Library media specialist

University of Missouri-Columbia
Certification preparation
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Certification preparation

Prepare to guide K-12 learners through an exploration of information access and digital literacy. Geared toward teachers holding initial certification, the University of Missouri’s (Mizzou) online library media specialist certification preparation program helps you take the next step forward in your career and uplift your school’s community in the process.

Through 30 credit hours, including a practicum experience, you gain the qualifications to pursue library media specialist certification through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). This distinction equips you to develop literacy, information retrieval and research programming for K-12 schools, as well as for academic and public libraries.

Note: This certification preparation program might be compatible with certification programs in other states. To inquire, contact Denice Adkins at

The courses in this program encompass all competencies required by DESE, but students will need to apply for certification on their own. Check the DESE educator certification web page for details.

The School of Information Science and Learning Technologies (SISLT) is a proud member of iSchools, an international coalition of leading information schools.

About the online library media specialist certification preparation program 

School libraries perform a dual role. From a traditional angle, they encourage a lifetime of learning and simultaneously reinforce literacy efforts. Through a degree of freedom, students have the opportunity to uncover different subject matters and immerse themselves in captivating narratives.

At the same time, librarians create a sense of structure, highlighting the resources available as tools for research and the techniques to optimally and responsibly use them. In the present, librarians build from this foundation to introduce digital literacy alongside traditional research methods.

Through the library media specialist certification preparation program, understand how to facilitate learning outside of the classroom environment, including through physical and digital channels:

  • Learn to foster a love of learning and reading among the student body
  • Cultivate research skills that students will use through college and into their careers
  • Spearhead technology and information management efforts in the school community, including key digital literacy skills
  • Understand how to collaborate with teachers as an instructional and literacy partner
  • Pioneer the school library as a place for information and literacy equity

Quick facts

Official name

Library media specialist certification preparation


University of Missouri-Columbia

Program type

Certification preparation

Academic home

College of Education & Human Development | School of Information Science and Learning Technologies

Delivery mode

100% online

Credit hours


Estimated cost


*This cost is for illustrative purposes only. Your hours and costs will differ, depending on your transfer hours, your course choices and your academic progress. See more about tuition and financial aid.

Career prospects

Gain the certification to pursue a career as a school librarian or library media specialist. With the information science field encompassing books and physical reference materials to online databases, you’ll create a contemporary, comprehensive exploratory setting for K-12 students. Here, you’ll compile and organize collections, expose students to age-appropriate research methods and highlight technology as a tool of information retrieval.

Beyond interacting with students, you’ll align the library’s programming with a school’s overarching literacy and technology goals, aiming to complement classroom lessons and help students find answers to complex, open-ended questions. For schools, public libraries and private collections, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 3% more librarians and media specialists through 2032.

Program structure

The library media specialist certification program requires 30 credit hours, including a 100-clock-hour practicum experience in a school environment.

Students complete courses entirely online on a semester schedule, and no on-campus visits are required. Courses use either an asynchronous format, in which you to learn at your pace, or synchronous classes, allowing you to interact with your instructors and fellow students in real time.

Please note that while requirements overlap with the online master of library and information science (MLIS), completing the certification program alone does not lead to a master’s degree. However, you can apply post-baccalaureate course credit toward the master’s program. To take this path, you must be accepted into the MLIS degree program before you finish nine credit hours of course work.

Course work includes

As you prepare to empower students through information literacy and research, the certification program introduces you to:

  • Information transfer and processing methodologies
  • Organizing information for school libraries
  • Best practices for and current issues affecting the information science field
  • Selecting, managing and organizing library materials
  • Program development, budgeting and district guidelines for school libraries
  • The school library as an instructional collaborator
  • The principles of action research

Review all requirements for the online library media specialist certification program.


100% online

Learn more about this program

This program is administered by the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies