Library Science Courses

If you're researching master's degree programs in library science, odds are the question you're asking yourself is, "What are librarian courses like?" Well, depending on your university's program and your preferred specialization, the courses you take may vary greatly from another person pursuing your same career. So, too, might the amount of courses you take. Some schools like Indiana University in Bloomington require as little as 36 credit hours, where as University of Washington's Information School requires 63. Usually, courses average three credit hours per class, so there may be a very large difference in your workload and amount of education depending on the university program of your choice.

Taking a Library Science Course

Though the amount varies, most programs do have the same customary way of organizing their curriculum. To start, most universities require students to take "prerequisite," "general," "foundation," or "core" classes. Though under different labels, these categories usually mean the same thing. These general librarian courses teach the basic knowledge anyone going to the field of library science will need to know. The basic library science courses include things like organizing and retrieving information, legal and ethical issues related to information handling, library management, cataloguing, electronic information systems, information in social context, and the like. Regardless of what kind of library you decide to work in, these basic librarian courses will provide the building blocks you will need.

The next step in library science education is specialization. Just like in undergraduate school (where you took general education classes before focusing on your major), in librarian programs, after you learn the basics, you move on to upper level and specialized library science courses. Some schools don't require you to specialize in one particular track and will train you in a variety of upper level courses such as museum archives, library services for early childhood, metadata, government information resources and services, digital preservation, libraries in healthcare environments, behavioral perspectives, and many other interesting and diverse courses. Other schools wish to give you in-depth training in one specialization of library science and require you to pick a track. Library science tracks can include areas like youth services, library and information services, digital libraries, competitive intelligence and knowledge management, school library media, archival studies, and other areas requiring specific knowledge. When attending a school requiring a specialization, the library science courses you take could differ greatly from that of your peers. A person studying youth services, for instance, would take a classes in things like public library service or resources for children, where as someone concentrating in digital libraries would take courses like database management or information architecture.

As you can see, there is no one answer for what kind of librarian courses one might take when receiving their master's degree in library science. The courses in library science are as vast as the library science field itself. One might work for public libraries, for the university, for elementary and secondary schools, archives, or even hospitals and government organizations. Whatever the area (or areas) of library science you wish to pursue, you can bet that programs will offer you both basic librarian courses and the specialized library science courses you need.