4 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Dual Master of Library Science and Master of Science in Health Studies
  • Master of Arts in Library Science
  • Master of Library Science
  • Master of Library Science in School Librarian Certification
Trevecca Nazarene University SACS COC $9,968 Add Review
49 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library and Information Science
Union University SACS COC $8,020 Add Review
52 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Art in Education - Library Information Specialist Certification
University at Buffalo MSCHE $24,724 100% (1 review)
26 Programs, 2 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • MS in Information and Library Science
  • MS in School Librarianship
University of Alabama SACS COC $28,100 67% (3 reviews)
78 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • MLIS
University of Arizona HLC $12,302 100% (2 reviews)
100 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • MA in Library and Information Science
University of Central Missouri HLC $14,923 100% (2 reviews)
58 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Science Library Science and Information Services
University of Colorado Denver HLC $23,499 100% (2 reviews)
104 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Arts in Information and Learning Technologies - Library
University of Houston-Clear Lake SACS COC $17,692 Add Review
29 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Science in School Library and Information Science
University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign HLC $31,811 Add Review
129 Programs, 7 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science
  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science - Archival and Special Collections
  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science - Data and Asset Management
  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science - Information Organization and Management
University of Kentucky SACS COC $30,224 100% (4 reviews)
79 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Science in Library Science
University of Maryland - College Park MSCHE $28,122 50% (4 reviews)
48 Programs, 5 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library & Information Science
  • Master of Library & Information Science in Diversity and Inclusion
  • Master of Library & Information Science in Individualized Program Plan
  • Master of Library & Information Science in School Library
University of Memphis SACS COC $19,481 50% (2 reviews)
97 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Science in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership - School Library Information Specialist
University of Missouri HLC $24,847 Add Review
123 Programs, 2 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library and Information Science
  • Master of Library and Information Science - Library Media Specialist
University of Nebraska at Kearney HLC $13,823 0% (1 review)
97 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Science in Education - Instructional Technology: School Librarian
University of North Carolina at Greensboro SACS COC $21,765 100% (2 reviews)
41 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library and Information Studies
University of North Texas SACS COC $14,635 60% (5 reviews)
48 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Science in Library Sciences
University of Northern Iowa HLC $20,667 Add Review
32 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • MA in School Library Studies
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus MSCHE $37,830 50% (2 reviews)
30 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library and Information Science
University of South Alabama SACS COC $15,156 67% (3 reviews)
102 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • M.Ed. in Educational Media - Library Media
University of South Carolina-Columbia SACS COC $28,368 Add Review
51 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library and Information Science
University of South Florida - Main Campus SACS COC $21,126 80% (5 reviews)
140 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • M.A. in Library and Information Science
University of Southern California WASC WSCUC $44,013 67% (12 reviews)
115 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Management in Library and Information Science
University of Southern Mississippi SACS COC $10,218 0% (1 review)
63 Programs, 2 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library and Information Science
  • Master of Library and Information Science (Licensure)
University of Washington - Seattle NWCCU $28,320 100% (3 reviews)
81 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library & Information Science
University of West Alabama SACS COC $13,546 100% (3 reviews)
86 Programs, 2 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Education in Library Media (With Certification)
  • Master of Science in Adult Continuing Education - Library Media (Without Certification)
University of Wisconsin - Madison HLC $25,314 0% (1 review)
51 Programs, 9 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • MA in Library and Information Science
  • Master of Arts in Library and Information Science - Archives In A Digital Age
  • Master of Arts in Library and Information Science - Data/Information Management & Analytics
  • Master of Arts in Library and Information Science - Information Organization
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee HLC $24,898 0% (1 review)
88 Programs, 19 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Combined MLIS & MS in Information Science and Technology
  • Dual Degree MLIS & MA in Translation
  • Dual Degree MLIS & MA in Translation - Arabic
  • Dual Degree MLIS & MA in Translation - French
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater HLC $18,426 Add Review
30 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Science in Education - Professional Development, with an emphasis in Information, Technology and Libraries
Valdosta State University SACS COC $18,292 100% (6 reviews)
68 Programs, 2 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Education in Instructional Technology - School Library Media
  • Master of Library and Information Science
Valley City State University HLC $6,916 Add Review
39 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • M.Ed. in Library and Information Technologies
Wayne State University HLC $35,045 50% (4 reviews)
38 Programs, 1 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Library and Information Science
Western Kentucky University SACS COC $16,260 0% (1 review)
147 Programs, 3 Master's in Library Science (view all)
  • Master of Arts in Education in Teacher Leadership - Middle Grades Education - Library Media Education
  • Master of Arts in Education in Teacher Leadership - Secondary Education - Library Media Education
  • Master of Science in Libraries, Informatics and Technology in Education

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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