10 Cheapest Online Library Science Degree Programs and Schools

The cheapest online Library Science degree programs focus on the 10 Cheapest Online Library Science Degree Programs and Schools. A library is an incredible place that brings knowledge to people of all ages. So it’s no wonder that many working professionals want to earn an accelerated online Master in Library and Information Science degree.

Librarians, archivists, curators, library technicians, and library assistants are always looking for ways to advance their understanding of their field. And now that information science is becoming important in all fields, there has never been a better time for these information professionals to begin searching for appropriate graduate school and graduate degrees.

Often, Librarians don’t have the time or resources to return to school full-time, requiring access to flexible and affordable degree options. More importantly, many prefer to take on an accelerated degree and complete it in two years or less. These fast online master’s degree programs cut down on study time and also help students achieve their career goals more quickly. And the popularity of these library science degrees has led to the rise of more online programs that meet this need.

Methodology: How We Rank the Most Affordable Online Library Science Degree

This ranking required research using the National Center for Education Statistics. First, we identified an initial pool of schools with a Master’s in Library Science online. After identifying the schools, we compared them based on a list of factors, including accelerated track options, online program offerings, and total graduate program tuition. Then, we chose the following programs with the final ten schools based on the library science degree cost using in-state graduate tuition rates.


10. Sam Houston State University

library of science degree online

Sam Houston State University confers an accelerated online Master in Library Science that prepares a professional to become a PK-12 school librarian. This 100 percent online course of study does not require campus residencies.

Students who already have a master’s degree and a valid teaching certificate can also opt for the School Librarian Certification, which is online and is just 24 credit hours long. Courses for this master’s in library science degree are asynchronously and synchronously through the school’s virtual portal. And sessions are in the traditional 16-week term format. Full-time students who take three library science courses a term and choose to study during the summer term can complete this degree in less than two years.

Students must complete a required internship but can work in their community of residence. Other requirements include 36 credit hours of coursework and a portfolio assessment. Sample courses include Digital Technology for the School Librarian, Information Services and Resources, and also School Library Administration.

Degree: Online Master of Library Science (MLS degree)

Institutional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)

Credits: 36

More Information: Click here for more on this library science online program!


9. The University of North Texas

Students who want an affordable accelerated Master’s in Library Science online will find a great choice at the University of North Texas. This program ranks nationally and has accreditation from the American Library Association.

The Master of Science in Library Science is available as a hybrid program for working adults and non traditional students. There is a six-day campus residency requirement. All other coursework is offered online through both asynchronous and synchronous delivery options. Terms are 16 weeks long, meaning that full-time students can complete this degree in 18 months. Additionally, students can choose from seven concentrations.

  • General Studies
  • Archival Studies and Imaging Technology
  • Law Librarianship and Legal Informatics
  • Information Organization
  • Youth Librarianship
  • Music Librarianship
  • School Library Certification

Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Each student also prepares an e-portfolio. Additionally, students complete a required six-month paid professional experience or a 120-hour internship.

Sample courses include Information Access and Knowledge Inquiry, Management of Information Agencies, and also Information Resources Development. Graduates can apply for a librarian certification in texas.

Degree: Online Master of Science in Library Science

Institutional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)

Credits: 36

More Information: Click here for more on this Library Science master’s degree!


8. Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University confers an accelerated online Master in Library and Information Science that takes just two years for full-time students. This master’s in library science online degree comes with eight concentrations, including Adult Services in Public Libraries, Academic Librarianship, and Cultural Heritage Resource Management.

This program is 100 percent online with no residency requirements. Courses are asynchronously and synchronously through the school’s virtual portal and in 16-week sessions. Additionally, the degree has a strong focus on the assessment and categorization of information in libraries; specializations work more in-depth in this focus and may provide the basis for doctoral study.

Students can expect to complete 36 credits of coursework, a culminating capstone project, a seminar, and also a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Information Needs and Information Seeking, Information Technologies and Systems, and Management of Information Organizations.

Degree: Online Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS degree)

Institutional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)

Credits: 36 (non thesis degree program)

More Information: Click here for more on this Library and Information Science master’s degree!


7. Texas Woman’s University

For students interested in affordable online master’s degrees, Texas Woman’s University offers eight tracks in library and information science. Furthermore, the school has multiple master’s in library science degrees students can earn.

  • Master of Library Science Degree (MLS)
  • Master of Library Science (MLS) with School Librarian Certification Focus
  • Master of Arts in Library Science Degree (MA in Library Science)
  • Dual MLS / MS Health Studies Degree
  • School Librarian Certification Options
  • Graduate Certificate in School Librarianship
  • Graduate Certificate in Evidence-Based Health Science Librarianship

This program prepares graduates to work in different information environments. Students can choose multiple program tracks.

  • Public Libraries 
  • School Libraries
  • Academic Libraries
  • Health Science Libraries
  • Information Technology
  • Special Libraries in law firms and corporations
  • Technical Services and Cataloging
  • Community Informatics

Along with the capstone project, students also complete 36 credits of coursework. Sample courses include Foundations of Library and Information Studies, Information and Communication, and also Research in Learning Design and Technology.

The Master of Library Science degree program at Texas Woman’s University has accreditation from the ALA Committee on Accreditation. Additionally, its status is Continued Accreditation with the next review scheduled for 2025.

Degree: Online Master of Library Science (MLS)

Credits: 36

More Information: Click here for more on this online degree library program


6. Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University confers an online Master in Library and Information Science degree. This program prepares students for careers in technology-based library and information science roles.

Furthermore, this master’s in library science online has three paths of study. Students can take a general track, School Librarian Concentration, and also a School Librarian path for Initial Licensure in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Courses are 100 percent online through an asynchronous format. And sessions run 16 weeks long with summer sessions also available. This degree requires a minimum of 30 credits. So, students take 12 credits of Core Courses, 9 credits of Area of Concentration, 6 credits of Electives, and 3 credits for a 160-hour Internship. Additionally, elective classes count toward five pathways that offer focus areas for librarian careers.

  • Academic Libraries
  • Public Libraries
  • Youth Services
  • Evaluation & Assessment
  • Instructional Librarianship

Additionally, the Master of Library and Information Studies Program at Old Dominion University has accreditation from the American Library Association Committee on Accreditation. The program has the status of Initial Accreditation with the next comprehensive review scheduled for Fall 2028.

Degree: Online Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS degree)

School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)

Credits: 30

More Information: Click here for more on this Library and Information Science degree program!


5. The University of Alabama

Top 10 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's

Students at the UA can take an accelerated online Master in Library and Information Science degree for working professionals. Furthermore, this degree has accreditation from the American Library Association (ALA).

Online students will find that this is a unique course of study. All candidates must complete an on-campus orientation prior to beginning their coursework. Orientation familiarizes students with how online education works as well as introduces them to the resources available to them during their time at the university.

This is a low-residency cohort program. Online students study together in synchronous sessions, usually once a week during the evenings, and in 16-week sessions. The school does not provide any information about the actual curriculum or program requirements. So, interested students should contact a graduate admissions advisor to learn more about this particular program.

Degree: Online Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS)

School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)

Credits: 36

More Information: Website


4. Texas A&M University at Commerce

Texas A&M University at Commerce offers an accelerated master’s in Library Science online. Additionally, this program prepares teachers and educators to be school librarians in the state of Texas.

A stand-alone School Librarian Certification program is also available online. For this reason, only students from the state or who will be moving to the state after graduation should apply. This degree is 100 percent online. And it also features asynchronous and synchronous courses in the traditional 16-week format. An ambitious student who takes on a full course load each term and takes advantage of the summer term can complete the requirements in less than 18 months.

Additionally, students must take a required practicum for this degree and it must take place in the state under the supervision of a preceptor. Other degree requirements include 36 credits of coursework and also a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Implementing Media Technology Programs, Administration of the School Library, and also Books and Related Materials for Children and Young Adults.

Degree: Online Master’s in Educational Technology Library Science

Credits: 36

More Information: Website


3. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Students interested in an accelerated online Master’s in Library and Information Science should look to UNC Greensboro. This degree can lead to state licensure and also has full accreditation from the American Library Association. Students will find that this degree offers a variety of options for specializations, certifications, and also licensure. Three tracks include Generalist, School Library Licensure, and also Instructional Technology Licensure.

Additionally, UNC Greensboro students earn an optional certification in School Library Supervision. However, to earn licensure in the state, they must complete this program’s practicum within North Carolina. This degree is 100 percent online so there is no required campus residency. Courses are asynchronously and synchronously in 16-week sessions. But, the summer sessions may vary in length.

It is possible for a student to complete all the requirements for this degree within two years of full-time study. However, part-time students have up to six years to meet the graduation requirements. This degree requires 36 credits of coursework, a practicum, a capstone, and also a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include School Library Administration, Educating Children with Exceptional Learning Needs, and also Technology for the Schools.

Degree: Online Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)

School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)

Credits: 36

More Information: Website


2. East Carolina University

Top 10 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Information and Library Science Online for 2018

East Carolina University offers an affordable master’s in Library Science online. Most students complete this program in two years. ECU’s program has full accreditation from the American Library Association (ALA). It also has national recognition from the American Association of School Librarians for the ALA. Furthermore, the program’s licensure has accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Students can earn both the NC Public Librarian Certification and the School Librarianship licensure. However, it requires more coursework for licensure. The program offers concentrations in the Academic Library, Public Library, and also School Library Media. This 100 percent online program delivers asynchronous and synchronous courses in 16-week sessions; students who study full-time and during the summer can complete the degree in two years.

This degree requires a minimum of 39 credits of coursework, an internship or practicum for students seeking licensure, a capstone seminar, and also a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Library Administration and Management, Library Instruction Foundations of the School Library Media Program, and Materials for Young Adults.

Degree: Online Master of Library Science (MLS)

School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)

Credits: 39

More Information: Click here for more on this affordable online master’s in Library and Information Science degree program



1. Appalachian State University

Top 10 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Information and Library Science Online for 2018

Appalachian State University confers an accelerated master’s in Library Science online that serves as a gateway for students to become Public Librarians or Media Coordinators; both are possible with graduation from this program.

This program has national recognition from the American Association of School Librarians and has full accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation. The program is 100 percent online through asynchronous and synchronous courses in 16-week sessions. Students will find that with full-time study they can complete the degree requirements in two years.

Additionally, students who earn licensure must complete an internship in their community. Students complete 36 credits of coursework, a research project, an internship, and also a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Organization of Information, Integrating Literature and Media Into Instruction, and Critical Issues in Literature and Media.

Degree: Online Master of Library Science (MLS) program and option for a dual program with a Master of Arts in Education Media

School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)

Credits: 36

More Information: Click here for more on this master’s in Library Science!



10 Cheapest Online Library Science Degree Programs 02
Can I get a Library and Information Science degree online?

What is Information and Library Science?

Libraries document the history and knowledge of civilization and house collections of information. It may include books, magazines, records, photographs, and audiovisual materials. The origins of the library date back to 2600 BC in Mesopotamia, with collections of clay tablets.

Library Science is an interdisciplinary academic field of specialized study. It focuses on how to record, classify, preserve, and store information in both analog and digital formats. Therefore, most public and private librarians need an affordable online master’s degree in library and information sciences or a related field.

Why Get a Degree in Library Science?

One of these affordable online master’s offers many benefits. Graduate students in library information science learn specialized skills and knowledge that help students advance their careers and increase their salary potential. Individuals take classes in research methods and library services.

Additionally, getting a librarian degree online is often cheaper than in traditional programs. The cost of masters in library science online can be much less than an on-campus program.

What are the Various Disciplines of Information and Library Science?

Information and library science focuses first and foremost on information in all its various forms. Education, literature, psychology, and computer science play a role in the field.

The field is also evolving with technological advancements, so web programming and technology inform the direction in which information and library science are heading. Other disciplines include management, organization, history, and information science.

The job duties of a librarian or media specialist vary based on where they work. But regardless of location, they often teach others how to find and use library resources. Librarians also need practical skills in reading, information literacy, organization, and communication.

What are the Admissions Requirements for a Library Science Program?

10 Cheapest Online Library Science Degree Programs 03

Students interested in pursuing an affordable online master’s in library science online should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher. Some programs require prospective students to have a teaching certification or an undergraduate degree in teaching or education. However, many students have undergraduate degrees in political science, psychology, or English.

There may be some prerequisite courses students need to take but this will vary by program. Furthermore, a dual master’s program or a second master’s degree program may have different requirements.

In addition, aspiring librarians also need a completed application with the fee. They may need some or all of the below admission requirements. 

  • 2-3 letters of recommendation
  • resume or CV
  • one or more essays outlining a student’s interest in library science
  • test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Some graduate library science programs waive GRE score requirements if applicants meet the minimum GPA threshold. 

What Do You Learn in a Master’s in Library Science Program?

Students in a library science program learn the skills to identify the community’s needs and also ensure library patrons have equal access to information. The educational requirements vary from school to school. Below are some standard courses that library science students may take in one of these online graduate programs.

  • Developing and Managing Collections
  • Cataloging and Classification
  • Special Collections
  • School Library Leadership
  • Copyright Law
  • Library Materials for Children and Young Adults
  • Community Informatics
  • Information Sources and Service
  • Literature for Young Adults
  • Digital Information Services and Information Searching Strategies
  • Organizing Information and Collection Development
  • Electronic Resources in the Library
  • Information Representation
  • Digital Libraries or Digital Library Collections
  • Information Organization and Access
  • Research Tools and Strategies
  • Library Management

Is Accreditation Important for a Graduate Degree in Information and Library Science?

Yes, accreditation is important at the graduate level. Most employers in America do require professionals to have a graduate education and hold an accredited master’s degree in the field. It is important for professionals pursuing School Librarianship licensure in their state, especially for K-12 public schools, to attend an ALA accredited program.

The other reason professionals may consider an accredited school is these library science online programs have a comprehensive and rigorous review process to ensure that the program meets high standards. And employers prefer students from these library science programs even if those employers do not require programmatic accreditation. It also means that students will have access to certification and licensure options even if they do not choose to pursue them during their course of study.

  • American Library Association (ALA) website
  • the American Association of School Librarians (AASL)
  • Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)

However, some employers will not require accreditation. The only way to ensure this is for a professional to check with employers. Most state and government agencies require accreditation, which limits choices for those who choose not to pursue accredited programs.

What are the Career Options with an Online Master in Information and Library Science?

With an online master’s degree in library science, graduates can work in many settings. These include elementary, middle, and high schools. In addition, librarians work in universities, museums, hospitals, private corporations, and government organizations. Below are some of the librarian positions and job titles for Librarians with an advanced degree.

  • School Librarian or School Media Coordinator
  • Public Librarian
  • Academic Librarian
  • Media Coordinator or Library Media Specialist
  • Archives and Records Manager / Archives Management
  • Genealogist or Genealogy Researcher
  • Adult Services Librarian
  • Young Adult Librarian or Teen Librarian
  • Children’s Services Coordinator or Children’s Librarian
  • Branch Librarian
  • Law Librarian
  • Community College Librarian or University Librarian
  • Archivist or Digital Archivist
  • Information Architect
  • Curator or Digital Curation
  • Curriculum Directors
  • Digital Collections Librarian or Digital Librarian
  • Educational Technology Specialists
  • Government Librarian
  • Information Architect
  • Information Service Specialists
  • Instructional Coaches or Teacher Leaders
  • Library Director or Library Media Administration
  • Metadata Specialist
  • Reference Librarian
  • Social Science Data Librarian
  • Technical Services Specialist
  • Technology Integrationists
  • Training Development Specialists
  • Web And Digital Initiatives Coordinator

What is the Salary Outlook with a Library Science Degree?

How much can you earn with a Library Science degree? According to the May 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) information, the median annual salary for professional librarians is $61,190. Additionally, the salary range is from $37,300 to $97,870. This range takes into account all positions and sectors.

Additionally, there are many factors that affect an individual’s salary potential. Your experience, the employer, and also geographic location can all affect your rate of pay. Below are the sectors in library science that pay the most.

Industry or AreaMedian Salary
Colleges and Universities$62,550
Elementary and secondary schools$61,640
Local government$60,130
Information$50,340
BLS May 2021 median salary or annual wages in the top industries

What is the Job Outlook in Library Science?

The BLS projects jobs for librarians and library media specialists to grow around six percent (6%) from 2021 to 2031. This is about average for all occupations. Over the next decade, there will be over 14,000 job openings each year.

Industry or AreaEmployment
Elementary and secondary schools36%
Local governments30%
Colleges and Universities19%
Information5%
BLS May 2021 top areas for employment

Other Schools and Programs to Consider

We have not included all the accredited online master’s programs. If you did not find the right program, you can also check out other colleges and universities listed next.

Some other schools for a library science master’s include the are North Carolina Central University, University of Kentucky, Kent State University, University of Northern Iowa, Emporia State University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern Mississippi, Western Kentucky University, Northeastern State University, University of Central Missouri, Middle Tennessee State University, Valdosta State University, University of South Carolina Columbia, San Jose State University, University of Houston Clear Lake, Purdue University, and the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

Your Career in Library Science

Filled with knowledge about every part of life on Earth, Libraries are a great resource everyone can use. The professionals who choose to work in the field deserve only the best education possible. With an accelerated online Master’s in Information and Library Science in hand, you can accomplish your educational goals easily.


Related: