Library Administration Degrees

School Program ALA Accredited?
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 library administration degree emphasizes leadership and becoming a leader within libraries and the profession. In addition to foundational librarianship knowledge (such as information organization, programming, and collection development), these programs teach skills needed to lead people, groups, and organizations, manage projects, oversee finances, and develop strategic plans. Special attention is paid to developing communication, organization, critical thinking, and problem solving abilities.

Are there online Library Administration programs?

Yes. A growing number of online library science degrees offer programs, certificates, and courses focused on the development of administration, leadership, and management skills in libraries and information centers. Online degrees allow students to pursue their studies in a flexible format. These programs are especially popular with working adults.

Click to find online library science programs currently accepting applications.

Library administration vs. library science and management

Library administrators can be employed in any setting, but typically oversee public, academic, school, and special libraries. Librarians in administrative positions may be responsible for staffing, budgeting, policy decisions, and advocacy efforts. Library administration programs closely overlap with those focused on library management Library Management.

Finding ALA accredited library administration programs

Additionally, the American Library Association (ALA) promotes an online Certified Public Library Administrator (CPLA) certification program CPLA Certification Program. This is a special program for public librarians who have already obtained the MLIS and have at least 3 years of supervisory experience. You can also review some of the best online MLIS programs that are ALA accredited here.

Featured Online Library Programs

School Level Program
Syracuse University
Website
Master Online MS in Library and Information Science
ALA-accredited. No GRE required to apply.
St. John's University
Website
Master Online M.S. in Library and Information Science
ALA Accredited. Complete in as little as 2 years.
University of Denver
Website
Master Master of Library and Information Science
ALA-Accredited, No GRE Required.
University of Washington
Website
Master Online Master of Science in Information Management
Information School. Now offered full-time or part-time.
Lindenwood University
Website
Master Online Master of Arts Education - Library Media and Technology Specialization
Emphasis in Library Media & Technology.

Are there Bachelors in Library Administration programs?

Yes. There are a href="https://www.librarysciencedegrees.org/programs/online/bachelors-blis">bachelor-level library and information science programs that may prepare candidates for roles in library administration Bachelors BLIS. Though most professional librarian positions require a master-level degree, it is possible to gain the necessary knowledge and experience through an undergraduate program.

Undergraduate courses allow students to build knowledge and skills in accessing, organizing, and managing information. In general, bachelor programs teach foundational courses in Information Management, Information Literacy, Collection Development and Management, Cataloging and Classification, Library Instruction, and Reference Services and Sources. Additionally, programs may include introductory leadership courses.

Are there Masters in Library Administration programs?

Yes. Multiple Master of Library and Information Science MLIS programs are available online and have concentrations, specializations, and pathways in library administration. Many of these programs allow students to not only develop leadership skills and learn foundational librarianship practices, they create opportunities to further customize the degree program to a specific area of study. Through a combination of coursework and real-world experience, students are prepared to work in a variety of information settings, serving diverse populations and managing information in multiple formats.

Are there ALA Accredited Masters in Library Administration programs?

Yes. Most MLIS programs with a library administration focus are accredited by ALA. This is an important stamp of approval for a program, as many professional librarian positions state that applicants must have an ALA-accredited master's degree. Currently, the American Library Association accredits more than 30 programs with a library administration concentration, specialization, or pathway.

Top 5 online MLIS programs with Library Administration concentrations

There are several options to complete an online MLIS program with a focus on library administration. Each program offers its own benefits, while still ensuring students gain necessary foundational knowledge and skills. It is important to evaluate program learning outcomes, course options, and opportunities for real-world experience before applying to a program. Each of the following programs are offered fully online.

University of Southern California - Master of Management in Library & Information Science

This program is a blend of library and information science curriculum with management, communications, and business fundamentals. Offered as a partnership through the USC Marshall School of Business, this remote program is accredited by ALA. With a structure consisting of five 15-week semesters, the 40-credit degree can be completed in as few as 20 months.

A total of 13 foundation and required courses, accounting for 31 credits, include: Management Communication for Leaders, Accounting Concepts and Financial Reporting, Library Information Sources and Services, and Legal, Ethical, and Strategic Fundamentals for Library Managers. An internship and capstone are also required within these credits. Students may select from several elective options, 3 courses for 9 credits, including: Instructional Strategies for Information Professionals, Partnerships and Collaborations in Libraries, and Library and Information Technologies. USC also offers courses toward a 16-unit Library and Information Management Graduate Certificate. The certificate may be a good option for those already in possession of the MLIS, who are interested in developing leadership skills.

Admission requirements include: an online application, current resume, statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and transcripts. Tuition is $1,995 per credit hour with a total cost of $79,800. Highly selective merit-based scholarships are available for outstanding applicants from the school.

Valdosta State University - Library Management Area of Interest

This ALA-accredited MLIS program emphasizes flexibility for working students and consists of 39 credits (including six required courses). There is no thesis requirement, though students do complete a capstone course. Core courses in the curriculum are designed to ensure students gain expertise in administration, resources for clients, services in the knowledge society, and technical knowledge.

Students complete 18 elective hours and include evidence from these courses in a required portfolio (as part of the foundations and capstone courses). Elective options in the library management area of interest include: Adult Services in Public Libraries, Human Resources Management, Community Building, and Project Management for Libraries.

With full-time enrollment, the degree program can be completed in two academic years. E-rate tuition and fees are applied for all online MLIS students, regardless of resident status. With an eTuition rate of $293 per credit hour, a three-hour course is $879. Qualified accepted students may be eligible for awards and scholarships through the school and state organizations.

Florida State University - Leadership & Management Program of Study

FSU's Master of Science in Information (MSI) emphasizes teaching basic librarianship principles along with specialized in-demand skills. This ALA-accredited MSI includes 36 semester hours, with an option to complete a thesis. In addition to chosen electives, the program consists of four required core courses and one technology skills course.

Curriculum guidelines are available for the leadership and management program of study. One course, Information Leadership, is strongly recommended. Students may select from several other options to meet the 3 course minimum requirement for the program of study, including: Grant Writing, Evaluation, and Administration, Information Systems Management, and Management of Health Information Technology.

Coursework for the degree program must be completed within 7 years of first registering for graduate credit. Resident status determines tuition and fees, with required facilities use, technology, and FSU card term fees. Qualified students may be eligible for scholarships, assistantships, and other funding and award opportunities.

St. John's University - Management for Information Professionals Specialization

This ALA-accredited MSLIS program can be completed in 24 months. The 36-credit curriculum reflects the values of compassion and zeal for service, preparing students to become trusted sources of information for under-served communities. The program consists of a 3 credit management course, 12 credit hours in core courses, and 21 elective credit hours.

Elective options in the management for information professionals specialization include: Project Management in Information Organizations, Marketing and Advocacy in Information Organizations, Knowledge Management, and Project Leadership for Information Professionals Capstone. Students completing the program are prepared to earn an advanced Certificate in Management for Information Professionals.

Students in the program complete an ALA-aligned ePortfolio and can participate in a mentoring program. For admission, students will need to provide a resume or C.V., official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. Program tuition is $1,355 per credit hour. The school offers a scholarship awarded for academic merit, based on GPA.

University of Central Missouri - Professional Leadership, EdS - Librarianship Option

The Professional Leadership, EdS - Librarianship option is one of several within the Library Science and Information Services (LSIS) master's degree program. The EdS, Librarianship option is CAEP certified and recognized by the AASL. UCM's LSIS program is currently seeking pre-candidacy status with ALA.

This fully online degree program has been designed to help students become leaders in librarianship and improve teaching skills. The program consists of a minimum of 30 semester hours. Students complete 9 hours of research requirements, 21 credit hours of electives, and a thesis requirement. A cooperative degree program allows students to also obtain an EdD from Murray State University.

This program is most appropriate for those who have already completed a master's program. Admission to the program requires students to have earned a master's degree in the area of specialization or have completed 15 semester hours of appropriate background courses. Online tuition is $379.50 per credit, excluding fees. LSIS students may be eligible for one of several program scholarships.

Typical Online Library Administration Curriculum

There are common themes in many online library administration curricula. Typical topics include leadership, management theory, marketing, advocacy, grant writing, communication, project management, collection development, information description, information retrieval, legal and ethical concerns, and research methods. Courses generally encourage investigation of the role of libraries and information centers in the past, present, and future. Emphasis is placed on developing spaces, collections, and services that meet the evolving needs of information users and facilitate adoption of new technologies.

Further customization may allow students to hone their knowledge, skills, and abilities in a particular area of librarianship or management. To facilitate hands-on learning and create opportunities for real-world practice, most programs incorporate an internship or practicum experience. It is important to fully review program learning outcomes and degree requirements to ensure these align with personal and professional goals.

Though options will vary by program, the following are typical courses found in library administration curriculum:

Foundations of Library & Information Science

This fundamental course provides an overview of the history of knowledge and information, from early history to present times, with particular emphasis on libraries and information centers. Includes exploration of the role and value of information across cultures and societies, technological developments, library and information theory, and future directions for the profession. Students will become familiar with profession best practices, modern trends and issues, organizations and associations, and ethical standards.

Collection Development & Management

This course teaches the theory, principles, policies, and practices for the development and management of electronic and analog collections. Emphasis is placed on building collections based on user need and interest, usage patterns, and data analysis. Topics include: selection, acquisition, evaluation, access, maintenance, preservation, and deselection. Multiple library and information center contexts will be considered.

Managing Libraries & Information Centers

An introduction to the theory, concepts, and functions of library and information center management. Students will gain an understanding of the history of management and the roles and responsibilities within the context of library and information science. A variety of information settings will be discussed. Course will also include discussion of the role of information systems in organizations and how these can be managed.

Leadership in Libraries & Information Centers

An exploration of foundational leadership theory, principles, and practices. Through readings and discussion, students will develop an understanding of the relationship between leadership theory and effective application of leadership skills. Students will consider various formal and informal leadership roles in libraries and information centers. Required competencies for modern library and information center leaders are also discussed.

Marketing Resources & Services

This course teaches relevant skills and methods for the effective marketing of resources and services to a target audience. Consideration will be given to audience analysis, cost analysis, message development, social media use, and outcome evaluation. Students will develop a strategic marketing plan for a collection, service, or organization within the library context.

Project Management in Libraries & Information Centers

An introduction to the theory, concepts, and practices of project management. Includes case studies of projects in libraries, archives, museums, and other information settings. Students will work in teams to design, develop, and implement an effective presentation demonstrating competency in project planning and management.

Human Resource Management

Considers contemporary trends and issues, challenges, policies, and processes in human resource management and human relations. Topics include: staff recruitment, development, and retention, diversity and inclusion, equal opportunity, performance evaluation, and local, state, and federal legal requirements. Students will develop strategies for effective implementation of human resource policies and programs and learn to facilitate optimal human resource management.

Research Methods

An introduction to methods utilized in library and information science research. Particular emphasis is placed on administration, management, and leadership research. Students learn the skills and tools necessary for data collection, analysis, and evaluation. Topics include: question formulation, measurement, presentation, and ethics. Course includes development of an initial research topic and design of a research plan that can be used to satisfy a thesis requirement.

Internship

Student will gain practical experience in library administration through the application of theory in a professional setting. Under the guidance and supervision of an approved information professional, student will participate in a structured temporary employment opportunity. Internship may be paid or unpaid. Completion requirements include: documentation of activities, internship supervisor evaluation, and student reflection. Internship site must be pre-approved by student’s faculty advisor.

Capstone

During the final semester of study, student will complete a culminating capstone project to demonstrate understanding of core program competencies. Project will include evidence from completed coursework, professional work experience, and/or original research. Student will be expected to demonstrate connections to library administration and contemporary professional trends and issues. The capstone may take the form of an ePortfolio, presentation, or research paper.

ALA requirements for Library Administration programs

Colleges an universities offering Master’s of Library and Information Science programs with library administration concentrations, specializations, or pathways are subject to the same accreditation standards as all ALA-accredited programs. To receive accreditation and continuation, MLIS programs must meet or exceed established criteria evaluating educational quality and and public accountability. Programs voluntarily seek accreditation and it is determined through self-evaluation and peer-assessment.

Additionally, some library administration programs that prepare graduates to work as teachers, in school libraries, or in school media centers are recognized by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).

What careers can you have with a Library Administration degree?

A library administration degree typically prepares graduates to serve in a leadership position in an academic, public, school, or special library. Graduates possess leadership, management, communication, and problem solving skills. Gaining additional experience in human resources, grant writing, strategic planning, or budgeting can create more employment opportunities for job seekers.

While a library administration degree typically prepares graduates to work in libraries, it is not uncommon to find these information professionals in other settings. Galleries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions hire individuals with library administration experience for their ability to manage information, data, and records and their understanding of team- and service-based organizations. Non-profit organizations, government agencies, publishers, data management companies, and research firms are also potential employers.

Possible careers include:

  • Manager, Information Services
  • Development Director
  • Assistant Library Director
  • Library Director
  • Youth Services Manager
  • Library Services Manager
  • Director of Public Libraries
  • Associate University Librarian for Finance and Administration
  • Assistant Library Director, Technical Services
  • Library Collections Manager
  • Engagement Manager
  • Dean of University Libraries
  • Chief Impact Officer