|Bachelor||BA in General Studies
|Bachelor||BA in English
Obtaining an online Bachelor of Science in Library Science, or related undergraduate degree, is often the first step to a library support staff or technician position. Credentialing and continuing education are the focus of many online Bachelor of Library Science programs. These programs can be offered fully online, in-person, or as hybrids. As with most undergraduate degrees, online Bachelor of Library Science programs typically take four years to complete when enrolled full-time.
Can you become a librarian with just a Bachelors degree?
Th online BLS degree can also serve as a stepping stone for a future
It is important to note that the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or Master of Library Science (MLS) are considered the terminal degrees for most careers in professional librarianship.
Students interested in becoming a librarian, or beginning a career that requires graduate-level education, should plan to earn a Master's degree upon completion of a Bachelor program. The MLIS degree is available online.
Are there ALA Accredited Bachelor of Library Science Programs?
The American Library Association, ALA, does not accredit undergraduate-level Library Science programs. The ALA accreditation extends only to graduate-level programs (MLIS, MLS). Currently, no individual agency oversees the accreditation of undergraduate library science programs.
However, ALA does recognize and list undergraduate, certification, and continuing education Library Science programs. When researching online Bachelor of Library Science programs, it can help to look at those schools with ALA accredited MLIS/MLS programs.
Featured Online Library Programs
|Bachelor||BA in General Studies
|Bachelor||BA in English
Top 5 online Bachelor of Library Science programs
Attending school online gives students the freedom to complete a degree from any location. Schools offering online Bachelor of Library Science programs typically emphasize flexible class schedules, access to remote advising and academic services, and recognized faculty. Many of these programs may also offer scholarships and some study abroad opportunities.
Admission requirements for online Bachelor of Library Science programs vary by school. Typically, enrollees will need to:
- Complete an application for admission to the college or university
- Submit high school transcripts (or college transcripts if courses were previously taken at another institution)
- Submit standardized test scores (if applicable)
- Submit letter(s) of recommendation or essay (often optional)
Many schools have fall/spring deadlines for admission. It is important to be familiar with all application deadlines.
University of Nebraska Omaha - BS/BMS in Library Science
This is a fully online program that offers students several options for completion. For those interested in a future career in a special, public, or academic library, the degree can be completed in either the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (BS in Library Science) or the College of Public Affairs and Community Service (Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies in Library Science). Students interested in school libraries can earn teaching certificates with library concentrations with either the BS in Elementary Education or BS in Secondary Education. Both teaching degrees include school library provisional endorsements. Additional coursework at the graduate level must be completed in order to earn the full school library endorsement.
In addition to general education courses, the program includes 10 required library concentration courses. Examples of required courses include Digital Citizenship, Teaching and Learning in Digital Environments, Management of Information Resources, and a practicum. Students may select from a number of online courses to meet the elective requirements in Technology (3 hours), Human Relations (12 hours), and Literacy (12 hours). Additionally, a number of minors are also offered fully online. A total of 120 hours are needed to complete a degree.
The University of Southern Mississippi - BS in Library and Information Science
Students have three options for the fully online LIS program, including a minor, BS, and dual major. Additionally, the program offers an Accelerated Master's Option (AMO). The AMO gives qualified undergraduate students the opportunity to take a limited number of graduate-level courses as electives during their senior year of the program. These courses count toward the MLIS degree at the university. A study abroad option gives students the chance to participate in a British Libraries, Archives, and Special Collections course in London.
A total of 120 credit hours are needed to graduate. The major area of study consists of 45 hours, while direct electives count for 34, and a minor consists of 18 credit hours. Examples of courses in the major area of study include Cataloging and Classification, Library Instruction, and Rural and Small Libraries. Additional requirements consist of 3-6 credit hours. Requirements for the program include one literature course, one technology-related course, and a senior-year practicum. At the time of this writing, the cost per credit hour was $383.59. Projected completion time for the degree is 2-4 years.
University of Maine at Augusta - BS Information and Library Science
With a more than 20-year history, this program prepares students to become successful library paraprofessionals. In addition to the Bachelor degree, this program offers an Associate degree and certificate. All programs are delivered completely online and are nationally recognized. For admission to the Bachelor program, students must have completed at least 30 credits from an accredited institution with a minimum 2.50 GPA or have SATs of 1,000 combined points. If unable to meet either of these options, a student will be admitted to the Associate program. Upon completion of 30 credits, the student may transfer into the Bachelor program.
Of the 120 credit hours required for graduation, 61 credits are within the program major. Required courses include Introduction to Reference Services and Materials, Collection Development, and Web Page Design. Students are required to complete either a senior capstone internship or advanced research. Tuition rates are based on residency status.
Northern Kentucky University - BS in Library Informatics
Available exclusively online, the Library Informatics degree prepares graduates for careers in information evaluation and management. The program boasts that approximately 25% of graduates continue their education to earn a MLIS. A total of 12 core courses count toward 45 credits of the 120 required for graduation. Core courses include Introduction to Meta Information Systems, Current Trends in Information Studies, and Information Literacy. Students are also required to complete a senior-year capstone.
Clarion University - BS Integrative Studies: Library and Information Studies Concentration
Offered both online and in-person, this program emphasizes the skills and knowledge necessary to obtain paraprofessional or provisional librarian employment. To obtain the degree students must complete 120 credit hours, including general education electives. Of these 120 credit hours, 18 are core requirements for the Library and Information Studies concentration. Example core requirement courses include Information for Life, Informed Citizenry, and On the Money: Information for Financial Literacy. Resident and nonresident tuition rates are available.
Top Program Areas for a Bachelor of Library Science
Degrees in Library Science or Library and Information Science generally focus on information access, organization, technology, and management. A number of online programs exist that are closely related to the Bachelor of Library Science and may help to prepare graduates for careers in libraries and information centers. These programs provide a foundation in informatics, information science, information studies, or information technology.
Information Studies degree
The University of Oklahoma’s online, interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts in Information Studies Bachelor’s in Information Studies program prepares students to explore and analyze information needs in diverse organizational settings (source).
Information science degree
Students interested in enrolling in an undergraduate program while earning credits toward a graduate degree might consider the University of North Texas’ Grad Track program Grad Track Program (website). Once enrolled in the school’s partially online Bachelor of Science in Information Science program Bachelor of Science in Information Science Grad Track students can earn credits toward the Master of Science in Information Science or the Master of Science in Library Science degree programs.
Computer science and information science degree
St. John’s University offers a dual degree program Computer Science/Library and Information Science, Bachelor of Science/Master of Science (website), allowing students to complete in five years of full-time study combined BS and MS degrees in the Computer Science and Library and Information Science program.
Many schools also offer undergraduate minors in information science or information studies.
Typical Online Bachelor of Library Science Curriculum
Generally, programs emphasize foundational courses designed to build knowledge and skills related to information access, organization, and management. Courses will often cover the broad range of professional library settings, including public and school libraries. Specific information user populations are also often discussed, including children, teens, and adults. Undergraduate core courses may offer a high-level view of topics covered more in-depth at the graduate level.
While most online Bachelor of Library Science degrees require four years to complete, some may be completed faster depending on course-load. All undergraduate programs require students to complete a certain number of general education electives. However, students may receive credit for some courses if they can provide evidence of completed previous coursework or professional experience. Program major electives allow students to explore areas of interest related to the degree. Minor options vary by program.
Introduction to Libraries & Library Services – This course serves as a primer on the role of libraries and other information centers in communities and provides an overview of common library and information services. Students are introduced to library science as a discipline and profession, with discussions on guiding principles, professional associations, certifications, and career opportunities. Contemporary issues within the profession are also discussed.
Information & Society – In this course, students explore the role of information in past and present societies. An emphasis is placed on the relationship between libraries, and other information centers, and contemporary societies. Cultural, political, and economic aspects are discussed. Contemporary trends in social topics, such as digital citizenship, are also explored.
Introduction to Information Literacy – This course explores the skills required to locate, retrieve, and evaluate reliable information sources, with an emphasis on online library resources. Students learn to identify a research question, develop search strategies, utilize appropriate resources (both print and digital), assess information, and cite sources using standard citation methods.
Managing Information Resources – Investigate the theories and practices of cataloging and classifying book and non-book library materials. Students learn bibliographic description and search methods, along with subject analysis. This course will also address theory and best practices for modern collection development and management for a variety of libraries and information centers. There is also an introduction to library technical services, systems, and digital tools.
Library Instruction and Learning – Instruction is an important aspect of many library and information center services. In this course, students learn the skills required to instruct using best practices and methods. The diverse needs of different learners are considered in addition to contemporary learning theories. Current trends in instruction and learning are also discussed.
Current Trends in Libraries and Information Centers – This course serves as a deep-dive into contemporary trends in libraries and other information centers. Students will explore the social issues impacting both information systems and services. Using the knowledge and skills gained in the program, students will propose a topic for research and develop an outline for future investigation.
Professional Leadership & Management – This course covers the basic theory and concepts related to professional leadership and management in libraries and information centers. Students will learn the skills needed in administration of services to meet the needs of individuals and communities. Course content includes ethics, staff supervision, financial considerations, and public relations.
Serving Diverse Library Populations – Meeting the needs of diverse populations is central to the role of any library or information center professional. Students will explore the information needs and special considerations required for specific populations, including children, teens, and adults. This course will also investigate the needs of diverse communities, including urban, small, rural, and communities where English is not the primary language. Special attention is given to outreach and services.
Practicum/Internship – The practicum or internship is designed to give students hand-on experience in a library or information center. Under the supervision of a librarian or information professional possessing an MLIS, the student will apply knowledge and skills to real-world situations. Students are expected to collaborate professionally with colleagues and participate in professional development activities.
Capstone – A capstone project typically serves as the culminating experience for the degree program. Students must gain advance approval for their project topic. Students use the course to design, implement, and analyze their topic. The final product, often a presentation, may be presented to the student’s faculty mentor, the class, or both.
What careers can you have with a Bachelor of Library Science degree?
Obtaining a Bachelor in Library Science, or related degree, can prepare you for a number of entry-level or paraprofessional positions within a variety of professional settings. Graduates can work in libraries, archives, museums, or other cultural institutions. Alternatively, employment options may include those in government agencies, private companies, or non-profit organizations. For those interested in a role as a public or academic librarian, or in a position requiring a graduate degree, it is important to give additional consideration to enrolling in a Master’s program.
- Audiovisual/Multimedia Specialist
- Data Analyst
- Document/Records Manager
- Imaging Specialist
- Information Architect
- Information Technologist
- Instructional Technology Specialist
- Library Media Specialist
- Library Technician
- Metadata Specialist
- Network Administrator
- Online Customer Services Trainer
- Online Researcher
- Project Manager
- Public Information Officer
- Software Programmer
- Systems Analyst
- Thesaurus Developer
- Web Developer
- Youth Services Librarian