Graduate certificates are documented certifications offered to students who complete a course in a specific subject. They are meant to enhance employment opportunities. The intended purpose of conferring professional credentials on students through graduate certificate programs is to advance their careers.
A graduate certificate in Library Science provides a better chance of advancement in a profession or current area of study. The certificate is designed to provide an understanding of the means and methods of gathering, organization, and dissemination of information.
The programs are particularly useful to students who wish to pursue postgraduate studies and professionals wanting to secure more credibility. It is appropriate for any student who wishes to gain a greater understanding of the field of library and information science without having to complete an undergraduate minor or non-enrolled students who are employed as library paraprofessionals.
A Library Science graduate certificate enables students who hold a Master of Library Science degree to advance into high-level leadership careers with confidence and expert knowledge. Graduates may use college certificate programs as stepping stones toward a Doctorate in Library Science in a specialized library science area.
Graduate Certificate in Library Science
The curriculum utilizes what was learned in a Master of Library Science as the foundation to explore advanced theories in leadership, management, and business that pertains to the field of library and information science. There are on-campus and online programs available. Staying current with the latest techniques and technologies is essential in librarianship work. Most online certificate programs have a specific area of focus, such as preservation or technology. The programs can satisfy continuing education credits. They are also for those who desire to have current, highly relevant job skills Librarians with the added credentials may qualify for management and leadership positions.
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Why Consider a Graduate Certificate in Library Science?
After earning a Bachelor's degree, many people want to continue their education. Some want to outshine their competition when vying for a promotion or applying for jobs. Others want to change careers and realize the need for an advanced credential to make a move. Some are lifetime learners who have a drive to keeping learning. Some prospective students who abandon the plan when they realize how rigorous a Master's degree is. While there are numerous reasons for earning an advanced degree, they are not for everyone.
Returning to graduate school is quite an investment when the required amount of time, effort, and money are taken into consideration. Many are not aware of another available option if they choose to forego a Master's degree but want a competitive edge. The alternative is a graduate certificate. A graduate certificate program is a shorter course of study designed to meet the supplemental needs of professionals. They are a university-level form of specialized training.
Graduate certificates focus on a particular job title or industry. Master's degrees are often full-time commitments that take approximately two years to complete. The financial and time investment for a Master's degree is usually higher than for a graduate certificate, due to the coursework scope. The Chronicle of Higher Education tells us the fastest growing form of secondary credentials in the U.S. is graduate certificates.
About four million workers currently have a graduate certificate. Strata research shows graduate degree recipients between 2004 and 2014 doubled. (https://www.northeastern.edu/graduate/blog/graduate-certificate-value/) Several significant benefits include:
- An increase in pay
- Quick return on investment
- Added job security
- A wider professional network
- Preparation for a graduate degree
Graduate degrees play a role in helping the demands of employers in the workforce. A graduate degree may help someone seeking continued education after undergraduate studies reach his or her career and personal goals.
Are There Online Programs?
The demand for learning and credentials beyond a Bachelor's degree is strong among professionals and in the job market. Online options partially fuel the growth. The post-bachelor boom goes beyond traditional graduate degrees that include micro-credentials, certificates, and certification. Listed below are schools that offer online graduate certificates in library science.
Pueblo Community College has part-time and full-time Library Technician certificate programs that can be taken completely online. The faculty has more than 80 years of combined library experience. They are teachers with expertise in Library Science.
Herzing University has an online certificate program that offers support, personalization, and flexibility needed in the ever-changing job market. Their students-first approach, experienced faculty, and hands-on coursework sets their program apart from that of other online universities.
College of Southern Idaho has a program that attracts school teachers and library staff who are seeking courses to update their skills and earn re-certification credits. The department provides courses in library skills and information literacy that are open to all students. They are intended to introduce students to the complexity and variety of today's digital world. and provide concepts and skills needed to make use of them.
Minneapolis Community & Technical College offers two library technology certificates. They are a Technical Information Services Certificate and a Public Information Service Certificate. The college's information technology programs equip students with the conceptual and practical skills needed for work in highly automated information agencies and libraries. Those seeking to earn a certificate will be trained in the professional, legal, and ethical frameworks for delivering community library and information resources. The certificate programs are offered fully online.
Prerequisites for a Graduate Certificate in Library Science
Students who seek graduate certification as part of a degree program have to complete appropriate developmental coursework before being admitted into a program. Non-degree-seeking students may waive program course prerequisites. Library Information courses require some reading and writing achievements. Goal area courses in a program may require different prerequisites and placements. Other admission requirements may include:
- Possessing an undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college
- Having an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above or have a degree beyond a Bachelor's degree
- Meet technology requirements
- Submission of a personal statement that reflects relevant personal experience and academic background
- Submission of a curriculum vitae or current resume
- Complete the application
- Pay an application fee
- Request official transcripts from all universities attended
- GRE scores
Students are responsible for arranging the GRE and having official scores sent to the institution of choice. Test scores for tests taken longer than five years ago are not accepted. Applicants that do not meet the required GPA may be granted provisional admission if work experience, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, or other factors indicate promise. In writing a personal statement, consider the vision of the program and tell why you believe the program and areas of specialization are a match for your background, personal aspirations and passions, outlook on professional interests, and experience. Include any information that may help the selection committee evaluate your preparation and aptitude for graduate study. Answer these questions.
- Why do you want the certificate?
- What are your career objectives and goals?
- How will the certificate help achieve those goals?
Program learning outcomes include:
- Demonstrating an understanding of the ethical and social frameworks in which information is used, organized, created, distributed, and contested
- Critically engage the discipline content
- Conduct effective interviews that help define user information needs
- Demonstrate understanding of general development and trends in library and information technology
- Effectively use bibliographic utilities
Courses required may include:
Information Literacy and Research Skills – An introduction to research and library skills that include information about the production, organization, and dissemination within a societal context
Information Agencies – Surveys the functions, personnel, organization, and history of information agencies and libraries in the U.S.
Technical Information Services – Surveys all aspects of information agency and library technical services that include budget management, automation systems, government document management, resource description and access, serials management, and acquisitions
Collection Organization and Metadata – Introduces classification and cataloging of information resources including digital, audiovisual, and print formats. Students apply cataloging metadata standards to the creation of original and editing of existing MARC records in the OCLC cooperative. They are introduced to the Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal classification schemes. Students use controlled vocabularies such as the Library of Congress Subject Headings for subject resources or analysis. They are introduced to ethical and professional standards for cataloging with an emphasis on user access to information.
Indexing and Abstracting – Introduces abstracting and indexing practice and theory. Students learn about index quality, language control, and metadata standards. They practice back-of-the-book and information-object indexing. The introduction to ethical and professional standards for abstracting and indexing emphasizes user access to information.
Top Organizations to Know
Because of the evolving nature of Library Science, students are advised to join professional organizations, attend conferences, and contribute to organization scholarly journals to stay up-to-date in the field and network with employers and peers. Here are professional organizations for students who plan to work in the field of library and information science.
American Library Association – The ALA plays an active role in opposing censorship and promoting access to information. It is a generalist organization that promotes librarians and libraries. The ALA host two conferences each year. The summer conference attracts as many as 25,000 participants. Library Science students find ALA welcoming. Students are offered special student dues, rates at conferences, scholarships, local university chapters, and quarterly job-search newsletter access.
Association for Information Science and Technology – The organization focuses its attention on technological aspects of information access and storage. It was originally interested in developing microfilm to store information. The organization remains at the forefront of computerized data retrieval and storage. It is actively involved in studying internet database use and development. Members have access to major journals in the field through the organization’s digital library. They enjoy student membership in an international organization and local student chapters at certain universities. The organization encourages students to attend and participate in their yearly conference.
Art Libraries Society of North America – The organization seeks to represent the interest and concerns of those who care for and display art collections, manage image archives, and assist scholars in the research of art history. It offers professionals and students opportunities to participate and publish in conferences and webinars. The organization provides members with career support, such as frequently updated job listings.
Career Options with a Graduate Certificate
Graduate certificates are pursued by a variety of professionals. They enroll for continuing education and to develop a competitive advantage. Seldom is a graduate certificate among the listed job requirements, but pursuing one in an excellent way for those seeking a job to stand out to recruiters. In the U.S., graduate certificates are becoming popular in innovative fields of study, such as technology that experience rapid change.
Many professionals pursue graduate certificates as an opportunity to access cutting-edge information for an ever-evolving world. A specialist certificate in library science enables professionals to update skills and acquire expertise in an area of library management. Specializations include archives administration, school media, youth services, digital libraries, academic librarianship, and reference services. Librarians with a specialization certificate can use new skills to expand the scope of a current job, transfer with the same employer to an advanced position, or seek a job with a new organization. Facilities that hire trained specialists include:
- College or university libraries
- Law libraries
- Library media centers
- Museum libraries
- Public libraries