Earning a Bachelor's in Library Science Online

Browse our ranking of the top online master's in library science programs in the country, and learn how to take your next steps to a better career in library science today.

Should I Pursue a Bachelor's in Library Science Online?

A bachelor's degree in library science explores multiple informational skills, including the gathering, interpreting, and synthesizing of research and data. The ideal student for this degree is curious and passionate about preserving knowledge. Professionals should be organized, have a keen eye for detail, and possess excellent interpersonal skills.

Online students majoring in library science hold the freedom to pursue their studies on a flexible schedule. Degree seekers who work part- or full-time, or who wish to avoid additional education costs (housing, board, etc.), should consider online learning as an alternative.

Librarians can find jobs beyond education and the public library system in areas like corporate librarianship, market research, data curation, and information architecture.

Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Library Science Graduates

Library science degree holders may work in several careers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects average or above-average growth for careers in library science from 2016 to 2026. Listed below are some potential careers and salaries for graduates.

Bachelor's in Library Science Careers

From education to corporate America, a bachelor's in library science opens the door to many employment opportunities. Graduates should consider which careers best suit their interests. For example, students who enjoy working with people might become school librarians. Those passionate about the preservation of knowledge might become archivists, and learners interested in business might become corporate librarians.

Academic Librarian

Annual Median Salary: $64,130

Academic librarians work in colleges and universities. Most universities offer a central library and smaller libraries specific to each department. Academic librarians can work generally or specialize in certain topics, helping students with research, curating knowledge, and colaborating with professors.

Law Librarian

Annual Median Salary: $60,648

Law librarians work in law firms, law schools, courts, and the legal departments of corporations. They help lawyers with case research, aid in writing important documents, and manage library materials. Professionals can specialize in areas like patents, taxation, or international law.

Librarian

Annual Median Salary: $49,327

Librarians help people find information, whether for research, school work, or just a good read. They must curate large collections of books and make recommendations on a variety of topics. Librarians need excellent organizational and communication skills.

School Librarian

Annual Median Salary: $60,780

School librarians work in elementary schools and high schools. They curate books and information. School librarians are also teachers; they explain to students and other educators how to access and distill knowledge, determine a source's reputability, and use technology to find information.

Special Librarian

Annual Median Salary: $53,060

Special librarians work for the military, government, and private corporations. They can also help underserved or special needs populations, such as the blind or physically disabled. These professionals are highly specialized and work in niche areas.

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

An online degree in library science prepares students to search, catalogue, curate, and present information. Courses and requirements vary from university to university. Degree seekers should spend some time researching colleges to find which program suits them best.

Curriculum for an Online Bachelor's Degree in Library Science

Foundations of Library and Information Science

This course teaches the general skills students need to pursue careers as librarians, school librarians, or academic librarians. Students learn how best to communicate with different communities, discuss ethical issues, and explore the concept of equal access to information.

Introduction to Education

Students interested in becoming school librarians learn the foundations of their craft. This course focuses on current trends and standards in education. Students learn the significance of diverse student bodies, important ethical issues, and the best methods in education.

Library Collection Development

This course teaches curation and collection development of information. Students learn how to manage library collections and resources, including books and digital material. This class benefits students interested in careers across disciplines, particularly for those interested in becoming librarians or academic librarians.

Research Services

Students interested in research-heavy careers, such as academic librarianship or law librarianship, should take this class. The course explores reference tools, information literacy, and the research process. Students learn how to use references, make recommendations, and help clients.

Diverse Learners

This course teaches students how to meet the needs of diverse learners through nontraditional methods of service and inclusive methods of communication. Degree seekers interested in careers as special librarians or school librarians should take this class.

Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor's in Library Science Prepares For

  • Literary Support Staff Certification: A Literary Support Staff Certification (LSSC) focuses on ten competency skills for academic and public library support staff. LSSC candidates receive certification through an official LSSC program course or by submitting an online portfolio demonstrating competency.
  • Teaching Certification: School librarians often require teaching certification or licensure for educators. Each state holds a different set of requirements when it comes to teaching certification. Most certifications transfer across state lines, so professionals may not have to go through the licensure process again if they decide to move.

Professional Organizations & Resources

Professional organizations in library science benefit current students, recent graduates, and working professionals with their networking opportunities, research materials, and workshops. Some offer general services, with resources for many different kinds of libraries. Others target specific librarians, such as academic librarians or school librarians. Students, graduates, and professionals should strongly consider becoming members of professional library science organizations.

  • American Association of School Librarians: AASL is a national professional membership organization for school librarians that hosts conferences, provides resources, and promotes networking.

  • American Library Association: ALA is the largest library association in the world. It focuses on advocacy; information policy; professional and leadership development; and equity, diversity, and inclusion.

  • Library and Information Technology Association: LITA provides services across various library types. Members include systems librarians, library administrators, and vendors. LITA focuses on continuing education through workshops, institutes, and an annual forum.

  • Association for Library Collections and Technical Services: ALCTS is the national association for professionals in acquisitions, cataloging, metadata, and collection management. It provides forums for networking, additional training, and resources for professionals.

  • Association of College and Research Libraries: ACRL provides programs and services to help academic librarians learn leadership skills for the academic community.

  • Council on Library and Information Resources: CLIR is a nonprofit organization dedicated to research and teaching in libraries and institutions of higher education. It provides fellowships and grants, posts helpful publications, and features a job board.

  • International Literacy Association: ILA promotes literacy instruction around the world through research and professional development. The organization offers grants, online resources, and national recognition for librarians.

  • Digital Library Federation: DLF supports research, information sharing, and networking among library professionals. It offers fellowships, grants, and online publications.

  • Library, Information Science and Technology Abstracts: LISTA is a free database for librarians, featuring hundreds of journals, books, and research reports for students and professionals alike.

  • JSTOR: Part of a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing research materials to students and professionals, JSTOR hosts more than 12 million online academic journals, books, and primary resources.