|Syracuse University||Online MS in Library and Information Science||✓|
|University of Denver||Master of Library and Information Science||✓|
There are two institutions that feature library science degrees at the graduate level in Iowa. The University of Iowa has the exclusive Master's degree in library and information science recognized by the American Library Association (ALA). An alternative pathway is the school library media specialization at the University of Northern Iowa, which is accredited by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).
If not being taken online, students can enroll in these programs in Iowa City and Cedar Falls. Located in the eastern portion of the state, Iowa City is the fifth-largest city with around 74,000 residents. Cedar Falls has around 40,000 people, and while the University of Northern Iowa may be in a smaller location, it is just 10 miles away from the third-largest city in the state, Waterloo.
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|Master||Online MS in Library and Information Science
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|University of Denver
|Master||Master of Library and Information Science
ALA-Accredited, No GRE Required.
|St. John's University
|Master||Online M.S. in Library and Information Science
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|University of West Alabama
|Doctorate||Education Specialist: Library Media
Are There Online Library Science Degrees?
Regardless of choosing the University of Iowa or University of Northern Iowa, either choice has a program that is mostly available online. Pursuing the online program may feature an asynchronous or synchronous course format. This means students may have the freedom to pursue all coursework on their own time or meet at specific times during the week for the lecture.
At the University of Iowa, technical suggestions include having an updated Windows or Mac operating system with a modern desktop or laptop computer. Students should have a webcam and microphone setup to access their virtual lectures and use webconferencing software. It is recommended to have external peripherals for better quality, extra power ready with a laptop, and backing up information on other storage devices or the cloud.
Both of the library media programs at the Iowa institutions require on-campus residencies. This means students need to meet at a specific time on-campus with other faculty members and peers in their class. These residencies serve as an orientation session prior to pursuing courses in the program.
Campus-based and online ALA-Accredited library science degrees in Iowa
University of Iowa
Iowa Library Science Degrees
Des Moines is the largest city with over 210,000 people and provides job opportunities at multiple public library branches. There are related school media librarian positions at Drake University, the Des Moines Area Community Colleges, and other public and private school districts.
Library science degrees should feature accreditation recognized by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which includes ALA and AASL designation. Having this accreditation means that the program has met rigorous criteria set by the organization in a review process. This means the program has specific goals to improve the librarian profession and has the faculty and resources to provide students with success in their career.
University of Iowa's Master of Arts in Library and Information Science
The School of Library and Information Science features a Master of Arts program that is available online. This program is offered in a synchronous format where students meet once per week for 2 hours and 30 minutes per course. Students must also attend an on-campus residency prior to courses beginning in the fall for orientation.
There is an opportunity to graduate with the Master's degree and a School Media Library certification. Only the non-thesis format of this program is available online. Students must have high-speed internet access and install the Zoom webconferencing software for online course meetings.
University of Northern Iowa's Master of Arts in School Library Studies
The College of Education offers a concentration in School Library Studies. An online format gears this toward full-time workers looking to receive endorsement for librarian positions. There is an on-campus residency requirement that takes place during the first fall Saturday of the program.
Required courses in the program include collection organization for various age ranges, curriculum development, and management and leadership. 33 or 36 credit hours are needed depending on if the student is pursuing the thesis option. Around 36 to 40 percent of the curriculum must feature courses at the 6000-level or higher.
As an alternative from the full school teacher librarian endorsement, students may consider licensure for a more specific age range. For example, 24 total credit hours may be completed for the Kindergarten through 8th grade certification by taking the Library Resources for Children course. The alternative 5th grade through 12th grade certification is earned with the Library Resources for Young Adults course.
Iowa Career Options in Library Media
There are over 1,500 librarian and media collection specialist positions recognized in the state of Iowa according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is lower than surrounding states to the East, including Wisconsin and Illinois, but higher than states such as Nebraska and South Dakota. Roughly one-fourth of the positions are located in the central portion of the state within the Des Moines metropolitan area.
Library jobs can be found at various school and public library systems across the state. Specialty positions in health and law may also be considered. Assistant positions at a public library may be responsible for helping patrons with technical services or taking part with the check-in and check-out process. They may be tasked to determine the condition of borrowed items and take part in collection management.
Librarian Requirements in Iowa
For some public library position in the state of Iowa, candidates must have an accredited Master’s degree in library science. Other requirements, such as a teaching licensure or specific work experience, may be necessary. Those looking for job opportunities can find specific requirements in the job listing.
Iowa separates its school librarian certification for elementary and secondary school for those with a Bachelor’s degree. The Kindergarten through 12th grade teaching license is for those with a Master’s degree only. Applicants must also pass the Praxis II Library Media Content examination.
Des Moines Public Library
Founded in 1866, the Des Moines Public Library (DMPL) has over 552,000 items circulated across six branches. All of these locations have seen a new building or renovations since 2006, improving services and outreach to the community. The DMPL Foundation was established to help fundraise the library branches and advocate for improvements in services and community.
Programs offered at the library include workshops to improve skills and book discussions for all ages. Events organized by the DMPL include reading programs for children and adults during the summer and having various authors visit for a speaking event throughout the year. The library continues to offer more digital services for its patrons.
Salary Estimates in Iowa
The annual mean wage for librarians across the state of Iowa is estimated at $50,220 as of May 2020, according to the BLS. That is lower than many states across the Midwestern region. Those figures to get higher in certain portions of the state, including the most populated metropolitan areas.
Iowa City holds the highest average salary of around $63,000 annually for librarians. This is on par with the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area, which blends into the state of Nebraska. By comparison, the Des Moines metropolitan area sees a yearly salary estimate of $56,720.
Careers, Top Employers, Salary Information
Recent job postings for Library Science degree holders
- Library Assistant for Iowa Lakes Community College – salary $12.15 per hour
- Electronic Services Librarian for Upper Iowa University – no salary listed
- Echo Hill Media Specialist for Linn-Mar Community School District – no salary listed
- Library/Media Specialist for Fort Dodge Community School District – no salary listed
- Boulder Peak Media Assistant for Linn-Mar Community School District – no salary listed
- Imaging Librarian for McFarland Clinic PC – no salary listed
- Library Director for Iowa Lakes Community College – salary $64,145 per year
- Part-Time Clerk – Cord Memorial Library – Danbury, IA, for Woodbury County -salary $9.50 per hour
- Assistant Librarian for Sanborn Public Library – salary ranges from $10 to $12 per hour
The average salary for a Librarian in Iowa is $55,670. A Media Specialist earns between $39,918 and $55,866 per year, with and average of $45,181.