Online Master’s in Library & Information Science (LIS)
MSI in Library & Information Science
Drexel University’s online accredited Master’s in Library & Information Science program is an industry leader in digital information management and ranked among the nation’s top library science programs.
The College of Computing and Informatics boasts top national recognition in Health Librarianship (#3,) Information Systems (#4,) Digital Librarianship (#7,) Services for Children and Youth (#7,) and School Library Media (#7.)
Library and Information Science was named one of the fastest growing fields in the computing and informatics industry:
- Fully accredited by the American Library Association (ALA)
- An innovative curriculum with a strong technological background and a focus on teaching career skills in all the aspects of information management
- Taught by the distinguished faculty of Drexel University's College of Computing and Informatics
- Highly interactive curriculum designed to challenge and engage students while remaining convenient for the working professional
How to Become a Librarian
A century ago librarians didn’t need a master’s degree to work. In the 1930s a bachelor of science in library service, a four-year undergraduate program followed by a one-year, 30-hour major was the standard. Over the next two decades the bachelor’s degree would be replaced with a master’s degree program that would become today’s standard LIS degree.
7 Steps to Becoming a Librarian
Step 1: Research library science, types of librarians, and requirements
Consider your interests. Learn what types of librarians there are and about library science in general. Think about which direction you’d like your career to take. This is also the time to research any testing, licensure, or certification you’ll need further down the road.
Step 2: Complete a bachelor’s degree in any major
You can usually enter LIS programs with a bachelor’s degree in any major.
Step 3: Gain some work-related experience
Look for part-time work if you can. Experience is one way to get your foot in the door or enhance your resume.
Step 4: Earn a master’s degree in library science
Earn an LIS degree from an ALA-accredited program. LIS degree programs often teach you how to select and organize library materials. You’ll also study research methods and strategies, online reference systems, and Internet search techniques.
Step 5: Obtain state certification or licensure
Pursue any state-specific certification or license. The state of Pennsylvania requires professional librarians to certify. School librarians need a teaching certificate with an endorsement in school librarianship among other things.
Step 6: Pursue a career
Pursue a career. There are different types of librarians. Many librarians work full-time but there are part-time positions as well. In 2017, the median annual salary for librarians was $58,520 per BLS.gov.
Step 7: Keep learning
Keep learning. In some states (PA is one), you’ll need continuing education credits.
How long does it take to become a librarian?
Most LIS programs take from 1 to 2 years to complete. Counting the 4 years it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree, it may take 5 to 6 years to become a librarian.
What qualifications do you need to be a librarian?
Many of today’s employers look for librarians who hold an LIS degree from a program with American Library Association (ALA) accreditation.
In addition, some positions have extra requirements. A teaching certificate or a degree in another field are examples.
This is especially true for law, medical, and corporate librarians. Because these roles need specialized knowledge, employers may look for these librarians to have a master’s degree, professional degree, or subject-specific PhD.
In the case of public-school librarians, there may be state requirements to consider. One of these is a teacher’s certification. Another is to pass a standardized test such as the PRAXIX II Library Media Specialist Test.
Some states also require public school librarians to obtain certification. If this is your goal, contact your state’s licensing board for details.
Types of Librarians
A librarian is a link between people and information. The kind of information they help to provide may depend on where they apply their skills. It can be for personal, professional, or research purposes.
User Services Librarians
As the title suggests, user services librarians help patrons conduct research. In their role, they might work with a specific group like university students, young adults, or children. They’ll often help patrons find and make use of catalogs of print materials, digital libraries, or Internet search methods.
Technical Services Librarians
Technical services librarians are the people who order new library materials and archive to preserve older items. They also prepare and organize print and electronic library materials in so they are accessible to patrons.
Administrative Services Librarians
Administrative service librarians are library managers. Part of what they do is hire and oversee staff. Other duties involve preparing budgets and negotiating contracts for library materials and equipment. In some cases, they may need to do some public relations and fundraising activities.
Academic librarians work in postsecondary institutions where they help students, faculty, and staff. Because some campuses have multiple libraries, some librarians specialize in a one subject. They can then apply their knowledge to help others conduct research.
Public librarians serve all members of the public within their communities. Sometimes they’ll help patrons find books to read for pleasure. Other times they might help others with research, schoolwork, business, or personal interest. They may also plan library events like book clubs or story time for children.
Also called School Media Specialists, school librarians work in elementary, middle, and high school libraries. In their role, they teach students how to access resources. Also, they may help teachers develop lesson plans by finding material for instruction.
Also called Information Professionals, special librarians work in areas like law firms, hospitals, businesses, museums, and government agencies. In these places, they’ll serve the needs of the organization that houses the library. Because their work entails firsthand knowledge of a specific topic, they may need an additional degree in that topic. A few examples are:
- Corporate Librarians
- Government Librarians
- Law Librarians
- Medical Librarians
What jobs can I get with a library science degree?
- Library Technician
- Library Assistant
- Database Administrator
- Information Systems Manager
Master of Library Science (LIS) Salary Expectations
2018 Median Annual Pay*
Information Systems Manager
*Median salary figures via Bureau of Labor Statistics
Drexel’s LIS degree helps you gain in-demand skills for today and the future. Core courses foster an understanding of the basics. You will learn about users, services, and different resources. At the same time, these required topics discuss key principles of organization and managing information.
From there, choosing one of the specializations can help you understand and work within the information sciences space. Further your interests in digital technology and analytics, archives, and electronic records management, or learn how to assist users in a specific setting. Any of these areas can provide very marketable skills for years to come.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that librarians who can adapt and keep pace with the technology side of the profession will have better job prospects. This comes as no surprise given the accessibility and sheer amount of electronic information.
Seven Skills Future Librarians Need Now
Apart from reading comprehension, clear speech, effective writing, and active listening, data shows that librarians also need the following 7 skills:
1. Adapt to Change
Librarians need to be able to pivot and manage change well. This involves keeping a finger on the pulse of different training and instructional methods as they arise. It also means adapting to changes in policy, technology, teaching, user experiences, and student learning.
2. Manage Resources
As skillful decision-makers, librarians need to know how to weigh costs and benefits. They must be able to make choices that bring a return on the investment. Whether this means building a trusted clientele, curating sought-after content, hiring the right staff, or preparing a budget.
3. Organize Digital Information
Another name for a librarian is "Information Professional." Librarians today and going forward need a strong grasp of how to get, prepare, and manage electronic library materials. This means being able to help a distance learner through email with links to online and in print material.
4. Digital Literacy
Librarians need strong internet search and research skills. The scope of their duties is expanding to help students and others identify and use all means of information. From print to digital content of all types.
5. Data Driven
A skill that is timeless for librarians is the ability to think clearly and sometimes, outside the box. With so much information available, it is ever-more important to find ways of assessing which approach and resources will best suit each patron. A strong understanding of analytics and how to use these insights can save patrons time and drive outcomes.
6. Understand Digital Research
As time goes on, librarians will need to be skillful cross-channel researchers. They will have to know how to address and engage disparate subject matters and serve as connectors for patrons. This also involves understanding how search changes over time. Voice search and artificial intelligence are here to stay.
7. Software Savvy
Librarians of the future will need high-level skills using “hot technology”. Currently, there are about 15 tools that range from library software to web platform development software. Many of these are frequent requirements of job postings. Examples include Java Script, Microsoft Access, SQL, and CSS.
This program is organized into four 10-week quarters per year (as opposed to the traditional two semester system) which means you can take more courses in a shorter time period. One semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits.
In this program, you will gain knowledge of LIS service and operations, information ethics, and information service management, while advancing skills in technology-focused digital content. Coursework combines core and specialized knowledge and aligns theory and practice in a two-term capstone, preparing you for the professional workplace.
In addition to the five required courses, this 45-credit program features:
- Three foundation courses
- Five elective courses, allowing you to specialize in library media or pursue additional focuses
- One capstone course (spanning two quarters) consisting of either a research or production-oriented project
INFO 506 — Users, Services, & Resources
Introduces the principles and practices of providing effective information services for a variety of user communities. Develops practical skills in meeting users’ information needs. Focuses on current methods of providing information services and instruction in different contexts and techniques for evaluating reference sources and services.
INFO 507 — Leading and Managing Information Organizations
Introduces basic theories, approaches, and concepts of leadership, management, and organizational behavior as they apply to libraries, archives, and other information organizations. Explores principles, practices, and techniques needed to develop and enrich effective information organizations.
INFO 590 — Organization of Data and Information
Introduces principles and techniques used to organize data and information. Presents an overview of existing and emerging data standards and tools applicable to various information settings. Addresses information structures, data as resource, resource description, metadata, vocabulary schemes, classification and linked data, and representation theory.
- A four-year bachelor's degree in any major from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or an equivalent international institution
- Standard Admission: 3.0 GPA in a prior completed degree, BA/BS and above
- Provisional Admission: May be available for professionals working in related domains, subject to departmental review.
With multiple ways to submit documents, Drexel makes it easy to complete your application. Learn more by visiting our Completing Your Application Guide.
- A completed application
- Official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions (including trade schools) attended
- One letter of recommendation is required, two are recommended (academic, professional, or both)
- Essay/Statement of Purpose
- In approximately 500 words, describe what professional goals you hope to achieve, how an advanced degree facilitates that success, and anything else you want the Admissions Review Board to know about you. If you are currently employed in a related profession, please detail your experience.
- Additional requirements for International Students
The tuition rate for the academic year 2020-2021 is $1342 per credit.
- This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
- Special tuition rates available for Drexel University Alumni, Military members, and members of our Partner Organizations
- These rates apply only to new online students and students being readmitted.
- Tuition rates are subject to increase with the start of each academic year in the fall term.
- All students must contact applyDUonline@drexel.edu within the first two weeks of the term to request tuition savings for which they qualify.
- Special rates cannot be combined. If you qualify for more than one special rate, you'll be given the one with the largest savings.
- When receiving special tuition plans with Drexel University Online, you may not combine them with other tuition benefits that may be available from Drexel University.
2019-2020 Academic Year
September 23, 2019
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2020-2021 Academic Year
September 21, 2020
December 5, 2020
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