Online MLS / career prospects with MLS

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by lisdol, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. lisdol

    lisdol New Member


    I have finally figured it out (and don't know what took so long). I want to work on a career in library and information science. I have always loved working in libraries as a peon; I enjoy spending my free time in libraries. Yes, I am a nerd ;) with glasses and my hair up.

    I am looking at the various online ALA accredited MLS./MSLS/MSLIS programs. I know ALA accreditation is important. If you have had any personal experience with any of the programs, I would be interested to hear your opinion.

    I am most interested in any information anyone has on the utility of a MLS degree. My goal is to work as a librarian, preferably in the university setting, though one cannot always get exactly what one wants. I know the career field is not a hot one as far as job growth. I hear the skills obtained in an MLS program can be creatively applied to other job situations.

    Any insights into the career field beyond what I can read at the BLS or ALA websites would be much appreciated.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2009
  2. bazonkers

    bazonkers New Member

    The program at San Jose State University has a group on

    You might have to join the group to read the messages. There are lots of conversations about specific classes, etc. It's a good read if you want an under the hood look at an MLIS program.

    I have read and heard that it's advantageous to have a subject masters degree as well as your MLS degree if you want to work in an academic library.
  3. lisdol

    lisdol New Member

    Thanks for the tip on the yahoo group. I will have to check it out.
  4. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    My sister did her MS in Library Science online through Clarion while working as a library tech at a large public university. She got a decent amount of interviews and was picked up for a very good tenure track job at another public university within nine months of graduation. She was also in a position to turn down jobs at schools which she didn't perceive to be a good fit. This was just a few months ago.

    What I have gleaned from her is that ALA is a must and a second graduate degree is a plus but not a requirement.
  5. lisdol

    lisdol New Member

    Clarion is on the top of my list. Tuition is reasonable, even out of state, for distance. I was born in PA and have some family there so the state holds a special place in my heart anyway.

    Do you know if she did the specialized academic library program?

    Any idea if the second Masters was preferred to be in liberal arts or sciences, as opposed to something like Management/Human Services/etc...? And how important was it?

    I had been thinking of getting a MS in Family Studies from Amberton until I had my epiphany about the MLS and discovered there were plenty of online options for obtaining it.

    My budget allows for only one MS at this time, but I have no problem going back later if I can take advantage of tuition remission programs.

    I am also trying to wait patiently to see what transferability the new post 911 GI Bill will have. August 2009 is the target date for answers. My husband is active duty with 14 years in and plans on using his TA to pay for school, so he is more than willing to let me use his GI Bill education benefit if I can.
  6. Orville_third

    Orville_third New Member

    I assume you already have a Bachelor's, which means you're ahead of me. (I'm hoping to become a librarian, but I'm still working on my Bachelor's.)

    The University of South Carolina does have some Distance Learning courses for their MLS program. However, they may not have it in your area.
    You can find out more at:

    In case you aren't, or in case someone else wants to be a librarian, and wants to get a leg up on it before trying for a Master's, I do have two possible sources. Central Carolina Community College offers a program for an Associate's degree or various Technician certifications in Library and Information technology. (Unfortunately, the fees are rather high for non-North Carolinians.)
    You can view their website here:

    The place I'm taking my courses is the US Department of Agriculture Graduate School. (Yes, it is really run by the USDA. It was originally started to train farmers, and has evolved into a training school for Government employees and others. No, it's not a traditional "graduate school", and it's not accredited, though its courses have been evaluated for college credit by the ACE.) They don't have enough courses to get a full Library Technician rating, but they can give you a bit of a head start.
    Find out more at:

    I'll have to keep checking back on this. I'd love working in a library, and I wear glasses as well, though, since I'm male, my hair isn't up. ;)
  7. Orville_third

    Orville_third New Member

    One other note. Have you considered working in a corporate library? While I'd personally prefer working with the public or with children, a corporate library does have a more restrained clientele. You still get to handle interesting requests for information, though the requests you handle depend on the company you work for. (I recently was privileged to visit a library at Walt Disney World. It was fascinating.)
  8. Orville_third

    Orville_third New Member

    I keep finding new things to add in. In regards to the utility of an MLS degree, an ALA-approved MLS is required to work as a Librarian in most libraries, be they public school (private ones may have some leeway), community (except perhaps in small towns), college, or corporate.
  9. lisdol

    lisdol New Member

    You know, I prefer the university environment over for profit, but with a husband in the military, and my having no choice over location, I would be thankful for any library job I could get.

    He will be retiring in anywhere from 6 to 16 years and the only way I would have control over the living location once he retires is if I were to have the higher salary or better benefits. Considering we have 4 kids ages 1 to 10, a job with a university that offers tuition benefits to dependents could be a trump card.
  10. Orville_third

    Orville_third New Member

    Well, you may want to try for a general Master's Degree in Library Science, if you can, since you don't know which field you'll end up in. Failing that, you can study a specific field, and later obtain further study in other areas.

    Once you plan to head for an area you'll be settling in, go through a library directory (or directories), which lists the school libraries (or perhaps the districts), the colleges (some of which have more than one library per se), the public libraries (some of which have special collections which are separate "libraries"), and special libraries (a few have more than one library as well).

    In addition, if you're in the Armed Forces, each base has at least one library, while some have more than one, depending on the needs of the units there. (Though you may not personally wish to work there, which I understand.)
  11. lisdol

    lisdol New Member

    LOL. We live 40 min from base and I have asked my husband often if he minds the commute, since we could have lived on base - housing, though small, was available, and he would have had a 10 minute commute.

    He assures me he is no happier than when he walks in the door at home, many miles from work.

    Base libraries in my experience are not that bad though. Small, for sure, but generally patroned by families, young airmen (soldiers, sailors, etc...) studying for advancement or college, and people who have just moved to the area and do not have internet or their computer yet.
  12. -kevin-

    -kevin- Resident Redneck


    check into spouse preference for hiring as you make the rotational scene. Good luck on the degree, if you need additional programs to review let us know. There are several good ones available.

    Thank your husband for his service for me.

    Best wishes
  13. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    She did the rural/small library option. I got the impression that the current crop of specializations is something that was added after she started her program. As far as the second masters, she does not have one and there were definitely some jobs that it excluded her from. However, not having a second master's degree didn't prevent her from either getting invited to campuses for interviews or being offered jobs. Note - She does have multiple bachelor's degrees in fields that are realtively unrelated to the job she ended up taking.
  14. lisdol

    lisdol New Member

    Thanks airtorn for the info.

    The different specializations are interesting but it adds a dimension to the decision process.

    Alas, I have only one Bachelor's degree , but I will make do somehow!

    Kevin - I will tell him.

    One of my criteria for choosing a program, besides being ALA accredited and 100% online, is the cost. Clarion looks to be one of the most affordable ones. I believe total tuition is just under $16K. I technically have only $10K set aside for a Masters degree but I think I can swing it.
  15. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    North Texas University offers Master of Science in Library Science
  16. mknehr

    mknehr New Member


    Lisdol, could you list the other on-line MLS programs you have found??
  17. lawrenceq

    lawrenceq Member

    My mother-in-law a librarian and loves it. My work-study job at my first college was in a library, and I hated it. The best part was working with the ladies. Hell, the job wasn't that bad, I just felt like I was always missing something by being at work.
  18. bazonkers

    bazonkers New Member

    Here is the list of ALA accredited programs (including those pending) from their website. NOT ALL of these have online programs but you should be able to figure that out by checking out the school site.

    I know two schools that haven't been mentioned yet that have online programs. They are Syracuse and the University of Washington.

    Alabama, University of

    Albany, State University of New York

    Alberta, University of

    Arizona, University of

    British Columbia, University of

    Buffalo, State University of New York (Conditional)

    California - Los Angeles, University of

    Catholic University of America (Conditional)

    Clarion University of Pennsylvania

    Dalhousie University

    Denver, University of

    Dominican University

    Drexel University

    Emporia State University

    Florida State University

    Hawaii, University of

    Illinois, University of

    Indiana University

    Iowa, University of

    Kent State University

    Kentucky, University of

    Long Island University

    Louisiana State University

    McGill University

    Maryland, University of

    Michigan, University of

    Missouri-Columbia, University of

    Montreal, University of

    North Carolina - Chapel Hill, University of

    North Carolina - Greensboro, University of (Conditional)

    North Carolina Central University

    North Texas, University of

    Oklahoma, University of

    Pittsburgh, University of

    Pratt Institute

    Puerto Rico, University of

    Queens College, City University of New York

    Rhode Island, University of (Conditional)

    Rutgers University

    St. John's University

    San Jose State University

    Simmons College

    South Carolina, University of

    South Florida, University of

    Southern Connecticut State University

    Southern Mississippi, University of

    Syracuse University

    Tennessee, University of

    Texas - Austin, University of

    Texas Woman's University (Conditional)

    Toronto, University of

    Valdosta State University

    Washington, University of

    Wayne State University

    Western Ontario, University of

    Wisconsin - Madison, University of

    Wisconsin - Milwaukee, University of
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2009
  19. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    Here is the list of 100% online programs from the ALA site:

    1. Clarion University of Pennsylvania
    2. Drexel University
    3. Florida State University
    4. North Carolina Central University
    5. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
    6. San Jose State University
    7. Southern Connecticut State University
    8. Texas Woman's University (Conditional)
    9. University of Alabama
    10. University of Puerto Rico
    11. University of Southern Mississippi
    12. University of Tennessee
    13. University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
    14. Wayne State University

    This list is the primarily online with some face-to-face courses required and is referenced from the ALA site:

    1. Southern Connecticut State University
    2. Syracuse University
    3. University of Alabama
    4. University of Arizona
    5. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    6. University of Kentucky
    7. University of Missouri
    8. University of North Texas
    9. University of Pittsburgh
    10. University of South Carolina
    11. University of South Florida
    12. University of Washington
    13. University of Wisconsin - Madison
    14. Valdosta State University
  20. lisdol

    lisdol New Member

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