Marshall University is the exclusive university in the state of West Virginia with accredited library science education at the graduate level. The School Library Media Specialist endorsement is verified by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). This concentration can be added toward the Master's degree in the education discipline.
Are There Online Library Science Degrees in West Virginia?
Students may pursue the Master's degree and/or school library graduate certification completely online. Students do not have any requirements to meet on campus for orientation or coursework during the program. Courses are distributed through the Blackboard learning management system (LMS).
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West Virginia Library Science Degrees
AASL certification is under the umbrella of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Schools having this designation ensures that the curriculum and faculty members prepare their students for school librarian opportunities. Other standards that are reviewed include the accessibility of student resources and implement technology with their teaching and curriculum development.
Huntington is where Marshall University is located in West Virginia, which has over 43,000 residents. This is close to the largest city in the state, Charleston, with over 45,000 people. While there are many opportunities for library positions in the state of West Virginia, these options are spread out and relatively lower paying than neighboring states.
When taking an online program at Marshall University, students follow a mostly asynchronous format. This gives scheduling flexibility to view lectures and complete assignments on the students' own time. Some courses may require live lectures, which is often distributed through Collaborate in the LMS or the Zoom webconferencing application.
Campus-based and online ALA-Accredited library science degrees in West Virginia
|Masters: School Library Media Specialist||Campus|
Marshall University's Master of Arts in Education
The College of Education and Professional Development offers Master's degrees in education and teaching. Students have the option to emphasize their studies as a School Library Media Specialist. This may also be accomplished by pursuing the standalone certification for the specialist.
Adding the emphasis to the Master of Arts in Education satisfies the education requirement to become a school librarian in the state of West Virginia. This may also be applicable to other states if the student is taking the program in a different location. A teaching license is required prior to entering the program, and the passing of the Praxis II Library Media Specialist exam is also required.
21 total credit hours across seven different courses are required for the School Library Media Specialist emphasis. Subjects include an overview of literature for various age groups, technology, and collection development. There is a library practicum that is required at the conclusion of these courses. Courses are generally limited to a specific semester of availability.
Career Options in Library Media
Around 700 librarian workers and media collection specialists are recognized by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This estimate is significantly lower than the surrounding states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Most of this work is concentrated in the larger cities of Charleston, Huntington, and Morgantown.
Librarian positions may be found at some of the larger academic institutions in the state, including Marshall University and West Virginia University. Job opportunities may also be available within school and public library systems in various locations across the state. Specialized librarian positions may be available in law or health care.
Librarian Requirements in West Virginia
In order to gain some public librarian job opportunities, certain education requirements must be met. Staff members are required to complete at least three credit hours of continuing education. This jumps to eight credit hours for library directors. Graduate degrees are often required for positions with director or management duties.
For school librarianship, at least a Bachelor’s degree is needed along with a teaching license. A score of 138 is the minimum to pass the Praxis II Library Media Specialist exam. In addition, the exam on Principles of Learning and Teaching is required. Distribution of the licensure is through the West Virginia Department of Education.
West Virginia Library Association
Headquartered in Parkersburg, the West Virginia Library Association (WVLA) was established in 1914 with a goal to grow and improve library services. Memberships offer advocacy opportunities and recognition for accomplishments in the field. Examples of awards given out include the Dora Ruth Parks Award for long-term accomplishment in the library field and the Frederic J. Glazer Library Innovation Award.
Salary Estimates in West Virginia
According to the BLS, the statewide salary estimates are at $40,930 annually. This is on the lower end of the spectrum when compared to other states in the country, but accounts for many rural locations. Most work concentrated in metropolitan areas see a higher salary estimate.
Charleston specifically offers the highest salary averages with $58,620 annually. This can jump to over $82,650 annual for the top 10 percent of earners. Higher pay is generally for director roles and positions that require accredited graduate education.
Options for campus based learning
Marshall University is in Huntington, West Virginia. The population is 49,138, yet the city has a small-town atmosphere.
Careers, Top Employers, Salary Information
Recent job postings for Library Science degree holders in West Virginia
- Librarian 2 – Library Commission – Kanawha Co. for the State of West Virginia – salary ranges from $32,722 to $60,535 per year
- Adult Services Assistant Librarian for Parkersburg & Wood County Public Library – salary ranges from $18 to $22 per hour
- Library Clerk for Glendale Elementary School District -No. 40 for AmeriCorps – no salary listed
- High Rocks Pocahontas County Free Library Partnership 18-19 – no salary listed
- Director of Library Services for West Virginia Northern Community College – no salary listed
- Part-Time Library Assistant (Barboursville Branch) for Cabell County Public Library – salary $9 per hour