So, you want to become a librarian. First, you will need to complete a library science degree program. In the past, there were many undergraduate programs available for those who aspired to be a librarian (that is you could find a librarian degree program in the form of a bachelor's or associate's degree). Nowadays, those are hard to find. To be a librarian, one must have a master's degree or higher. The master's degree programs usually lasts for a duration of one to two years. Though all programs have the same general curriculum, the actual title of the program may change. As you research various schools, you might find a few title variations. Instead of Master of Library Science (MLS), you might find these: Master of Arts (MA), Master of Librarianship (ML), Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS), and Master of Science (MS). Many of these programs are traditional-style residential graduate programs, but librarians aren't afraid to change with the times.
Earning a Library Science Degree
There are many online library science degree programs. Schools such as Drexel University and Kent State University understand that many people require the flexibility of online classes or may not have a library science degree program in their area. These kinds of schools (schools that offer online library science degrees), make it easier for busy people like you to obtain that coveted degree and begin your promising career.
Whether the librarian degree program is traditional or online, it must be American Library Association (ALA) accredited. If it is not, many employers will not recognize your qualifications. Like most accrediting associations, the ALA is committed to preserving history, monitoring education in the field, improving and creating the future of the profession, and forming high standards for the field's practice. To be sure the library science degree program you wish to attend is indeed accredited, visit http://www.ala.org/accreditedprograms/directory for a directory of all ALA accredited university programs.
So, what is the ALA looking for in order to make sure you receive the best education you can from the librarian degree program of your choice? Well, a library science degree program must teach its students several things, such as information organization, archival science, collection management, research methods, classification, data mining, processing materials, online databases, and systems design, among other things. A library science degree program, online or otherwise, teaches a unique and multidisciplinary field. Librarians connect technology, information, and the public.
Aside from the basics, many librarian degree programs offer specialized tracks in their curriculum. These include: law librarianship, school library media endorsement, competitive intelligence and knowledge management, digital libraries, and youth services. If you wish to pursue a career as a librarian it would be wise to research what kind of library you wish to work at, so that you may educate yourself in the specialization that would most suit you. Some libraries require extra certifications. For instance, if one wishes to be a librarian in a public elementary, middle, or high school, a teaching credential is usually required.
Library science degree programs can be found all over the county. A master's librarian degree is a quick step to catapult you into the career you desire. If you like organization, new technology, and enjoy people, than this is the career for you. So, get your research hat on, and find the library science degree program that's right for you!