Rhode Island Library Science Degree Programs

Updated icon
Updated on May 14, 2024
Fact icon
Fact Checked

Rhode Island is a commonwealth and the smallest state in the U.S. They offer a strong community and plenty to do and see every day. Rhode Island is also called the Ocean State due to its 400 miles of coastline and its beautiful sandy beaches. They have warm summers that rarely go beyond 90 degrees Fahrenheit and cold, snowy winters that can get down into the single digits. Rhode Island is also home to beautiful historic homes, gardens, and historical sites. They have large museums and dense collections of American history. Additionally, there are plenty of recreational activities year-round, including boating, biking, fishing, and hiking. 

Rhode Island is home to Brown University and the University of Rhode Island. The University of Rhode Island has a master’s program in library science that is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). The ALA sets the standard for librarianship. Library employers trust programs that are accredited by ALA, and most libraries require librarians to have a MLIS or MLS degree from an ALA-accredited program. Most Rhode Island academic and public libraries require an MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited school. Library assistants and technicians may only need a high school diploma or bachelor’s degree. 

Keep reading if any of this interests you or if you have an interest in librarianship. This article will cover the library science program in Rhode Island and the career opportunities in the Commonwealth. It also highlights the opportunities for information professionals outside of librarianship and the opportunities in Newport and Providence, Rhode Island. You will also learn about salary possibilities and what to expect from various library jobs. 

ALA-accredited Library and Information Science Programs in Rhode Island

Rhode Island offers one ALA-accredited MLIS degree program. It is offered through the University of Rhode Island. There are also plenty of MLIS programs in the surrounding area and plenty of online MLIS programs. Most academic libraries and public libraries require librarians to have a Master of Library Science (MLS) or a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from a program that is accredited by ALA. There are also other master’s programs that the ALA will credit, and most libraries will accept any ALA-accredited degree to meet job qualifications. Bachelor’s degrees, certificates, and any other library program that is not accredited by ALA are often not accepted, especially for library manager and administration positions. 

Master of Library and Information Science at the University of Rhode Island 

This is a 36-credit hour degree, and it is offered entirely online. They have areas of study in leadership, school library media, information equity, and digital media. Full-time students can complete the program in as little as a year, and part-time students can finish in two years. They offer areas of study in leadership, digital media, information equity, and school library media. The track in school library media includes a certification to work as a school librarian in public K–12 schools in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. The information equity track offers courses including meeting users’ information needs, multiculturalism in libraries, disability approaches, and social justice in youth and children’s services. The digital media track offers courses in visual information literacy, information technology, information architecture, and website development. The leadership track offers courses including leadership in information professions, planning and developing library instruction, and information ethics and policy. 

How to Apply

Applicants meet the qualifications if they have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Applicants need to submit a 500-800 word essay for their statement of purpose, an updated resume, two letters of recommendation, and unofficial digital transcripts. These should be uploaded to the online application, and official transcripts should be sent to the university’s graduate admissions department. When you apply online, you will probably be prompted to pay an application processing fee. No GRE scores are required. 

How to Become a Librarian in Rhode Island

Academic libraries, public libraries, and special libraries in Rhode Island do not have a certification requirement by the state, but most institutions and public libraries require librarians to have a master’s degree in library science from a program that is accredited by ALA. Some staff members in assistant positions will need a high school diploma or equivalent, but they may not require a bachelor’s degree or higher. 

There are specific qualifications for school librarians through the Rhode Island Department of Education. There are a few routes librarians can take for certification. They can go through a RI-approved program or take the Credential Review. The criteria include holding a bachelor’s or master’s in a related field, completing twelve weeks of student teaching, and showing competency according to Rhode Island Teaching Standards and the standards set by the American Library Association for Library Media Specialists. Additionally, teachers and library media specialists must pass tests set by the state. 

What Else Can You Do with a Library Science Degree in Rhode Island?

The second largest employer in Rhode Island is Textron. They are a multi-industry company. Their company includes areas in finance, defense, industrial, aviation, and aerospace. Some of the major brands they developed include EZ-GO, Greenlee, Bell Helicopter, Kautex, Lycoming, Jacobsen, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Textron Systems. Job opportunities related to information science include Global Sells and Strategy Manager, Systems Engineer, Project Manager, Systems Security Engineer, Quality Program Manager, and Contracts Manager. 

Another great company to work for in Rhode Island for those with a degree in information science is Telent. They hire Information Technology (IT) Analysts, Desktop Engineer, Contracts Coordinator, Telecoms Regional Quality Manager, and more. Telent has departments that design, manage, organize, and transform transportation and technology advances. This includes railways, highways, service providers in designing and servicing technology, solutions for emergency systems and transport, designing and supporting technology advances in higher education, network creation for defense, and designing and servicing utilities in creating and harvesting energy and power distribution. 

Providence Library Degree Programs and Career Opportunities

Brown University is Rhode Island’s only Ivy League school. The university’s academic libraries provide students with research support guides and an abundance of research materials in print and online. The facilities and collections include the Racial Justice Resource Center, Special Collection Resource Room, group study rooms, Course Reserves, the Sciences Library, the Rockefeller Library, the Orwig Music Library, the Champlin Memorial Medical Library, and the Annmary Brown Memorial. There are nine different library directors in various library departments and 138 library positions at the university. 

The Providence Public Library is one of the most beautiful buildings in the state. It was built in 1900 and designed by Stone, Carpenter, and Willson. They have fourteen areas to rent for events, meetings, and photo opportunities. They hold a dense special collection and offer all the other services typical of a public library. Some of the services they offer include technology assistance, career services, small business resources, and programs for parents and children. 

Newport Library Degree Programs and Career Opportunities

The Preservation Society of Newport County provides careers, part-time work, internships, fellowships, and volunteer opportunities. Their opportunities include areas in historical preservation, research in culture, art, and history, and various administrative duties. The Preservation Society manages nine mansions, as well as gardens and stables. The Breakers offer their most unique experience due to the underground systems that were first of its kind. It added electricity and a cooling system to the house before electricity was standard in homes. It also was the beginning of modern plumbing that enhanced hygiene habits and created a better system for laundry. The Preservation Society hosts ongoing and special events and programs throughout the year for enjoyment and education. Additionally, people can host their own events such as weddings and photo opportunities. The various grand backdrops create the most spectacular experience. 

Newport Public Library was started by Sophia Louisa and Daniel Parish in 1865. Today it has multiple departments including children’s, teens, adults, and local history. They offer ongoing programs including Family Storytime, Baby Playtime, Baby Bookworms Storytime LEGO Club, Family Movie Night, Chess Club, Scrabble Club, and more. They also offer classes and activities for crafting, utilizing the 3D printer, and other creative activities. They offer services in technology assistance, research help, genealogy resources, and homework help. 

Salary Opportunities in Rhode Island for Librarians

The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics says that there are 720 positions in Rhode Island for librarians. Most librarian positions are with the University of Rhode Island and the cities of Providence and Newport. Librarians make a mean wage of $70,190 annually. The lowest-earning librarians make $45,980 a year and the highest-earning librarians in Rhode Island make $95,210 a year. Starting pay in Rhode Island is higher than in most states, but higher-ranked librarians can earn more in other states. 

Additional Links

To learn more about librarianship in Rhode Island visit https://rilibraries.org/.

To learn more about librarianship in general and the standards set by ALA visit https://www.ala.org/

For public libraries consortiums, job opportunities, and special libraries in Rhode Island, visit https://olis.ri.gov/about-us/library-board-ri/library-board-ri-handbook/library-and-library-related-organizations.

Library Science Degree Programs in Other States