Iowa Library Science Degree Programs

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Updated on October 25, 2023
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Iowa probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when candidates think of MLIS programs to pursue. However, those who call Iowa home often have a deep love and appreciation for the state. With friendly small towns and thriving cities, Iowa offers a unique blend of rural charm and urban opportunities. The Hawkeye state’s natural beauty, excellent education system, low cost of living, and a strong sense of community make it an attractive place to settle down and build a life.

At the University of Iowa, students who want to become librarians can get a quality education. With a master’s program, as well as certificate and joint degree programs, the school offers something for those seeking employment at any type of library. Meanwhile, for those more interested in the information science side, Iowa State University has a program for you.

Iowa is a great place to study library science. Keep reading to learn about the educational opportunities available in the state. We’ll also talk about potential jobs once you’ve finished your library science degree and standard salaries for librarians in Iowa. 

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Syracuse University

Master of Science in Library and Information Science Online


Syracuse University offers an online MS in Library and Information Science. The program can be completed in 18 months and includes the option to specialize in School Media. No GRE is required.*

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University of Denver

Master of Library and Information Science Online


University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education offers an online, ALA-accredited Master of Library and Information Science program. Learn from practitioners and gain the service-based skills needed to connect communities with information in the digital age. No GRE is required.*

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Arizona State University

Master of Arts in Education Online, Literacy Education Concentration


The Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in literacy education will equip you to be a literacy leader in any educational setting.*

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St. Johns University

Online Master of Science in Library and Information Science


Gain the advanced expertise that information specialist positions require with the online M.S. in Library and Information Science program from St. John’s University.*

Bachelor Programs Related to Library and Information Science in Iowa

Library and information sciences cover multiple disciplines, including data studies. Learners in Iowa who want to dive into data science will find an excellent program at Iowa State University.

Management Information Systems — B.S. at Iowa State University

At Iowa State University, those studying Management Information Systems are part of the College of Business. When studying for this degree, students analyze data and information systems to make informed decisions and promote effective problem-solving. Data is used by everyone, after all, and participants in ISU’s Management Information Systems program have a leg up on their competition when they’ve completed this degree.

To complete the Management Information Systems B.S., students must meet all of the requirements of any business degree. Additionally, students must take 18 credit hours in the management information systems focus, which includes 12 hours of core classes and six hours of electives.

Management Information Systems — Undergraduate Minor at Iowa State University

The Management Information Systems minor was created for business students studying other majors. The minor only requires 15 credit hours from the Management Information Systems curriculum, but at least six of those credits must be in 300-level courses, and a C or higher must be earned in the class for it to qualify. 

ALA-Accredited Masters Programs in Library and Information Science (MLIS) in Iowa

The University of Iowa is the only university in the state that is ALA-Accredited and offers a master’s degree in library and information science. The school, a public university located in Iowa City, was established in 1847, making it the oldest university in the state.

Master of Arts in Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa

The Master of Arts in Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa is a well-known and respected program. It prepares students for work in various libraries, including public, academic, and special libraries. The program is divided into two categories: required coursework and a specialized concentration. Students can specialize in Academic Librarianship, Archives & Special Collections, Public Librarianship, Book Studies and Rare Books, Digital Humanities Librarianship, and Teacher Librarianship.

  • 36-credit hours required
  • Two-year program
  • Online or on-campus option

To enter the MA in LIS program at the U of I, you must have a bachelor’s degree in any major from an accredited college or university, as well as a GPA of 3.0 or more. If your GPA is lower, you may contact the Office of Admissions for guidance. The GRE is not required for admission into the program.

Teacher Librarian MA Program at the University of Iowa

As part of the effort to train more librarians in Iowa, the University of Iowa offers an online education program that enables current K-12 teachers to become school librarians. Those who complete the program will earn an Iowa endorsement as a teacher librarian. The courses are offered online in a video-chat format so that students can be in class from anywhere. There is also an option to attend the courses in person, and a few days each summer semester will require in-person attendance.

How to Apply

To apply for the Teacher Librarian MA Program at the University of Iowa, prospective students should submit a Graduate College application, transcripts from all previous educational institutions, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and your Teaching Certificate.

This coursework is developed explicitly for those who are already teachers, but if you are not currently licensed, you can add an additional 29 credit hours and earn an Iowa teaching license and teacher librarian endorsement at the same time.

Other Masters Programs in Information Science in Iowa

While the University of Iowa is the only ALA-Accredited program for library and information science in the state, there are other related degrees that those interested in information science could explore.

Master of Science in Information Systems at Iowa State University

Iowa State University’s Master of Science Information Systems degree is administered by the Department of Information Systems and Business Analytics. The degree focuses on information systems and how students can apply them in the business world. Once students have completed the degree, they will have the ability to manage major information systems projects, and have advanced managerial and technical skills. Another focus of the program is a student’s ability to work on a team, including excellent communication skills and critical thinking ability.

  • 30-hour program
  • Not ALA-Accredited

How to Apply

Prospective students can apply to the Master of Science Information Systems at Iowa State University by completing the Graduate Student application. There is a $60 fee to submit the application, which must include an essay or statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and a GPA of 3.0 or higher. GRE scores are not required, but if your GPA is lower than 3.0, a GRE score may help your application.

Certificate Programs in Library and Information Science in Iowa

There are three programs you can explore at the University of Iowa if you want to further your education beyond a master’s degree. 

Special Collections Librarianship Certificate at the University of Iowa

The certificate in special collections at the U of I is meant to prepare students to work in archives and other spaces where the primary purpose is preserving materials. Any student enrolled in the University of Iowa’s MA in Library and Information Science program can earn this certificate. It requires 15 hours of coursework, which includes an introductory class as well as four additional courses in specific areas.

To earn the Special Collections Librarianship Certificate, current U of I students should complete the Special Collections Librarianship Certificate Plan of Study. 

The Book Studies and Library and Information Science Studies Program at the University of Iowa

The Book Studies program enables students to earn a certificate in book studies at the same time as they earn their MA in Library Science. This certificate, earned from the Center for the Book, gives future librarians the opportunity to learn multiple ways to engage with books, artifacts, and manuscripts. Students will study cataloging, outreach, instruction, and conservation, among other areas. In total, the certificate and MA require 51 credit hours.

School Media Certification at the University of Iowa

When earning an MA in library and information science at the University of Iowa, you have the option to add a School Media Certification to your degree, which will enable you to become a certified Teacher Librarian. It should be noted that you must have an Iowa teaching license to qualify; if you don’t have an Iowa teaching license, you can complete an additional 30 credit hours to qualify for the teaching license. 

How to Become a Librarian in Iowa

In Iowa and most other states, a master’s degree in library and information science is required to become a librarian. ALA-accredited degrees are more valuable than those from institutions without accreditation. There are some entry-level positions, but experience in a library is also generally preferred.

Below are the library jobs common in Iowa and the job qualifications:

Library Assistant: Library assistants perform a wide range of duties throughout the library. In an academic library, they may assist with checking out and shelving materials; in a public library, they may help with programming. In general, library assistant jobs require less experience and are good positions for those just beginning a library career.

Digital Librarian/Archivist: As a digital librarian or archivist, your job will be to work with digital materials. This could include ebooks, scanned manuscripts, videos, photos, and more. The responsibilities of a digital librarian or archivist vary widely depending on the position, but in general you will work with cataloging, preserving, and publicizing materials. To become a digital librarian or archivist, you need an MLIS and experience with digital materials.

Teacher Librarian: When you become a teacher librarian, you wear two hats. If you work in a K-12 school, you might help students find books, learn to read, or do preliminary research. When you work at a college or university as a teacher librarian, you’re most likely teaching students how to do more in-depth research and maybe even doing some lecturing. Being a teacher librarian requires special certification and training beyond an MLIS degree.

Cataloger Librarian: Some consider cataloging the backbone of the library. Cataloger librarians are the ones who create the records for all the materials so that other librarians and patrons can find items and use them. This job requires an MLIS and advanced training.

What Else Can You Do With a Library Science Degree in Iowa?

People choose to move to Iowa for many reasons, but the low cost of living is probably the biggest one. Iowa is actually the state with the most affordable homes in the country, so buying property there can be very easy.

The arts and culture scene is surprisingly vibrant in Iowa, especially in Iowa City and Des Moines, and those with a background in libraries can find work with art institutes, museums, and other cultural institutions. 

It’s probably not surprising that agriculture is major in Iowa, but the industry involves a lot more than traditional farmers. Thousands of engineers live in Iowa, and those studying information science can find many opportunities in agricultural data science. Additionally, insurance is a big field in Iowa, so those looking for jobs in data and statistics might find many job opportunities in the state. 

Salary Opportunities

In 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that librarians make an average of $49,731 per year at a college or university in Iowa. Meanwhile, those employed at elementary or secondary schools earned $49,007 every year. People working in the information sector outside of traditional libraries got $40,023 in salary each year on average, while those working for local government, such as public librarians, typically say a salary of $47,807 per year.

Additional Resources

For more information on libraries in Iowa, visit: https://www.statelibraryofiowa.gov/index.php/libraries/resources/directory

For more information about librarianship and Library Science, visit: https://www.ala.org/

Library Science Degree Programs in Other States

Wisconsin

South Dakota

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