School Librarianship Degree Programs

School Program ALA Accredited?
Syracuse University Online MS in Library and Information Science
University of Denver Master of Library and Information Science

There are just over 50 different school librarianship degrees accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). If you are looking to become a school librarian, a good place to start is pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science program (MLIS) to work in a K-12 school setting. With around 50 programs available, there are not many "School Librarianship" specific degrees, so obtaining the MLIS with a specialization in school librarianship is the next best option.

School librarians, who may also be referred to as teacher-librarians or school library media specialists, are employed in elementary, middle, or high school libraries.

Are there online school librarianship programs?

Yes. Many MLIS or online MLS programs with a focus on school librarianship degrees are available fully online.

Click to find online library science programs currently accepting applications.

Top 5 online ALA Accredited MLIS programs with school librarianship concentrations

The following programs are recognized nationally for their school librarianship concentrations or specializations.

Florida State University - Master of Science in Information - School Libraries Program of Study

The MSI program is available fully online, with the majority of courses taught by full-time faculty. Students have the option to complete the program enrolled as either full- or part-time. A total of 36 semester hours are required for completion, with four required core courses and one required technology course. The remaining courses, approximately 21 semester hours, may be dedicated to the School Libraries Program of Study.

This program gives students the option to choose from a variety of courses designed to prepare future librarian-educators. Some courses are strongly recommended, including: Instructional Role of the Information Specialist and School Collection Development and Management. Options for electives include: Graphic Novels in Libraries, Storytelling for Information Professionals, and Digital Libraries.

The degree must be completed within 7 years of registration. FSU also offers a School Librarianship Leadership Certificate for current school librarians, though this certificate is not a Florida Educational Media certification. Residency status determines tuition rates. Online students are subject to an additional auxiliary fee.

Rutgers University - Master of Information - School Librarianship Concentration

The online MI can be completed in 1.5-2 years when enrolled full-time or 2-3 years when enrolled part-time. Approximate total cost for online students is $36,000. The School Librarianship concentration consists of 36 credits, with 11 (33 credit hours) required courses. Additionally, all students are required to complete three, zero-credit courses - among these is a capstone.

Required concentration courses cover a variety of topics, including: Human Information Behavior, Emerging Literacies, Introduction to Information Technologies, and a Field Experience. To round out the degree requirements, one three-credit elective may be selected with an adviser's approval.

The concentration is designed to meet the New Jersey Department of Education requirements for School Library Media Specialist certification. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are eligible to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CAES).

Syracuse University - Library and Information Science Master's Degree - School Media Concentration

This program emphasizes a commitment to teaching digital and traditional literacy in K-12 schools, with a "uniquely tech-driven and human-centered approach". The School Media concentration has been designed to meet the New York State Department of Education requirements and includes 100 hours of field work. Upon completion, graduates are prepared to take certification exams.

Learning outcomes focus on Teaching and Learning, Literacy and Reading, Information and Knowledge, Advocacy and Leadership, and Program Management and Administration. The program curriculum consists of 36 credit hours, with no electives, and is often completed in two years. Credits are distributed across several areas, including: Required Coursework (15), Information Resources Courses (9), Management and Policy Courses (6), Introductory Courses (3), and School Media Practicum (3).

Currently, tuition for online students is $1,734 per credit, with an additional technology fee per credit hour, per term. Tuition assistance is available through financial aid and scholarships.

Kent State University - Master of Library and Information Science - School Library Media K-12

This 37-credit online program can be completed in as little as two years when enrolled in two courses per semester. With an emphasis on project-based courses and a practical learning experience (practicum), the program prepares graduates to teach information literacy skills, serve in administrative roles, and teach others how to evaluate and access information resources. The approximate program cost is $26,800.

The School Library Media K-12 program emphasizes compliance with ALA, CAEP, and Ohio Department of Education standards and is designed for students who already possess a teaching credential. Required courses include: Information Organization, School Library Management, Engaging Teens, and Reference Sources and Services for Youth. Students may choose from several courses to satisfy 6 elective credits. Upon completion, candidates are prepared to sit for applicable Ohio state licensure or certification.

Alternatively, individuals without a teaching credential may choose to pursue a dual MLIS in School Library Media K-12 and Master of Education in Educational Technology degree. The school also offers an option to complete a K-12 School Library Media licensure program, which does not include the MLIS, for those already in possession of a teaching credential.

University of Maryland College Park - Master of Library and Information Science - School Library Certification

This MLIS program boasts fifth ranked School Library and Youth specializations. Of the 36 credit hours required for completion, core courses account for 12 credits with an additional 3 credits in Designing Principled Inquiry. The remaining 21 credits are distributed across courses within the School Library Certification specialization.

Options for required courses within the specialization include: Promoting Rich Learning with Technology, Selecting and Evaluating Resources for Learning, and Collaborative Instructional Design and Evaluation. Those without a teaching background are encouraged to complete an additional 3-credit learning theory course of their choice. Students must complete either a field study or a thesis and the degree must be completed within five calendar years from the first semester of registration. Average time to complete the program is just over two years. Tuition and fees are based on residency and enrollment.

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.
University of Denver
Website
Master Master of Library and Information Science
ALA-Accredited, No GRE Required.
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 West Alabama
Website
Doctorate Education Specialist: Library Media

Are there Bachelors in School Librarianship programs?

Currently, ALA and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL - a division of ALA) only recognize Master-level school librarianship degree programs. The MLIS, or related degree, is considered the terminal degree for most professional library careers. However, Bachelor-level library science degree programs do exist for those interested in entry-level or paraprofessional library careers. Bachelor of Library Science degrees are also available online.

Additionally some states may offer school librarianship programs at the Bachelor-level that prepare individuals to work in a K-12 setting. It is important to thoroughly research degree, certification, licensure, or endorsement requirements for specific states' departments of education.

Are there Masters in School Librarianship programs?

Yes. The Master's degree is the minimum degree required for many school librarian positions. All ALA-accredited and AASL recognized programs are at the Master's level.

Are there ALA Accredited Masters in School Librarianship programs?

Yes. In general, ALA-accredited MLIS programs prepare graduates for careers in a wide range of professional settings, including school libraries. Many of these programs offer concentrations or specializations in school librarianship. Programs will make clear if completion of the degree satisfies state certification, licensure, or endorsement or is a pathway to state examination.

Typical Online School Librarianship Curriculum

The curriculum for a school librarianship degree will vary by program. In general, curricula emphasize teaching and learning, evaluation and access of information resources, information technology use, collection development and administration, and leadership. Some programs include elective courses, while others do not. Curricula may or may not include culminating experiences, such as a thesis, portfolio, or practicum, while many emphasize field work. The curriculum is often tailored to meet specific state designated teaching requirements, in addition to standards established by ALA, AASL, and CAEP.

Typical courses in a school librarianship concentration:

Information Services and the Role of the Information Specialist

An introduction to the profession of librarianship and the foundation for providing information services. This course surveys common services provided in libraries and the duties of a librarian - both within the library and other educational settings. An overview of the role of instruction in libraries is also covered, including learning theory, teaching methods, and instructional design. Additionally, this course explores current trends and issues relevant to the profession.

Organization and Access of Knowledge and Information Resources

Learn theories, tools, and standards applicable to the organization and access of both knowledge and information resources. Topics include: cataloging, classification, indexing, and information retrieval systems. This course also investigates modern methods for searching, finding, accessing, managing, evaluating, and sharing information across traditional and emerging platforms.

Library Collection Development and Management

This course explores the policies and procedures for selecting, evaluating, acquiring, maintaining, and evaluating materials in a library collection. Consideration is given to both print and electronic materials that support teaching and learning. National, state, and local policies and practices that impact collection development and management are also discussed.

Information Literacy, Learning, and Instruction

Combining both theory and practice, this course offers a deep dive in information literacy standards, learning theory, learning styles, teaching methods, and instructional design. Students will learn to teach modern information literacy skills and instruct successfully in information settings. Additionally, students will gain practical experience developing and evaluating an instruction program that promotes personal development, creativity, literature appreciation, and encourages information-seeking behaviors.

Reference Services for Children/Young Adults

This course explores the services that aid in the discovery, evaluation, and use of print and electronic resources in school settings. To further understand their informational needs, the developmental stages of children/young adults are taken into consideration. Additionally, this course investigates the continually expanding role of the information professional in educational settings.

School Library Marketing and Assessment

This course covers the necessary concepts and methods for the planning, marketing, and assessment of library services, collections, and programs. Students will conduct a needs assessment and use the results to strategically develop a comprehensive marketing plan and apply techniques for evaluation. Emphasis is placed on user needs and cost-effectiveness.

Engaging Children/Young Adults

This course evaluates the materials published specifically for children/young adults. Topics include the evaluation, selection, and acquisition of materials for elementary, middle, and high school aged learners. Resources include both print and electronic materials. An emphasis is placed on the evaluation of materials to meet educational, cultural, and recreational needs and interests of children/young adults. This course also explores methods and best practices for developing and promoting literature-centric programs.

Diverse and Inclusive Resources for Children/Young Adults

Materials that support diversity and inclusion efforts, published both domestically and internationally, serve a special purpose in meeting the educational, cultural, and recreational needs and interests of children/young adults. This course explores strategies for selecting, evaluating, and acquiring fiction and nonfiction print and electronic materials. Students will discuss contemporary issues related to race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, ability, religion, and the immigrant experience. Concerns with access and accessibility are also discussed.

Administration and Leadership

Learn theories, concepts, and strategies for the successful administration of library facilities, services, programs, and people. Topics include: staff hiring, training, and management, resource management, budgeting, advocacy, and professional development. Additionally, this course explores the leadership role of librarians in professional and educational settings.

Educational Technology

This course takes an in-depth look at existing and emerging information and communications technologies to support teaching and learning efforts. Students learn principles and techniques for evaluating, selecting, and implementing various educational technology tools in an information setting. Topics include: digital media, distance learning, collaborative tools, and education databases. Current trends, privacy and security concerns, policies, and specific software and apps are covered.

How to become a school librarian

Individuals interested in this career path have two options to earn a Master-level school librarianship degree.

The first option is to complete a degree through an American Library Association (ALA) accredited Master’s program.

The second option is to complete a Master’s program, with a school media specialization, through an educational unit recognized by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Taking time to review programs available through both options allows prospective students to identify the path that will best prepare them to meet their professional goals.

School librarianship programs in your state

It is also possible to complete a state-recognized school librarianship program. While this may not lead to a Master’s degree, it prepares the candidate to work as a school librarian within the state and possibly in other states.

State certification and licensure

States require certification, licensure, or endorsement to teach or work in a specific school subject area or with certain grade levels. These requirements vary by state and may impact which school librarianship program an individual chooses to enroll in. It is important to first review the requirements of the state department of education in which one is seeking employment before choosing a school librarianship degree program.

ALA requirements for school librarianship programs

ALA, CAEP, and AASL establish standards for school librarians and AASL actively works to review non-ALA accredited programs to ensure they meet these measures. Standards for school librarianship programs consist of 23 components, in 5 categories: The Learner and Learning, Planning for Instruction, Knowledge and Application of Content, Organization and Access, and Leadership, Advocacy, and Professional Responsibility. These standards were established to reflect the role of the library within the school, knowledge of learning environments, modern informational uses, and best practices.

To receive recognition by AASL, a school librarianship program must meet or exceed these measures. Furthermore, MLIS programs accredited by ALA have received the organization’s “stamp of approval” in regards to educational standards and value. To receive ALA accreditation, programs must undergo rigorous self-evaluation and peer-assessment based on specific criteria. ALA publishes a regularly updated, searchable database of accredited programs ALA and schools often display their accreditation badge on program web pages. Or you can view the review of the best ALA accredited library science programs offered online.

What careers can you have with a school librarianship degree?

As a school librarian, teacher-librarian, or library media specialist, professionals are responsible for developing and managing library and information services in a K-12 setting. Acquiring a school librarianship degree prepares the candidate to instruct students and fellow teachers on the acquisition, evaluation, and use of information and information technology. School librarians also work to introduce children and young adults to a wide variety of literature in both print and electronic formats. Providing access to information resources, promoting digital citizenship, teaching critical thinking skills, encouraging creativity and exploration, and practicing leadership, equity, and collaboration are fundamental responsibilities for school librarians.

School librarians typically report to the school principal and/or department head. Individuals in this role may also supervise paraprofessional school library staff, volunteers, or student assistants. Most school librarian positions are full-time, though some may be part-time. School librarians may work a 9-month or year-round schedule. Possible careers with a school librarianship degree include:

  • Elementary/Middle/High School Librarian
  • Teacher-Librarian
  • Library Media Specialist
  • Principal Librarian
  • Senior Librarian – Head of Youth Services
  • Youth Services Librarian
  • Teen Services Librarian
  • Secondary Librarian
  • Librarian/Reading Interventionist
  • Remote/Distance Learning Librarian
  • Program and Outreach Librarian
  • Library Information Specialist
  • Media Coordinator