Virginia Library Science Degree Programs

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Updated on October 25, 2023
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Virginia is a Commonwealth and is known for the phrase “Virginia is for lovers”. It is one of the best states to live in and has a prestigious collection of historical higher education institutions. It is a beautiful state with mountains, beaches, and large cities, and it played a significant part in American history. Virginia has 41 state parks with fishing, hiking, camping, swimming, and various programs and concerts to attend. Virginia’s quality of life is currently the thirteenth-highest-ranked state by the U.S. News Report. It is also ranked 11th in education, 19th in healthcare, and 18th in economy, and it is one of the safest states in the U.S.

Virginia also offers great programs in higher education, including a master’s degree program in library and information studies from Old Dominion University. The American Library Association (ALA) has accredited the program, and the university is well-known and respected. The state is also home to the University of Virginia, William and Mary College, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, and James Madison University. These colleges and universities are highly ranked, according to U.S. News Today

To learn more about the opportunities in Virginia for librarians or those pursuing an education in libraries and information, keep reading. This article will outline the programs available in the state and what to expect regarding career opportunities and the expected salary. Additionally, we look at the library programs and career opportunities in Virginia’s largest cities and how to become a librarian in this great state.   

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Syracuse University

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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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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.*

ALA Accredited Library and Information Science Schools and Programs in Virginia

The American Library Association (ALA) is the standard by which librarians in the U.S., Canada, and other parts of the world use to determine the education and training of librarians and those pursuing a library and information science degree. They also provide scholarships, national conferences, and resources for academic and public libraries. So, those pursuing a career in librarianship should consider a program accredited by ALA. Below is the program Virginia offers and how to apply. 

Master of Library and Information Studies at Old Dominion University

This program is a 30-credit hour degree and is offered online. Students can take courses that focus on academic libraries, public libraries, special libraries, and various departments in libraries, including children’s and teen services and reference services. Students will also engage with their communities through internships and other project-based activities. The program focuses on equipping students with the knowledge to serve diverse communities wherever they go in Virginia, the nation, and the world. The coursework will include research methodology; librarianship; information organization, technology, creation, retrieval, and management, and how to promote and spread information and literacy to communities in order to enhance the quality of life.

How to apply

Applicants need an undergraduate degree and a 2.75 GPA to qualify for the graduate program. If an applicant has any graduate credits, they must send in a transcript and have a 2.80 GPA from the program. To apply, fill out the online application and pay the application fee. Additionally, send in transcripts, a resume, and a 500-word essay describing your academic goals and how this degree will help you in your pursuit of life-long learning. 

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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.*

  • ALA-Accredited Program
  • Top Faculty & Support
  • No GRE Required

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.*

  • Become a Literacy Leader
  • Top 10 M.Ed. Program
  • 100% Online

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.*

  • ALA-Accredited Program
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  • 100% Online

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.*

How to Become a Librarian in Virginia

Virginia has a state library board that requires public librarians to have a librarian certificate. This certificate is called the Professional Librarian Certificate. Any full-time professional librarian must hold one of these certificates to work in the public library system. To obtain certification, applicants must have a master’s in library and information studies from an ALA-accredited program. A doctorate degree from an accredited institution will also meet the education requirements. Additionally, applicants must have experience working with complex technology, complete the application online, and pay the application fee. 

To become a school librarian in the public school system, prospective school librarians must have either a master’s in school library media from an accredited university or college or have 24 semester hours of post-graduate work in library media, literacy, or education. Most MA programs in library media will include a practicum, but a year of full-time experience in a school system is also accepted. School librarians must also have a teaching certificate and take the Praxis for library media. 

There are no state requirements for academic or special librarians; however, many institutions within the state and in most other states require a master’s in library science. Many employers of professional librarians and information specialists also prefer that they have a degree from an ALA-accredited program. Additionally, librarians and information specialists should consider professional development courses and conferences each year. There are opportunities within Virginia to attend or speak at a library conference, and there are regional and national conferences. 

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

One of the largest employers in Virginia is DXC Technology. They are an information technology and services company, and they hire market research analysts, contract analysts, quality assurance testers, and technical assistance representatives. All careers are suitable for information specialists. Virginia has other large employers of information specialists, including Lockheed Martin, the University of Virginia, Leidos, Northrop Grumman, Dominion Energy, and General Dynamics.  

If you are interested in history and research, Virginia’s Museum of History and Culture can provide an exciting career for you. They have over 12 large exhibits and present new exhibitions monthly, a research library, and research resources including ancestry research, business history records, and property information. They also host groups and help teachers and other educators throughout the entire state. Additionally, the Chrysler Museum of Art staffs educators and organizers for programs and classes within their glass studio. Moreover, the museum has its own library, archives, and reading room. The library has over 300,000 rare and unique volumes of art history-related material. 

Chesapeake Library Degree Programs and Career Opportunities

In the Chesapeake area, there are seven public library branches. The Chesapeake public libraries offer computer usage, books for all ages, meeting rooms, and daily events and programs to connect with the community and provide wholesome entertainment and education. They also have a “Library of Things” program for people to check out things like telescopes, a blood pressure kit, a nature kit, a backpack, passes to the Virginia Zoo, the Chrysler Museum, the Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways Museum, board games, a sewing machine, and an Artograph. Additionally, they offer various outreach services and programs. 

Chesapeake also has five universities and colleges within the area. Chesapeake is also next to the Virginia Beach metropolitan area, and the large city of Norfolk. Both cities have a multitude of universities, museums, schools, and public libraries. Additionally, Old Dominion University is only 21 minutes away from the heart of Chesapeake. This university is the only one in the state that offers a master’s in library science that is accredited by the American Library Association.  

Norfolk Library Degree Programs and Career Opportunities

Norfolk is the second most populous city in Virginia behind Chesapeake and is right next to Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach. Norfolk Public Library has 13 library branches and multiple outreach programs to reach more of its community away from any library branches. They have resources, services, and programs for all ages and for various ethnic and social backgrounds. 

Old Dominion University is located in Norfolk, and it is the only university in the state that offers a Master’s of Library Science degree accredited by the American Library Association. Norfolk also has 14 other colleges and universities in the area, including Norfolk State University and the Advanced Technology Institute. Norfolk State University currently has over 5,000 undergraduates enrolled, and they currently have 14 full-time library staff members and three part-time staff members. 

Richmond Library Degree Programs and Career Opportunities

Richmond is Virginia’s capital and the third most populous city in the state. The city has nine lovely public library branches that are part of the Richmond Public Library System. The public libraries have a teen department, a children’s department, and various other services. Some of their unique services include self-publishing steps, the Master Gardener Help Desk, and Innovation and Memory Labs. 

There are 14 colleges and universities in Richmond. The University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University are the largest of the universities. The University of Richmond is known for its beautiful campus and school of law. The Boatwright Memorial Library at the University of Richmond offers various services and resources, including a rich archive collection. Virginia Commonwealth University has over 20,000 undergraduate students and world-renowned research and academic programs. The university has 16 libraries and library departments, with over 100 library staff positions. 

Salary Opportunities in Virginia for Librarians

There are 4,430 library and school librarian positions in Virginia, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mean annual salary for librarians is $70,510. Within large cities and within management positions, the salary is on the higher end. Entry-level positions come with a lower salary. 

Additional Links

For job opportunities and to learn about what libraries in Virginia are accomplishing, visit https://www.vla.org/

For more information about the library profession and the standards set in the U.S. for libraries and librarians, visit https://www.ala.org/.

If you are interested in academic librarianship, visit https://vivalib.org/viva/homepage.

Library Science Degree Programs in Other States

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