A Bachelor of Library science degree is an undergraduate degree that can be your foray into a career in library science. Many U.S. libraries now require that librarians hold a Master of Library Science degree from a program that has received accreditation by the American Library Association (ALA). However, getting a bachelor’s degree in the field is a good place to start when you plan to embark upon a library career.
As all schools do not offer a Bachelor of Library Science degree, alternatives that many who wish to become librarians may pursue include, but are not limited to:
- Bachelor of Library Science
- Bachelor of Library and Information Science
- Bachelor of Science in Information and Library Science
- Bachelor of Science in Library Science
- Bachelor of Science in Information Science
- Bachelor of Science in Information Management
- Bachelor of Science in Digital Media
- Bachelor of Science in Library Informatics
- Bachelor of Science in Information Systems
- Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies
Many career options in library science are attainable with a Bachelor of Library Science (or related) degree. They include public librarian positions at smaller libraries, support positions at public and school libraries, data curators, youth services librarian, academic and research librarian, information services librarian, archivist, and digital collections librarian.
Accredited Bachelor of Library Science Programs
Above all else, when you are choosing a Bachelor of Library Science program, make sure that the institution that houses it is regionally or nationally accredited. Accreditation indicates that at least one peer evaluation agency has reviewed the educational programs of a college or university to assess their quality. The U.S. Department of Education maintains a national Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (USDOE) listing all programs across the country that hold accreditation by an organization recognized by the USDOE. When you choose an accredited college or university, you can be assured of a higher likelihood of admission and credit transfer to other institutions, a quality education, and that your degree will hold credibility with future employers.
Major nationally recognized accreditation agencies include:
- Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC)
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
- New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
- Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)
- Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools (AARTS)
- Association of Theological Schools, The Commission on Accrediting (ATS)
- Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)
- Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC)
Programmatic accreditation only applies when you are looking at graduate degree programs in library science. The ALA only accredits library science degree programs at the master’s level. The ALA does, however, maintain a database of recommended library degree programs offered nationwide at the certificate, associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels, which may be accessed here.
How We Chose the Top 35 Bachelor of Library Science Programs
The following Bachelor of Library Science programs were all chosen based upon various factors. All of them are accredited by one of the above-mentioned accreditation agencies. Furthermore, we looked at factors such as:
Affordability of Undergraduate Programs
The Bachelor of Library Science programs found below are all relatively affordable. This becomes even more important due to the fact that many aspiring librarians will use the Bachelor of Library Science degree as a stepping stone to the ALA-accredited Master of Library Science degree. As degree costs can quickly add up, saving money where you can is vital.
Accepted by Graduate Programs
The Bachelor of Library Science degree programs listed below have all traditionally been accepted by schools with Master of Library Science degree programs. Again, this is important as many students will first get their bachelor’s degree in library science, then apply to an ALA-accredited Master of Library Science program. Students graduating from these schools have high acceptance rates into MLS programs.
Flexibility of Undergraduate Programs
In today’s world, flexibility in education options is a must. The bachelor’s degree programs listed here are a mixture of on-campus, online, and hybrid programs. Some of them offer rolling admissions dates or year-round enrollment. These programs are all designed to fit a variety of lifestyles and types of students, from traditional to returning to career changers. In this way, students with other commitments, such as work and families, can still find time for their educational aspirations.
As you browse through the Bachelor of Library Science degree programs listed below, you will notice that there are not programs from each of the 50 states, and that some states feature more than one quality program. The degree programs that are listed, however, have been examined and assessed to contain some of the highest quality, most well-recognized and most highly respected undergraduate library science degree programs in the nation. Here, in alphabetical order by state, are the Top 35 Bachelor of Library Science Degree programs.
Top 35 Bachelor of Library Science Degree Programs
The BA in Digital Media Literacy program at ASU is offered in both online and in-person formats. It provides the perfect foundation for students who wish to pursue future graduate study in a Master of Library and Information Science program, as well as for those who wish to enter the field right away in an entry-level position.
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
The Bachelor of Arts in Information Science and Arts at the University of Arizona teaches students how to manage and organize large amounts of data. This degree is applicable to a variety of positions in libraries, education, and research. It also acts as a great stepping stone to a Master of Library Science degree program. The undergraduate minor is ALA-recognized as another great pairing with a bachelor’s degree for those who plan to go on to get a MLS.
University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO
UC Boulder’s Program in Information Science readies students for positions in various industries, not just within libraries and library settings. They will also be prepared for a master’s degree program, should they choose to enter one after graduation. Or maybe you’ll choose the BAM (Bachelor’s to Accelerated Master’s) program while at UC Boulder.
Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT
- Bachelor of Science in Information Management and Services
- Accredited by NECHE
- On campus program
- Contact: Dr. Hak Joon Kim, Chair at (203) 392-5703 or [email protected]
The Bachelor of Science in Information Management and Services (IMS BS) program at Southern Connecticut State University is well-placed for those who are looking for a terminal bachelor’s degree, as well as those who wish to pursue further graduate study. Coursework includes computer science, communication, management, psychology and sociology.
University of Delaware, Newark, DE
The University of Delaware’s BS in Information Systems program provides students with classes in computer science, business and information systems. It also includes management information systems coursework, which can be beneficial to anyone planning to work in library and information science. This degree will prepare students for future graduate study as well.
District of Columbia
The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC
The Catholic University of America offers this unique bachelor-to-master’s degree program, which is open to juniors and seniors of all majors. The program is also ALA accredited. Graduates will be well-positioned for work in a variety of library settings, as well as government agencies, organizations and businesses. This is a great degree option if you’re willing to put in a bit of extra work.
University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL
The Bachelor of Science in Computing and Information Sciences program with a concentration in Information Sciences at UNF is perfect for those who wish to further their studies later with a Master of Library and Information Sciences degree. It is also a great choice for anyone who wants to start a career in the library and information sciences field. Jobs in data analytics, systems analysis and programming are all also possible with this degree.
Elmhurst University, Elmhurst, IL
Elmhurst University’s pre-professional program in library science consists of a liberal arts degree with a library science focus. The Director of the school’s A.C. Buehler Library is available to personally advise students on types of library work, requirements to get into graduate library science degree programs, and job opportunities available for graduates.
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
The BS in Applied Data and Information Science program at IUPUI is a collaboration between the Library and Information Science and Human Centered Computing departments of the School of Informatics and Computing. This degree works well as a stepping stone to a graduate program in library and information science, and is also perfect if you are beginning a career in information and library science.
Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY
The Bachelor of Science in Library Informatics program at Northern Kentucky University is completed online. About a quarter of the graduates of this program go on to earn a MLS or MLIS degree. Positions that the BSLIN degree can prepare you for include, but are not limited to, library support, online researcher, and information services manager.
University of Maine at Augusta, Augusta, ME
The UMA Bachelor of Information and Library Science program is ALA-certified and consists of 120 hours of credit taken completely online. Students do work in the field during their Senior Capstone, with experienced professionals. This degree renders graduates well-positioned both for entry level jobs in the field as well as for future graduate study.
University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD
The BS in Information Science program is the fastest-growing undergraduate program at University of Maryland College Park as of 2022. It is one of five computing majors at UMD, and one that can easily lead into a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree after graduation. It can also help you land a plethora of positions within libraries, companies, and organizations that deal with information of all types.
Fisher College, Boston, MA
Fisher College’s BA in Communication and Media Studies program prepares students for a wide variety of career options as well as for further graduate study in a Master’s of Library and Information Science program. The program is offered in online formats of 8 weeks each, which usually takes 3 years and 4 months to complete; as well as in an in-person format on the Boston campus, which typically takes students 4 years to complete.
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
The BA in Information Science program at MSU prepares students for careers as information professionals. These careers may be within library settings, corporations, or other organizations. It also readies students for future study in a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
The Bachelor of Science in Information program at the School of Information at the University of Michigan is considered an upper-level undergraduate degree, completed in a student’s junior and senior years. It readies students for jobs not only in libraries but in companies and organizations nationwide. Internships are optional in the BS program. UMSI’s degree also prepares you for further graduate study.
- Bachelor of Science in Library and Information Science
- Accredited by SACSCOC
- Online program
- Contact: Online programs at (601) 266-5518
Southern Miss’s BS in Library and Information Science has traditionally ranked among the top bachelor’s degree in library science programs in the nation. The online program does require students to complete an internship or practicum at a library or archive near them in their senior year. This degree also readies students for further studies at the graduate level.
Avila University, Kansas City, MO
Getting a liberal arts bachelor’s degree can be the perfect stepping stone to your master’s degree in library science. The humanities concentration at Avila University offers students classes in society and culture. It is also a great choice for those who wish to start a career within the library system.
Maryville University, St. Louis, MO
Maryville University’s BA in History program has been accepted by many MLS and MLIS programs, making it a great stepping stone to a master’s degree in library science. This totally online degree offers rolling admissions year-round and internships that are relevant to your career goals. It is also possible to enter the library field in an entry-level position after graduating with this degree.
Park University, Parkville, MO
Park University’s BS in Information and Computer Science can be completed in a variety of settings, including online, on campus (also at their campus location in Gilbert, AZ) and in a hybrid, mixed format. This degree prepares students for entry-level library and information science careers, as well as for future graduate study in library and information science.
Webster University, St. Louis, MO
Webster University’s BA program in Media Studies is also offered in a combined BA/MA format. It can be taken completely online, on campus or in a hybrid fashion. This degree prepares students for future graduate study within the discipline of library and information science, as well as for entry-level careers in the field.
University of Nebraska-Omaha, Omaha, NE
- Bachelor of Science in Library Science
- Bachelor of Science in Education in Library Science
- Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies in Library Science
- Accredited by HLC
- Online programs (except for school certification)
- Contact: Erica Rose at (970) 231-7372 or [email protected]
The University of Nebraska offers three fully online undergraduate degrees in library science. The Bachelor of Science in Education-Library Science enables graduates to work in ALA-accredited school libraries. The Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies in Library Science allows students to prepare to work in non-school positions in a variety of other library settings. Both programs also prepare graduates for further study at the master’s degree level.
University of Nevada Reno, Reno, NV
The BS in Information Systems program at the University of Nevada Reno blends business and management education with expertise in computer technology. Students who graduate from this program will be well-heeled for entry-level library positions dealing with a wide variety of information, as well as for acceptance into graduate Master of Library and Information Science degree programs.
Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH
Plymouth State University’s BA in Communication and Media Studies can be completed in the traditional four-year period or in an accelerated three-year period. It provides the perfect foundation for later graduate study in information science and library science. It is also a great degree to help you get an entry-level job in information science and/or libraries.
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
The BA ITI degree program at the Rutgers School of Communication and Information prepares students for a variety of career options in information technology and informatics, including those within libraries. It also is the perfect stepping stone for students who wish to go on to complete a master’s degree in information and/or library science.
CUNY School of Professional Studies, New York, NY
The online BA in Communications and Media from CUNY’s School of Professional Studies can lend itself well to a variety of fields, including media management/library and information science. It provides a great stepping stone to a future graduate degree in library and information science, and can also be used to break into the library science field in an entry-level position.
St. John’s University, Queens, NY
This unique accelerated program at St. John’s University enables students to get a BS and MS in just five years of full-time study. This combination of degrees prepares you to work in libraries as well as within organizations in the public and private sectors. St. John’s University’s well-recognized and well-respected program is the perfect choice if you’re willing to do a little extra work.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
The Bachelor of Science in Information Science (BSIS) degree at the University of North Carolina prepares students for careers within corporations, libraries, research and other information brokers. It is also a highly respected degree for those who choose to apply to a Master in Library Science or related program later. Furthermore, the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) offers a variety of international study options for interested BSIS students.
University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
The School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Oklahoma offers a Bachelor of Arts degree program in Information Studies. This interdisciplinary degree prepares students for a variety of career options having to do with the study of information, as well as for library positions. It also readies students for future graduate study in master’s degree programs in information and library science.
Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Clarion, PA
Clarion University’s Department of Information and Library Science houses this flexible program, offered online and on-campus, which prepares students to work in support and provisional positions in libraries. Graduates are also ready to work in the exciting field of information management and transfer upon graduation. Clarion’s bachelor’s degree is readily accepted by graduate MSLS programs, should students wish to further their studies.
Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA
Kutztown University offers two programs in library science at the bachelor’s degree level. The BSLS is a non-teaching degree, while the BS in Education- Library Science prepares students to be teachers at the K-12 level, providing them with Pennsylvania teaching certification. Both degree programs also ready students for further study at the graduate level, should they so desire.
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Temple University’s BA or BS in Information Science and Technology focuses on design, development, testing and documentation of information systems. The BA degree includes more Liberal Arts courses, while the BS includes more advanced science and technology courses. Either 123 credit hour degree will also prepare you for future graduate study in library and information science, as well as for a variety of career options.
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
The BS in Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh is housed within the School of Computing and Information. Students may apply to this major in their freshman year. Graduates with a BSIS degree will be well-prepared for both future graduate study in library and information science as well as for positions in information and library science within companies, organizations and libraries.
University of Tennessee Knoxville, Knoxville, TN
The University of Tennessee Knoxville’s BSIS program gives students a broad education in how to manage, analyze and navigate information. Jobs in libraries, businesses and organizations are available to graduates. The program also prepares students for further graduate study in the Library Science and/or Information Sciences area.
University of North Texas, Denton, TX
The University of North Texas BSIS degree prepares students for future study for a graduate degree in Information Science, Library Science or a combination of the two. Students who graduate from the BSIS program are ready for careers as information professionals in a variety of industries, including information, publishing and indexing as well as library careers.
Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA
CWU’s undergraduate minors in Library Information Science and School Library Media Studies have both been acknowledged by the ALA as good preparation for a MLS or MLIS degree program. These minors pair well with degrees in history, education and the humanities. The program is online, making it flexible and convenient for students of all backgrounds.