For Answers to Your Questions
Michael Whitchurch is the resident consultant on MLS programs and how to go about obtaining an internship. Though there are many good questions answered in the FAQ’s below, the best way to learn about the Masters of Library Science degree is to visit Michael at his office. His contact information is listed below:
Virtual Services Librarian
2226 Harold B. Lee Library
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of online-degree MLS programs?
A: The most important aspect of any program is whether the program is ALA accredited. Other than accreditation, most programs outside top ten library schools are viewed similarly. The convenience of on-line programs has led to increased enrollment, but ultimately each MLS candidate must find the program that works best for them. To learn more about program varieties visit the “MLS Programs” link to the left.
Q: What does ALA accredited mean?
A: “The American Library Association (ALA) accredits master’s programs in library and information studies across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. There are 62 ALA-accredited master’s programs and 3 programs seeking initial accreditation. Accreditation is achieved through a review process conducted by an external review panel of practitioners and academics that verifies that the program meets the Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies.
Graduating from an ALA-accredited program provides flexibility in the types of libraries and jobs you can apply for and enhances career mobility. Most employers require an ALA-accredited master’s degree for most professional level positions, and some states require an ALA-accredited degree to work as a professional librarian in public or school libraries (ALA.org).”
Q: How much does a typical MLS program cost?
A: Most programs charge per credit hour. Many programs require 36 credit hours to graduate and charge $400-$600 per credit hour.
Q: What is the typical salary of an MLS degree holder?
A: “According to the latest Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for librarians working in all types of libraries in May 2015 was $56,880.
“The Harold B. Lee Library is an academic research library. The following figures represent Association of Research Libraries (ARL) member libraries (including BYU) for the academic year 2014-2015.
- $71,589 – Median salary for all professional librarians
- $73,300 – Median salary for all HBLL professional librarians
- $48,000 – Median salary for beginning professional librarians
- $56,400 – Base salary for HBLL beginning professional librarians”
Q: Which program should I enroll in and do CCLA libraries have a preference?
A: Deciding on a program should be a personal decision. Most libraries do not make hiring decisions based on school choice, as long as the school is accredited.
Q: Does it matter what my Bachelors degree is in if I’m going to get an MLS degree?
A: One great thing about getting an MLS degree is that the undergraduate field of study does not matter. Students with undergraduate and advanced degrees in hard sciences may be more competitive in several library emphases.
Q: What is the current job market for librarians?
A: Employment in Libraries is expected to grow at rate of 2% from 2014 to 2024. 58% of librarians in the U.S. are projected to reach the retirement age of 65 by 2016.
Q: What kind of jobs do MLS degree holders get?
A: Librarians seek jobs in three main fields: University Libraries, Public or School Libraries, and Business (knowledge management). To see the different departments of an academic library click here.
Public Libraries offer specialties in children’s books, young adult and adult material, media, cataloging, subject librarians, etc.
Business fields are one of the fastest growing areas for MLS degree holders and are also one of the highest paid fields for librarians. Professionals in this field compile and organize a company’s information to make it accessible to more employees and reduce duplication.
Q: When do MLS programs typically start?
A: Most programs have two semesters, fall and winter. There are certain programs that run on trimesters and allow students to participate year-round. Most programs typically have application deadlines 4-5 months before the beginning of the semester.
Q: Which programs are closest to Utah?
A: Emporia State and University of North Texas both have programs that hold seminars and classes in Utah. These programs offer on-line classes mixed with face-to-face interaction of students. Online programs also allow Utah residents to complete the MLS requirements with minimal travel.
Q: What is the BYU HBLL Internship Program?
A: The HBLL intern program is a great way to be mentored by current library professionals and get real work experience in BYU’s library. This program allows students to be hired on as student interns for 120 hours. The position is paid and the hours are very flexible. Students are not required to finish all 120 hours and usually get to pick the department in which they would like to intern. We recommend that all students interested in earning an MLS degree participate to learn more about libraries and specific rolls academic librarians fulfill.