Library science is a discipline that prepares students to become experts in the storing and reviewing of information in the form of books, academic journals, magazines, newspapers, and cultural archives, such as audio, film, and video. Most library science majors are interested in becoming librarians, but they may also be interested in research, community collections, and development of archives in all sorts of organizations. Students will learn about how libraries and archives work, the best ways to store and disseminate information, and the reasons behind standard approaches. Those who are interested in reading and research and who are naturally organized may enjoy a library science major.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
Bachelor’s degrees in library science are often used as stepping stones to master’s degrees in library science. Most major libraries require a master’s degree to become a full librarian, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), but bachelor’s degrees can also suffice for those who are interested in becoming library assistants or research assistants. One of the potential benefits of a bachelor’s degree in library science is that it could be possible to start working in a library as an assistant while pursuing a master’s program. This would allow for some income during school and the opportunity to gain some work experience, which can help with finding jobs after graduation.
Getting into a Bachelor’s Degree Program
Students applying to bachelor’s programs in library science will need some common materials. While requirements vary depending on the school you choose, some of the basics include:
- A high school diploma or GED.
- A high school GPA that meets the minimum requirements for application.
- SAT and/or ACT scores.
- Reference letters and personal essays (common but not always required).
Inside a Library Science Bachelor’s Degree Program
If you opt for a distance degree plan, online bachelors library science programs will have close to the same entrance requirements as a traditional college or university. The curriculum will likely also be modeled after a four-year college plan. Students will begin their programs by taking basic courses in a wide variety of disciplines, such as math, science, and humanities. They will also begin to take introductory library science classes, such as research methods, classification of library materials, and basic library regulations and procedures. Students will then move on to more advanced topics, like library technology and computer applications, advanced cataloging, advanced search and research methods, in-depth archive study, and aiding in advanced research.
The main difference between a bachelors online library science degree and a traditional library science degree will be in the course administration. Because all course operations take place online, it will be up to the student to structure time for lectures, reading, and completion of class assignments. Students listen to or read lectures rather than attend a physical class. They also take part in class discussion in online forums, rather than in-person. While these differences can present issues for students who do not like working independently, for the right type of student it can be a helpful and effective degree plan.
What’s Next for Library Science Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
Career options for graduates with bachelor’s degrees in library science are not as guaranteed as those for master’s degree holders. However, there are plenty of different ways to use a bachelor’s degree to its fullest potential. One of the most common uses of a bachelor’s in library science is a position as a library technician or assistant. Library assistants help librarians in a number of capacities, from keeping the library organized and working the front desk to assisting with guidance and research questions. According to the BLS, a common wage for library assistants is around $14 an hour.
While working as a library assistant is a great way to generate an income and pursue a higher degree at the same time, there are plenty of other career options for bachelor’s degree holders. Some graduates may be interested in becoming research assistants for individuals or private organizations. Other career options include technical research writing and community organization.