Degrees in Library and Information Science

Combining library and information sciences into one degree program is becoming increasingly more common. While there are still differences in the two fields, those differences are shrinking with the increased use of technology in research methods.

The field of library and information science pertains to cataloging and analyzing information and research trends in both a library and corporate setting. This degree differs from computer science and information systems programs found in business schools, in that it is less about software design and computer coding and instead places more emphasis on information about an existing topic and the ability to make it more available. Below are a few course descriptions that are commonly offered in an ALA accredited library and information science program.

  • Data Curator – This course would teach students to maintain research procedures and analyze long-term data. Preserving data for future retrieval is an integral part of this class.
  • Socio-Technical Data Analytics – Students who take this or a similar course will be informed of the strengths and weaknesses within data analysis. They will be able to more accurately address issues after having been provided with a theoretical and practical base-knowledge of this topic.
  • Computer-Based Information Tools – Since this is a type of beginning course, it may also be referred to as a “101” class and involves providing students with fundamental knowledge that they can build upon as they continue their academic and professional career. This foundation includes introducing and improving computer-based research and management skills.

Degree Requirements

The library and information science degree can be pursued at a bachelor, master, and doctorate level. However, most libraries within the United States and Canada require at least a master’s for most librarian positions. The curriculum can vary widely as both practical and theoretical components are included, often along with a practicum or internship.

Course work may entail traditional library topics, such as reference work, cataloging, or archiving, in addition to information science topics such as database and website design, as well as information architecture. Management and pedagogy classes may be required for completion of the degree, which can take 2 to 4 years depending on the level of study.

Library and Information Science Degrees