Contrary to the conventional understanding of the field, library science doesn’t just involve sorting books in a library. A bachelor’s degree in Library Science teaches students how to master information, including research, interpretation, synthesis, and presentation.
A bachelor’s degree in library science provides students with the skills, knowledge, and credentials they need for careers being librarians, media specialists, research analysts, archivists, and more. In addition, a bachelor’s in library science prepares students with the academic foundation necessary for pursuing a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in library science and related fields will grow between 2016 and 2026, including 13% growth for archivists and 9% growth for librarians.
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What Is a Bachelor’s in Library Science Degree?
A bachelor’s degree in library science is an interdisciplinary field of study that focuses on different disciplines, including research methods, statistics, and the latest informational systems and technologies to find, prioritize, and preserve information.
A bachelor’s degree in library science includes general education classes, core classes, and elective classes. Core courses in library science cover library logistics, reference and database searching, library information technology, library materials archiving, and other topics related to these. Typically, a bachelor’s degree in library science requires about 120 credit hours to complete, which for the average full-time students takes around four years.
Usually, to apply for a bachelor’s degree in library science, you need either a high school diploma or a GED with a 2.5 minimum GPA. In addition, the SAT or ACT tests are the preferred college entrance exams, and these scores are usually required. Most universities require 1-2 letters of recommendation from past academic professionals as well as a college entrance essay.
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Careers for Bachelor’s in Library Science Majors
Those who complete a bachelor’s in library science are qualified to work as librarians in a myriad of different settings, including but limited to public libraries, school libraries, and medical libraries. These professionals help patrons find information and conduct research, while organizing library content, creating and maintaining reference systems and digital archives, and providing educational opportunities for the community.
There are also careers involving library technicians, library assistants, researchers, archivists, and informational specialists. Most people who earn a bachelor’s in library science decide to pursue a Master’s in library science for advanced library positions and a pay increase.
Bachelor’s in Library Science Salary Potential
A bachelor’s in library science will qualify you for several career paths. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an archivist makes a median salary of $48,400 per year. A research analyst earns more with a mean salary of $63,120. Librarians can make around $59,050 per year, while library directors receive around $61,821.
Certain positions, like an information architect, require skills and knowledge that are not typically found in a bachelor’s degree program. Master’s degrees in library science are needed for some careers. Careers in library science are expected to grow 6% from 2018 to 2028 since communities are turning to libraries for a variety of services and activities.
What Are the Best Bachelor’s in Library Science Degrees?
We know that you have educational goals that you’re itching to pursue, but you may not know where to start. The editors of College Rank utilize a unique ranking methodology based on the following three aspects:
40% Potential Salary After Graduation: Average mid-career salary of school alumni
30% Institutional Accreditation: Regional and national accreditation for the 2019-2020 school year
30% Overall Degree Affordability: Average cost of undergraduate and graduate tuition per school
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University of Southern Mississippi
Average Net Price
The University of Southern Mississippi’s online bachelor’s of science in library and information science degree is ranked No. 2 in the nation by Best Colleges. The library and information science major requires completion of the general education core courses as well as 39 hours of major area courses, 15-21 hours of major requirements outside the department (including 12 hours of foreign language), an 18-hour minor or dual major in another department and enough electives to bring the total number of hours to 124.
Throughout the semester, students meet each week in a virtual classroom to take their required classes for this degree. During their senior year, students are required to complete a practicum in a library or archive and produce a reflective blog, presentation, and capstone paper related to the practicum experience. An internship or practicum at a library or archive near you is also required in the senior year.
Students planning to enter the university as first-year students must complete the College Preparatory Curriculum (CPC) and submit composite an ACT or combined SAT (verbal/quantitative) score. Note that the writing components of the ACT and SAT are not used in evaluation for admission. Students also need to submit their high school transcripts and must have maintained a minimum of a 3.2 GPA.
Southern Connecticut State University
New Haven, Connecticut
Average Net Price
With over 225 academic programs and a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1, South Connecticut State University, located in New Haven, has a lot of opportunities for students. SCSU also offers a bachelor’s degree in information management and services, which prepares students for careers in the library setting along with other information-based fields. This program integrates coursework in information science, library science, and interdisciplinary studies. While some of the courses may be taken online, this is not an online degree.
The major consists of 39 credits—24 credits of required core courses, 9 credits of electives from computer science, and 6 credits of electives. Students also have the opportunity to minor in information management. Throughout the coursework, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 to complete this degree.
SCSU takes a holistic approach when reviewing applications, meaning they consider all the materials in the student’s file. However, here are the minimal requirements: potential students should have graduated from an accredited secondary school or have earned an official GED equivalency diploma, their high school GPA should be in the B range, they should have a combined score on the NEW SAT within the range of 980 to 1180, and an ACT compositive score ranging from 18-21. In addition, students need one letter of recommendation from a high school instructor or a school counselor.
Clarion University of Pennsylvania
Average Net Price
Among the rolling hills of Western Pennsylvania is Clarion University, home to 4,700 students. Open since 1867, CU offers over 175 academic programs, including the bachelor’s of science in integrative studies with a concentration on library and information studies. This bachelor’s degree prepares students to work as paraprofessionals and provisional librarians in a variety of settings, including public libraries.
This degree introduces students to the exciting worlds of information management and information transfer, in both traditional and emerging venues. In addition, it serves as excellent preparation for studying toward a Master’s degree in a library setting. The bachelor’s degree program is offered at the Clarion campus and online.
The bachelor’s degree in library and information studies concentration requires students to complete 48 credit hours of general education classes and 48 credit hours of core classes for the library and information studies concentration. An additional 24 hours of electives must be taken to achieve the 120 credit hours needed to graduate. Students must maintain or exceed a 2.0 GPA to earn this degree.
CU takes the following into consideration when accepting students into this degree: high school curriculum, GPA, SAT and/or ACT test scores, and optional letters of recommendation and entrance essay. All students must graduate from an approved secondary school or have obtained a GED equivalency diploma issued by the Department of Education.
San Diego, California
Average Net Price
Their slogan, “Technology Changes Everything,” fits well since Ashford University is an online university headquartered in San Francisco, California. AU offers more than 80 degree programs online, including a Bachelor’s of Arts in library science and media.
Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in library science and media program will study the application of technology to support learning and access to information. The growing role of librarians and the training necessary to become 21st-century information experts will be explored through coursework in this library science degree program.
AU’s online classes are offered in 5 or 6 week terms as opposed to traditional semesters. To earn your Bachelor of Arts in library science and media at Ashford, you must complete 120 credits. Forty-three of those should be general education requirements, 33 should be major courses, and 44 should be electives.
To apply for the B.A. in library science and media, students need a high school or GED diploma. Once admitted, students complete three phases of admission requirements: conditional, provisional, and full. The conditional phase entails that the student is familiar with classroom expectations and time and technology requirements. The provisional phase is awarded after the student has completed the student success orientation and has earned a C average or better by day six, week three of the course. The full admission standing is earned when the student completes the fourth course for this degree.
University of Maine at Augusta
Average Net Price
For the seventh year in a row, U.S. News & World Report has selected the University of Maine at Augusta in its national ranking of universities offering top online degree programs. UMA offers an online bachelor’s degree in information and library science. This degree provides students an opportunity to develop technological skills and increase creative and critical thinking abilities for employment in libraries and information centers. The bachelor’s degree also prepares students for further study in information and library science at the graduate level.
UMA’s online courses are taught asynchronously via the internet, streamed video instruction, as well as computer conferencing technologies. There are 120 credit hour requirements to graduate with this degree. Fifty-two should be the program major requirements, 43 should be the other program requirements, and 25 should be general electives. Students in the ILS program are required to complete either a practicum or internship (AS/BS) or an advanced research project.
To apply to UMA, you need a high school or GED diploma. However, in addition to this, students need to have either completed 30 credits from an accredited institution with a GPA of at least 2.50, or they need SAT scores of 1,000 combined points. Students who do not meet either of the first two criteria will be required to enter into the associates degree program. After successfully completing 30 credits, students may transfer into the bachelor’s degree. While most universities require an application fee, UMA does not, which is a perk.
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out The 25 Best Online Colleges and The 20 Best Online MBA Programs!