By Matt Goodlett
It has been two years in the making, and this spring semester, UNO, in collaboration with the University of Missouri at Columbia, is bringing a master’s of library science degree to Nebraska.
Becky Pasco, assistant professor of education in the teacher education department, says UNO has long offered both graduate and undergraduate degrees for library media specialists accredited by the American Library Association. However, the new degree will allow recipients to qualify for positions in large public, academic and some special libraries.
Pasco says now is a good time for the MLS degree to be available to Nebraskans because there is a national shortage of qualified information specialists and librarians in all types of libraries.
“There are between 20 and 30 jobs at any one time in Nebraska libraries that are looking for good candidates,” Pasco says. “I get calls from all over the United States for school library media candidates.”
Students can take five courses, totaling one-third of the degree, at UNO, and the University of Missouri will bring the rest of the coursework to Nebraska via a diverse array of flexibly-scheduled face-to-face instruction and distance technologies all at in-state tuition.
To further lower the cost, a number of library organizations in the state and the Nebraska Library Commission are offering scholarships for library science education. There are also many other benefits to a degree in library science, Pasco says.
“It’s great if you like working with people,” she says. “If you want a career that gives you choices, a masters of library science allows you to find employment anywhere in the country.”
Pasco became involved with distance education programs while receiving her Ph.D. from Emporia State University in Kansas, which offers distance library education programs in four states. She taught in those programs while working on her degree. While she has been a driving force behind the creation of the MLS program at UNO, she stresses that many people are involved.
“This program is a tribute to both the Nebraska Library Community, which continually advocates for its libraries and to UNO’s college of education, which stepped up to the line in support of this venture,” she says.
For information about this degree or other library science education opportunities, contact Becky Pasco via UNO e-mail or at 554-2119.