|Syracuse University||Online MS in Library and Information Science||✓|
|St. John's University||Online M.S. in Library and Information Science||✓|
|University of Denver||Master of Library and Information Science||✓|
|University of Washington||Online Master of Science in Information Management|
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 Masters 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.
Are There Online Law Librarianship Programs?
Yes. There are online library science Masters degree programs Masters MLISthat offer concentrations or specializations in Law Librarianship. Each has a set of requirements of its own. Employers often prefer graduates from ALA-accredited programs (American Library Association). Those interested in pursuing a Law degree should also consider programs accredited by the ABA (American Bar Association). Prospective students should be prepared to provide the following when completing an online or paper application:
- A Bachelor's degree or equivalent from an accredited institution before applying to a Master of Library Science and Information program
- Personal statement
- Essay or short answer responses
- Letters of recommendation
- Test scores - Though not always required, some schools may need proof of GRE scores
The number of credits required and the curriculum for a Master-level program vary depending on the specialization and the school. Additionally, some programs offer graduate certificates in legal information for those who have already earned a Masters degree in Library or Information Science. In searching for the best program to fit an individual's needs and professional goals, prospective students should carefully consider the admission requirements and coursework.
Featured Online Library Programs
|Master||Online MS in Library and Information Science
ALA-accredited. No GRE required to apply.
|St. John's University
|Master||Online M.S. in Library and Information Science
ALA Accredited. Complete in as little as 2 years.
|University of Denver
|Master||Master of Library and Information Science
ALA-Accredited, No GRE Required.
|University of Washington
|Master||Online Master of Science in Information Management
Information School. Now offered full-time or part-time.
|Master||Online Master of Arts Education - Library Media and Technology Specialization
Emphasis in Library Media & Technology.
What it is like to study law libriarianship
A Masters in Library Science is required for most professional library positions, though some law librarians hold this degree and a Law degree (JD or LLB). While 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 and provides opportunities for practical application. General competencies gained include collection management, library management, library technology, information management, and information-seeking 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. Law librarians typically are not required to to take the bar exam unless pursuing a Law degree.
What is Law Librarianship and Legal Information Services?
Many of the responsibilities of a law librarian overlap with those of traditional librarians. These legal information professionals are responsible for the organization, management, analysis, and dissemination of electronic and physical information resources. These resources are legal in nature, including case information, statutes, treatises, and government documents. Law librarians must work constantly to ensure that resources are current and relevant, as the law is constantly changing. A Law Librarianship specialization is the gateway to challenging, exciting, and interesting professional opportunities.
Review of a few of the best law librarianship MLS programs
Most law librarians have a Masters degree in Library Science or a related field of study. These schools offer law librarianship specializations.
University of North Texas Online MLS with a Law Librarianship Concentration
The University of North Texas offers a fully online, ALA-accredited Master of Science degree in Library Science, with a Law Librarianship and Legal Informatics concentration. Total coursework consists of 36 credit hours, including a practicum and capstone experience. GRE scores are not required for admission. Admitted students are eligible to apply for various assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships.
University of Arizona MLIS with Law Librarianship Concentration
The University of Arizona's Master of Arts in Library and Information Science program offers a Law Librarianship/Legal Information concentration. The program is ALA-accredited and can be completed entirely online. The degree consists of 37 credits, with options for an internship and independent study. The program also offers graduate certificates. Prospective students are not required to submit GRE scores.
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Online MLIS
The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee offers an ALA-accredited and 100% online Master of Library and Information Science degree, with an Information Law, Policy, and Ethics specialization. The program emphasizes specialization in the area of sociomatics and skills needed in information and technology-rich settings. GRE scores are not required for admission and applications are accepted in Fall, Spring, and Summer.
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.
Database Development and Management – The focus of this course is the theory, methods, and techniques used to develop and manage database systems. Stand-alone and internet-based database environments are discussed. Students will complete an individual or group-based project.
User Interface and Web Design – 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 and Access Services – 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. Scholarships are available to:
- College graduates with meaningful law library experience seeking a library degree
- Dual law/library degree graduate students
- Law school graduates seeking a library degree
- Library school graduates seeking a law degree
- Library school graduates who seek a non-law degree which will be beneficial to the development of a law librarianship career
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.
Where law librarians can work
Law librarians and legal information professionals work in a variety of settings. Some 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 information and overseeing services that serve law students and professors as they study, research, and write about the law.
Public service options also exist, such as in prison libraries and public law libraries. There, law librarians provide services that help constituents locate legal information. Additionally law librarians can be employed by private firms, corporations, or research organizations. In these settings, responsibilities may include legal cataloging, competitive intelligence analysis, or market research.
Regardless of the chosen path, law librarians have a rewarding and stimulating profession. Duties range 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 in recent years.
Top Organizations to Know
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.
Legal Information Services has served law and legal library communities since 1978. It provides automation and 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.
The LAC Group is a leading full-continuum information service provider, offering services that range from intelligence to research to library and eResource management. Their services benefit legal, government, banking, and health/life science industries. In addition to serving a variety of organizations, LAC Group also produces newsletters, reports, case studies, and career guides.
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.