West Virginia Library Science Programs

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Updated on May 14, 2024
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West Virginia is one of the most beautiful states in the U.S. They enjoy all seasons and are known for their breathtaking autumns. The landscape includes mountains, caverns, woodlands, fields, lakes, rivers, and streams. The state is home to six National Parks for scenic and historic preservation. Because of the natural landscape, there are plenty of outdoor recreation activities, which include hunting, fishing, boating, kayaking, biking, hiking, and various water sports. West Virginia also has booming cities with hundreds of things to do and more career opportunities. 

There is one university in West Virginia that offers a program in school librarianship, and it is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). There are also plenty of online options for master’s programs in library science and on-campus options around the state. West Virginia offers library positions in academic libraries and public libraries, as well as positions as information specialists for different organizations and businesses. 

This article covers the library media degree program and what to expect from it. Additionally, it will cover how to become a librarian in the public library and the school library systems in West Virginia. If you want to know about other opportunities for librarians and information specialists in West Virginia, then we will discuss one of West Virginia’s best employers and the opportunities offered in the state’s most populous cities. Also, after reading this article, you will know what to expect as far as salary and the number of library positions in the whole state. 

Master’s in Library Media in West Virginia

There is one library media program that is accredited by CAEP and AASL offered in West Virginia. It is provided by Marshall University and is paired with a degree in education. Students must receive their teacher’s certification before entering the program, and they must have either teaching experience or library media experience before completing their certification. The program provides hands-on learning and instruction for how to run a school library and other relevant skills for a diverse career in school librarianship. 

Master’s Program with School Library Media Certificate at Marshall University

This certification requires students to earn their teacher certification, 21 credit hours of library certification coursework, 15 credit hours of core coursework, three credit hours of clinical work, and pass the Library Media Specialist PRAXIS II test. This program is offered online and provides a plan of study to ensure students will complete all the requirements for becoming school librarians. Courses include Libraries and the Learning Process, Library Materials for Adolescence, Library Materials for Children, Library Organization and Administration, Cataloging and Reference for School Librarians, Technology and the School Library, and Library Practice. 

How to apply

Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited program and at least a cumulative GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 grading scale from their undergraduate program. Applicants must send in their transcript, apply online, and pay the application fee. GRE test scores may be required. Contact the admissions department to see if your degree program requires anything else. 

How to Become a Librarian in West Virginia

Public library staff members who are first starting work in the system will begin earning their Basic Certification and must complete it in two years. Certification is obtained after gaining initial employment. This helps library staff without education in library science better understand how a library functions. These staff members are library technicians and assistants. There are no experience requirements for Basic Certification, but some experience will help in getting a position. Libraries have plenty of volunteer and internship opportunities to earn experience. After certification is complete, some continuing education needs to be completed as well. There are plenty of conferences, lectures, and courses that are accepted as counting towards continuing education. Children librarians, library managers, and library administrators all need an MLIS or MLS degree in library science from an ALA-accredited program. This is also true of academic librarians, law librarians, and many other special librarians. 

Becoming a school librarian requires a teacher’s license first. Then a library media certification is required. Marshall University offers a master’s program that guides students through the whole certification process and provides them with the education they need to set up and manage a school library, as well as learn to assist teachers and school administration. Five years of teaching experience are also required, and applicants need at least a 157 on the PRAXIS II for Library Media Specialist. 

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

Ogden Newspapers is one of West Virginia’s largest employers. They publish 40 newspapers each day, weekly newspapers, and several magazines. They hire writers, fact-checkers, researchers, technology specialists, editors, publishers, and advertisement managers. Their headquarters and 12 branch locations are in West Virginia and they have other branch locations throughout the U.S. Some of the papers they publish in West Virginia are The Journal, The Intelligencer, Graffiti, The Green Tab, WV Web,  The Shepherdstown Chronicle, The Inner-Mountain, and The Weirton Daily Times. 

Charleston Library Degree Programs and Career Opportunities

Charleston is the capital of West Virginia and the state’s largest city. They have opportunities for librarians in public libraries, academic libraries, and school libraries. It is served by the Kanawha County Public School System which consists of 45 elementary schools, 12 middle schools, and nine high schools. Visit their job postings for current employment opportunities. Additionally, Charleston has the University of Charleston which offers undergraduate and graduate programs. They have great statistics including graduation rate, employment after graduation, licensing and board exam passing rates, and many of their undergraduate programs can be completed in three years. 

Charleston has the most extensive public library system in the state. It is the Kanawha County Public Library. It serves 92,000 library card holders and last year it had 337,000 walk-in library users. The library’s history began in 1908 and is improving with new-age technology and literacy. One major project is the main library renovation which started with a budget of 32 million dollars. The system is made up of nine library branches and various departments including administration, children’s services, teen’s services, reference and genealogy, and circulation. They offer services in outreach, tech help, parenting programs, children’s programs, youth creativity and technology programs, and so much more. 

Huntington Library Degree Programs and Career Opportunities

Marshall University is in Huntington and is the only university that offers a library degree. This degree is for librarians who want to become a school librarian. Marshall University also offers career opportunities in librarianship and academia. They have six libraries and centers including the music library, the health sciences library, various writing and studying centers, the main library, and special collections. 

The Cabell County Public Library System is comprised of seven library branches and serves around 97,000 residents. Through modern technology, resources, and services, the library serves West Virginians by providing access to education and information, internet connection, children’s programs, and services and materials for improving the quality of life. Some of the services and programs they offer include technology assistance, book clubs, materials and resources for the handicap community, and children’s storytimes.

Morgantown Library Degree Programs and Career Opportunities

West Virginia University is in Morgantown and is the largest employer in the state. They have at least 7,500 employees and offer undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs. It is known worldwide as having a robust academic environment, and it offers plenty of unique outdoor sports and recreation including scuba diving, white water rafting, mountain climbing, and other typical sports teams including football and basketball. The university has eight libraries including the West Virginia and Regional History Center and Special Collections which holds the historical archives of West Virginia. 

The Morgantown Public Library includes five branch locations. They serve the city of Morgantown and Monongalia County. Their goal is to meet the education, recreation, information, and cultural need of the community through services, engaging programs, and inclusion. They offer services including technology assistance, research help, homework help, and access to materials through online databases and personal delivery. They also create ongoing programs including storytimes, book clubs, teen movie night, teen game night, and family activities. 

Salary Opportunities in West Virginia for Librarians 

 The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are 510 library positions in West Virginia. The mean wage is $43,560 annually. The lowest-earning library staff members are typically library assistants and library technicians. They earn a little over $20,000 a year. The highest-earning library staff are library administrators and they can make nearly $60,000 a year. Most of the positions are in West Virginia’s largest cities. 

Additional Resources

To learn more about librarianship in the U.S. and becoming a professional librarian, visit https://www.ala.org/

To learn more about school librarianship visit https://www.ala.org/aasl/.
For more information about libraries in West Virginia and their current job opportunities visit https://wvla.org/.

Library Science Degree Programs in Other States