|Syracuse University||Online MS in Library and Information Science||✓|
|University of Denver||Master of Library and Information Science||✓|
|St. John's University||Online M.S. in Library and Information Science||✓|
A Law Librarianship program combines an emphasis on law library management and legal information services and sources with general preparation as a professional librarian. Students take courses that are required for a Master's degree in Library Science and a Law Librarianship specialization, as well as other mid-level and advanced courses.
It is strongly recommended students obtain professional-level experience through a combination of a practicum, internships, or regular employment. Students consult with law librarian advisors to plan a course of study that best meets their professional and personal needs.
What it is like to study law libriarianship
Some law librarians hold both a Library of Science and Law degree. Though many positions in law libraries do not require both degrees, a law degree is often a requirement for management positions in research and academic institutions. Some schools offer a joint-degree program that provides academic preparation as a law librarian. The core curriculum introduces students to the field's principal theories. General competencies gained include collection management, library management, library technology, and information management and behavior. Subject competencies include knowledge of government documents, teaching instruction, web design, law-specific research skills, and an in-depth understanding of the legal system.
Are There Online Law Librarianship Programs?
Law librarians typically are not required to to take the bar exam. There are online library science Master's degree programs that offer concentrations or specializations in Law Librarianship. Each has a set of requirements of its own. Employers often prefer graduates from ALA-accredited programs. Most Master's programs can be completed in a year or two. Components that might be included in an application:
- Generally, paper and online forms are accepted.
- A Bachelor's degree or equivalent from an accredited institution before applying to a Master of Library Science and Information program
- Personal statement
- Letters of recommendation
- Test scores
The number of credits required and the curriculum for a Master's program vary depending on the specialization and the school. In searching for the best Master's program that fits the needs of a student, he or she needs to carefully consider the admission requirements and coursework to make a decision. Potential students should find a school that interests them and see what is necessary to graduate with an online Master's degree.
Featured Online Library Programs
|Master||Online MS in Library and Information Science
ALA-accredited. No GRE required to apply.
|University of Denver
|Master||Master of Library and Information Science
ALA-Accredited, No GRE Required.
|St. John's University
|Master||Online M.S. in Library and Information Science
ALA Accredited. Complete in as little as 2 years.
|University of West Alabama
|Doctorate||Education Specialist: Library Media
What is Law Librarianship and Legal Information Services?
A Law Librarianship specialization is the gateway to challenging, exciting, and interesting professional opportunities. Some law librarians are employed at law firms. They ensure attorneys have all relevant business and legal information on high-stakes cases that are being prosecuted.
Others work in local, state, and federal courts providing clerks and judges with the background information needed in the administration of justice in our nation's tradition. Others find a professional home in the academe. They take on the responsibility of organizing and operating that serve law students and professors as they study, research, and write about the law.
Where law librarians can work
Public service options exist, such as prison libraries and public law libraries. There, law librarians provide services that help constituents locate legal information. Regardless of the chosen path, law librarians have a rewarding and stimulating profession. From strategic planning and operations management to instruction, online legal research, and research support, law librarians strive to meet the informational challenges that face government, university, corporation, and law firm libraries in their various settings and roles. While traditional libraries appear to be disappearing, the law librarian's role has expanded and transformed.
Sample Universities with a Law Librarianship program
Most law librarians have a Master’s degree in library or information science. These schools offer law librarianship specializations.
St. John’s University offers a Master of Science in Library and Information Science with a specialization in Law Librarianship. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required. No GRE is required. The program is entirely online. Program options are part- or full-time. An internship is optional. An electronic portfolio is required for internships.
The University of Buffalo offers a Master of Science in Information and Library Science with a specialization in Law Librarianship. The College asks candidates to submit an official transcript instead of a minimum GPA. The GRE is required. The fully online program is offered to part- and full-time students.
The University of Washington offers a mostly online Master of Library and Information Science with a specialization in Law Librarianship. There is a minimum 3.0 GPA or a GRE requirement when the GPA is below 3.0. The program is a part-time program option.
Typical Coursework for this Degree
Legal Research – The course covers elements to be undertaken in independent legal research. Students learn to:
- Carry out independent legal research
- Differentiate between sources of law based on their importance
- Identify issues at the initial stage of a legal research assignment
- Collect facts necessary for legal research
- Present findings in a professional and structured manner
Government Data and Information – This course focuses on the primary components of the set up and execution of a data analysis project. Students learn the following concepts.
- How a data analysis project is framed
- The power to guide decision-making with simple descriptive statistics
- Examples of effective use of data in the public sector
- Using Excel to learn methods of downloading, evaluating, cleaning, and analyzing data.
- How biases influence and can be unintentionally introduced into analysis
- The difference between unstructured, human-readable data and structured, machine-readable data.
Actionable Intelligence – Training reinforcement has its benefits. The true value of a program is its ability to create a pool of data that is useful in creating organizational change. It is called Actionable Intelligence. The course discusses the thought leaders in the project management field. It shares practical templates, techniques, and tools for successful project management.
Web Design: Strategy and Information Architecture – The course focuses on early user experience challenges of setting goals, understanding the user, planning, research, structuring content, and the development of interactive sequences. The concepts translate to a variety of media, such as games, digital kiosks, and apps. The primary focus is on designing responsive, contemporary websites.
Business Information – Business applications and information systems theory are examined. Topics include business information design, analysis, and implementation, and the components of the life cycle.
American Association of Law Libraries – There are available scholarships that assist individuals who study to become librarians either as law or library school students or graduate library school students who seek advanced degrees in related fields. Candidates may apply for multiple scholarships when appropriate. They are:
- College graduates seeking a Library degree
- Dual law/library degree graduate students
- Law school graduates seeking a library degree
- Library school graduates who seek a non-law degree
Marcia J. Koslov Scholarship – The scholarship was jointly established by Marcia J. Koslov and AALL. It supports AALL members working in a government law library. The scholarship provides funding to attend programs of continuing education.
Top Organizations to Know
Legal Information Services has served law and legal library communities since 1978. It provides outsourced services to various organizations. They also publish reference and working titles for the library and legal communities. Consult their newsletters and books for acquisition, management, reference, and research needs. Members find cost-effective titles for the library and the legal communities. Legal Information Services provides library management, maintenance, and consulting services for the short- and long-term. They work with academic law libraries, government agencies, corporate legal departments, accounting firms, and law firms.
American Association of Law Libraries – The AALL is guided by their values, vision, and mission and supported by their resolutions, policies, and bylaws. The organization works to achieve strategic goals for the advancement of the profession and to support its members’ professional growth. It is the only national organization to keep law librarians and legal information professionals on the industry advancements’ leading edge and champions for the value of the profession as a whole.
Special Libraries Association – SLA is a not-for-profit global organization for information professionals and strategic partners in ‘specialized’ settings, such as academic, government, and business. It strengthens and supports its members through community building initiatives, networking, and learning.
Career Options with this Degree
Law librarians are experts in information resources who work in government libraries, law firms, corporate law departments, and law schools. They assist library patrons, staff, students, and attorneys on the use of business and legal research resources. Through their extensive knowledge of electronic media and print, they facilitate cost-effective research. Due to economic restructuring, the role of a law librarian has grown. These highly educated professionals serve as educators, researchers, and leaders to a cross-generational audience. Law librarians may work in the public sector for federal, state, or local government agencies and courts. Salaries vary according to the location, size, and type of library. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published a median annual salary for librarians in general to be $59,050. Law librarians typically earn higher salaries because they are specialized and highly educated.