School Program More Info
University of West Alabama Online Master of Education in Library Media
CAEP Accredited Topics include management, reference services, information services and retrieval, reference services and more. 100% online.
University of West Alabama Online Ed.D. Rural Education: Library Media
SACSCOC accredited Focuses on critical issues, learning strategies and solutions for positive development in rural education and communities.
Auburn University at Montgomery Doctorate of Education in Instructional Systems and Learning Sciences
Accredited Develop learning science expertise that maximizes your impact in instructional design, educational research, and teacher training.
i sponsored

Library managers are administrative professionals who oversee the functions and activities in a library. Many library managers are in leadership or supervisory roles. They also have standard knowledge of library tools, resources, services, and professional best practices. A library manager has to have strong organizational and communication skills, problem-solving competencies, the ability to direct and manage others, and knowledge of budgeting practices. Working weekend, holiday, and evening hours may be required.

Are There Online Library Management Programs?

Yes, there are multiple options for online library administration and management degrees. An online Master of Management in Library and Information Science program is a top option for a library science degree online.

A degree in Library Information Science is designed to prepare professionals with practical leadership skills they need to manage libraries within government agencies, businesses, universities, and colleges in the digital world.

The focus is on library and information management and leadership. Courses are taught through collaborative and real-world experience-based learning, with faculty guidance and support. The approach encourages creative and critical thinking and developing skills needed to work effectively in public and academic libraries and other institutions.

Those who wish to work in schools should look for ALA accredited library science programs that lead to licensure, or CAEP accredited programs. If licensure is not of importance, look for iSchool membership or ALA-accredited programs. Taking online classes allows students to work while they study. Other reasons that online programs are a great alternative to programs that are campus-based are the affordability and flexibility online study provides.

Click to find featured online library science programs currently accepting applications for 2024.

What Is the Library Management and Administration Program Area?

Some programs offering a Masters in Library and Information Science include a concentration, specialization, or courses in library management, leadership, and/or administration. The curriculum typically emphasizes library services for diverse communities, project management, contemporary issues in information organizations, and professional experience gained through internships.

How to Become a Library Manager

In a nutshell, there are four simplified steps to becoming a library manager.

Getting started with a library management or administration degree

A Bachelor's degree is the starting point for the educational requirements. Per both the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the ALA, there is no particular prerequisite course of undergraduate study.

The coursework should prepare an applicant for the development of capabilities and knowledge needed for a position as a library manager. It helps to volunteer or work in a private, public, or school library. Volunteer work helps undergraduates acquire knowledge of the industry and develop abilities that will apply to future paid positions. Serving in a volunteer role allows individuals to see firsthand the functions of a library manager.

Sponsored Online Library Programs

School Level Program
Syracuse University
Master Online MS in Library and Information Science
ALA-accredited. No GRE required to apply. School Media Specialization available.
University of Denver
Master Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)
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
Master Online Master of Education in Library Media
Develop knowledge and skills in school library media with our online library media specialist degree.
University of West Alabama
Doctorate Online Ed.D. Rural Education: Library Media
Explore the essential role of library media within rural schools and districts.
i sponsored

In depth review of universities with an Online Library Management Program

San Jose State Online ALA-accredited MLIS

San Jose State University's School of Information gives students the opportunity to select the Leadership and Management career pathway when pursuing the Master of Library and Information Science. The fully online, ALA-accredited MLIS consists of 43 units. Recommended courses for those interested in a library leadership role include: seminars on Intellectual Freedom and Information Ethics, Web Usability, and Library Services for Racially and Ethnically Diverse Communities. The program emphasizes that skills taught support flexibility and effectiveness.

Emporia State University MLS Online

Emporia State University's School of Library and Information Management offers a concentration in Leadership and Administration in the Master of Library Science program. This is a 100% online program that includes weekend intensive courses offered virtually. The program emphasizes organizational behavior and leadership techniques specific to information organizations. Courses cover important professional topics, from advocacy to change and project management to community needs analysis. Students also have the option to complete a practicum to gain additional professional experience.

USC Marshall MLIS

USC Marshall offers an online Master of Management in Library and Information Science. It is offered through a top-ranked business school. The program explores management and leadership strategies along with business operations to prepare students for a high-level career in the field of library and information science. A graduate certificate online program is also offered to those who already have a Master of Library Science degree to help develop advanced management and leadership skills. When enrolled full-time, students can complete the program in 20 months.

East Central University of Oklahoma MLS

East Central University of Oklahoma offers a Masters of Library Media onlineMasters. It is meant for students who plan to be School Library Specialists for grades PK-12. The program is aligned with national and state standards. It covers all school librarianship areas, including technology. Attention is paid to developing students as research consumers. School Library Administration is among the courses students take. The program is 32 credits and is comprised of 18 required coursework credits and 14 specialized courses, electives, and a portfolio. Certified Media Specialists in Oklahoma need a valid Oklahoma teaching certificate in an approved area and must pass the Oklahoma Subject Area Test.

Typical Coursework for this Degree

Library management courses offer the opportunity to learn the skills needed of today's librarians. Whether working as a librarian or starting the path to becoming one, the following courses help gain the understanding and skills needed when managing a modern information center. Though program curriculum varies, it is likely that students will take several of the following courses.

Copyright Basics for Librarians - Copyright is a hot commerce and librarianship topic. Knowing how to deal with the basic copyright situations and all that copyright entails helps avoid common copyright mistakes. The course helps students better understand what is published about copyright and make decisions based on solid information, not rumor or erroneous common knowledge. Objectives are:

  • Identify the rights of copyright holders
  • Name ways copyright affects library service
  • Apply fair-use copyright tests to specific situations
  • Locate print and online resources on copyright

Harnessing the Internet - Those who use the internet know how confusing and vast this electronic resource can be. When working in a library, the internet is likely used daily. Patrons may have questions about the internet. It can be beneficial or not so useful. This course is an introduction to using the internet as a source of reference. Students who complete the course improve their researching skills and use the internet more frequently as a reference source. Objectives are:

  • Describe how the internet works
  • Introduce the internet as a reference source
  • Improve internet searching skills
  • Learn to locate and evaluate the most reliable internet sites

Improving Co-Worker Relationships - The course offers some perspective on strengthening weaknesses in communication in a library and some tools to address specific co-worker problems. Objectives are:

  • Understand fellow workers' communication techniques
  • Evaluate the difference between a personal and personnel issue
  • Discover ways to cope with difficult situations
  • Criticize effectively in a positive and creative atmosphere
  • Disagree and get along
  • Realize different ideas can lead to positive outcomes, even if not seen at the time
  • Deal with situations where personnel are not doing their jobs
  • Reduce stress among co-workers
  • Build valuable relationships with difficult co-workers

Info-Age Etiquette - The course offers fundamental principles of confronting etiquette issues in the workplace. Objectives are:

  • Determining the best workplace dress that demonstrate professional credibility
  • Relax and stay focused on the job at hand
  • Utilize communication tools effectively and correctly
  • Handle cleanliness in the break room issues
  • Utilize electronic devices while considering etiquette practices
  • Deal with physical, ethnic, and cultural perspectives of patrons

Library Privacy & Confidentiality: Law and Policy - This course is designed to help gain a better understanding of laws, such as the USA Patriot Act, as they apply to the privacy of library users and other issues. Objectives are:

  • When and if library user information is required to be released
  • How to respond to law enforcement agents' inquiries
  • How to respond to press inquiries
  • The implications the U.S, Constitution First Amendment has on privacy
  • How the U.S. Supreme Court ensures a library user's privacy and how the First Amendment is used to rule in privacy cases
  • The effects of the USA PATRIOT Act on library users' privacy rights

Management and Administration

Typical career requirements include:

  • A Bachelors degree at the minimum, with a Masters degree preferred.
  • The degree can be in any field for a Bachelors and the field of library or information science for a Masters.
  • Many employers seek a Masters degree from an ALA-accredited program.
  • A license or certificate may be a requirement in some states. A teacher certificate may be required for school library positions.
  • Four to ten years of experience. It can be an internship position or volunteer work.

Key skills that are needed include:

  • Library reference services knowledge
  • Analytical, interpersonal, organizational, or managerial problem-solving skills
  • Computer and internet skills that involve library system software and some teaching
  • Ability to communicate with internal and external stakeholders
  • Project and program management
  • Understanding of applicable laws, regulations, or rules

Library administration and library management are closely related. The distinction is very subtle. Administration starts when the organization ends. Theoretical principles are laid down and then put into practice. Organization is one of the various elements and functions of administration. The organization establishes a structure of responsibility and authority. Administration concerns itself with determination and achievement of policies and objectives. An administrator finds the best devices to carry out planned goals of a library with the help of a staff that is judiciously selected.

Specific Scholarships

The Alice L. Halton Educational Funds operates for educational, literary, and charitable purposes, especially in connection with studying, researching, and disseminating information concerning information and records management. Candidates must be Canada or U.S. citizens residing in the Southwest Region of United Stated (Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, or New Mexico). Those pursuing undergraduate or post-graduate degrees specifically for Records Management/Governance, Archivst and Academic Library degrees/studies are eligible.

Ginny Frankenthaler Memorial Scholarship, sponsored by the Southeastern Library Association, is a $1000 award granted every even year to a beginning professional librarian pursuing a Master of Library and Science degree from an ALA-accredited institution in West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, or Alabama. Candidates must demonstrate leadership potential, carry at least a 3.0 GPA, and agree to work for a year in a Southeast library.

Top Organizations to Know

Special Library Association – The SLA is an international association for professionals working in academic, non-profit, finance, law, government, and business institutions and organizations. There are members in more than 75 countries. The organization has 55 regional Chapters. The organization has Divisions devoted to specific area topics. One of them is Leadership & Management. SLA activities include advocacy, networking, professional education, and conferences.

Library Leadership & Management Association – The LLAMA has been a catalyst since 1957 for leadership in library and information science. It is attuned to the ever-changing cultural, political, economic, and technological conditions. The Association equips library professionals to build successful, vibrant careers in library science. The mission of LLAMA is to advance outstanding management and leadership practices in information and library services by nurturing and encouraging excellence in aspiring and current leaders.

Careers in Library Management and Administration

Job qualifications for a library manager vary depending on the type of organization seeking to hire a manager and the specific responsibilities. Chances of success improve by considering a specialization option for a Masters degree. A second concentration, or additional advanced degree, boosts a student’s qualifications for the job market entry. Supplementary studies for career preparation can be in the area of administration and management or many others such as science, music, health, and law librarianship. Even those who do not plan to begin their library and information career in a supervisory role can gain valuable knowledge and skills through a library management program.

Job options

Even those with specialization in a completed degree program will need work experience to build up to the level of manager. Aspiring library managers need jobs that develop decision-making, administrative, management, and supervisory skills that complement their library science knowledge. Internships and fellowships done during or after graduate school provide some relevant experience. The ALA lists possible non-managerial positions that include librarians, library technicians, and assistant librarians. These jobs help gain industry knowledge and help people become comfortable with the daily functions and activities of a library. Depending on the position and level of education, some states require licensure of public library staff. The process varies from state to state. It could entail the completion of an application or passing an exam.

Professional library association members benefit from connecting with others in the field as they tap into resources for continuing education. Attending meetings and library seminars sponsored by groups like the Special Library Association or ALA provides opportunities to network with others at various stages of their career. These groups keep members informed of broad issues that affect libraries. Advanced education and four to ten years of experience along with computer, organizational, and budgeting skills are necessary to obtain a library management job that pays on average $60,820 per year.