Have you ever considered getting a graduate certificate in library science? A graduate certificate is documented proof that you have completed coursework in a specific subject area within the larger discipline of library and information science. Graduate certificates may enhance your employment opportunities and confer professional credentials, showing other professionals that you are an “expert” in that area.
Library and information science graduate certificates are designed for students who have already graduated with either a Bachelor of Library Science, a Master of Library Science or Master of Library and Information Science degree, and want to demonstrate that they have superior knowledge in a certain area. If you get a graduate certificate in library and information science, you could open up new job opportunities, chances for advancement, and show the world that you really know your stuff. You may become eligible for more managerial and leadership positions. Many students also use a graduate certificate in library and information science as a stepping stone towards getting a Master of Library Science or Doctor of Library Science degree.
Are Graduate Certificates in Library Science Accredited?
The best Master of Library Science (MLS) and Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree programs are accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Graduate certificates in library and information science are not typically ALA-accredited, but usually come from a school whose MLS/MLIS degrees have received ALA accreditation. This confers a greater sense of quality to the graduate certificate program.
Why Would I Choose a Graduate Certificate over an MLS Program?
If you are considering graduate studies in library and information science, you might wonder why you would choose a graduate certificate over an MLS or MLIS program. There are many reasons that students opt for graduate certificates. One is the cost. While they may both take about the same time to complete, a graduate certificate typically costs far less than a master’s degree program. Another advantage of a graduate certificate over a MLS program is that it can give you a taste of a specialized concentration in library and information science and help you to decide if an advanced degree, like an MLS or a Doctor of Library Science, is right for you.
Finding a Graduate Certificate in Library Science Program
Using the ALA’s searchable directory, you can search for graduate certificates in library and information science in certain states and within specific concentrations. Some graduate certificates are offered completely online, some are offered on-campus, and others are offered in a hybrid fashion, mixing on-campus and online classes. Check out the ALA’s searchable directory to find the perfect graduate certificate in library and information science for you.
In What Areas are Graduate Certificates in Library Science Available?
Graduate certificates in library and information science are available in a wide variety of areas and topics. There are far too many to list here, but some of the most commonly seen graduate certificates in library and information science are:
- Graduate Certificate in Archives and Special Collections
- Graduate Certificate in Youth Services and Literature
- Graduate Certificate in Cultural Heritage Resources and Services
- Graduate Certificate of Advanced Study in Library and Information Science
- Graduate Certificate in Records Management
- Graduate Certificate in Rare Books and Special Collections
- Graduate Certificate in Archival Administration
- Graduate Certificate of Advanced Studies in Digital Libraries
- Graduate Certificate in Digital Curation
- Graduate Certificate of Advanced Studies in School Library Media
- Graduate Certificate of Advanced Studies in Information Systems & Telecommunications
- Post-Master’s Certificate of Specialization in Informatics
Some library and information science programs also allow students to design their own Graduate Certificates of Advanced Study in areas of particular interest.
What Can a Graduate Certificate in Library Science Do for Me?
Graduate certificates in library and information science can be at the post-master’s level, meaning that you need a master’s degree to be admitted, or at the post-bachelor’s level, meaning that you must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to enroll in the program.
Getting a graduate certificate in library and information science can help to increase your salary, make you eligible for more advanced and varied career positions in library and information science, give you a wider professional network, and help you to prepare for an MLS, MLIS, or Doctor in Library Science degree.
Career options that may be available to you after you get a specialized graduate certificate in library and information science may be possible within:
- Academic libraries
- Law libraries
- Music libraries
- Library media centers
- Public libraries
- Museum libraries
- Digital libraries
- Archival positions
- Managerial or director positions in libraries
Library Science Admission Requirements to Graduate Certificate Programs
Before you may enroll in a graduate certificate program in library and information science, you must meet certain requirements to determine that you are eligible. These differ from one school to the next, but usually include:
- Possessing at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- Having a 3.0 GPA in your bachelor’s degree program
- Meeting technology requirements if you are seeking an online graduate certificate program in library science
- Submitting an application and application fee
- Submitting a personal statement of why you want to get a graduate certificate, reflecting on your educational background and experience in the field
- Submitting an updated resume/curriculum vitae
- Official transcripts from all other academic institutions attended must be sent directly to the school hosting the graduate certificate program
- Might need to pass the Graduate Record Exam, or GRE (this is highly variable from one school to the next)
How Long Will It Take to Complete a Graduate Certificate in Library Science?
Most graduate certificates in library and information science can be completed in one to two years of full- or part-time study. Whether you attend full– or part-time is highly dependent upon your other commitments, such as family and work. This is true of both on-campus and online graduate certificate programs in library and information science.
Organizations for Graduate Students in Library Science
If you are interested in a graduate certificate in library and information science, you should also know about the following specialized library and information science organizations that can help you to gain more professional experience and continuing education. They are also great for networking with like-minded professionals.
- American Library Association (ALA)
- Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T)
- American Alliance of Museums
- Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)
- Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA)
- Music Library Association (MLA)
- American Association of Law Libraries (AALL)
- Society of American Archivists (SAA)