Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)
With a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree, you can work at the forefront of the dynamic field of librarianship. School librarians help teachers and students navigate the evolving world of information and technology, and they help students develop the lifelong skill of research.
Thanks to rapid advances in technology and systems, librarianship today is radically different from librarianship 10 years ago. An MLIS program prepares you for this changing environment of technology, including online education and resources. Some responsibilities of a librarian in a school setting include service to faculty and students, reference, circulation, technical services, serials management, manuscripts, music, digital files, media services, teaching, management, and more.
A master’s degree from an accredited institution is essential to becoming a practicing school librarian. This, along with state certification, will allow you to become a librarian at any grade level.
Each MLIS program has its own set of prerequisites, so you should contact your accredited institution for detailed information regarding its policies.
- Application: Fill out an initial application, which you can find on the website of the accredited institution of your choice. Paper and online forms are both generally accepted.
- Bachelor’s degree: You should have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from an accredited institution prior to applying to an MLIS program.
- Transcripts: Request transcripts in advance of the application deadline, and upload one official copy of each transcript from any postsecondary schools you have attended.
- Personal statement: Write a personal statement, which is typically in the form of an essay. You may be required to submit multiple essays to fully express the intent and purpose of your application. Below are some common topics that should be mentioned in a statement.
- Your main academic and personal interests
- Experiences in school or work that have helped to prepare you for this course of study
- Why you wish to study for the degree you’ve chosen
- Why you wish to study at the university
- Your plans for the future after you earn your degree
The curriculum and number of credits required to complete a master’s program vary widely depending on your school and specialization. However, a typical MLIS program includes courses in:
- Information organization
- Library and information studies
- Research methods
- User center information services
- Information technology
After completing an MLIS program, the next step is to get licensed. This certification will enable you to officially work in the field of your choice. Every state has its own licensure requirements to become a school librarian. The median annual salary for a librarian was $56,880 in 2015. School librarians with an MLIS degree can work at the elementary through high school level.
In addition to these common school librarian roles, there are also specializations and different roles that a graduate with an MLIS can pursue, including:
- Academic librarianship
- Archival or special collections librarianship
- Cataloging or metadata
- Digital librarianship
- Digital preservation
- Information technology and information science
- Library management
- Museum studies
- Public librarianship
- Reference librarianship
- Special librarianship
- Youth services
- Children’s librarianship
- Teen librarianship