Master of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS) Degree vs. Master of Library & Information Science Degree

View all blog posts under Articles

Image via Flickr by mikecogh

As undergraduate students interested in library science look toward a postgraduate education, they are confronted with a choice between two similar degrees: a Master of Library & Information Science and a Master of Management in Library and Information Science. While both degrees can lead to a wide variety of career opportunities with higher salaries than an undergraduate education could offer, each offers differing skillsets. While an MLIS degree may be sufficient for students interested solely in library science, the MMLIS degree offers a more comprehensive education that can better prepare students for the evolving and challenging library workplace.

The choice of a postgraduate degree is based upon many factors, potential students need to know that the master’s degree they ultimately choose will be worth the significant investments of time, money and passion that’s required for the completion of the program. For those potential students, here is a side-by-side analysis of a traditional MLIS and the University of Southern California’s innovative MMLIS degree:

Main Differences

Students pursuing a master’s degree in library and information science are entering a field that has been changed by the evolution of technology and its integration into nearly every field. Graduates with an MMLIS degree as opposed to an MLIS degree often complete a more comprehensive course of study which may better prepare them to succeed in such an environment thanks to:

  • More workplace opportunities as a result of a more diverse education.
  • A business-focused educational approach that includes the 14 foundational competencies set forth by the American Library Association’s Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA), including team-building, critical thinking, and project management.
  • An experience-based education, taught by practitioners with years of experience in the field, that teaches students how to work effectively, both alone and with a team.
  • The ability to further your career by achieving higher leadership roles.
  • Greater flexibility and adaptability with experience in both management and information science.

The Value of a Master’s Degree

The job of a librarian has vastly evolved in the digital age. According to the American Library Association:

“[T]he expanding amount of information available continues to require professionals who can find, sort and process it. As a result, librarians increasingly are working for private corporations, nonprofit organizations and consulting firms. Others are becoming independent information professionals, also called information brokers, and setting up businesses to research and manage information for clients.”

Modern librarians must be able to navigate the digital world in order to catalog both physical and digital resources in databases. Librarians now require an education far beyond an understanding of the Dewey Decimal System. Advanced students of library science who have furthered their education through an MMLIS degree are given instruction in valuable analytical and organizational skills. By integrating library science, informational science, and business, this master’s degree provides a broader background that students can apply across a wide variety of industries.

MMLIS Degree vs. MLIS Degree

The Master of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS) and the Master of Library & Information Science (MLIS) are two degrees that can prepare a student for a career in the library and information management fields. But only an MMLIS can prepare a student for the demands placed on everyday librarians to manage and lead.

MLIS Degree

  • Provides students with the knowledge necessary to organize and analyze information.
  • Teaches students how to manage databases and library organization systems.
  • Prepares students to identify problems within libraries and other information systems and provides the tools to remedy problems, improve institutions, and streamline processes.
  • Prepares students for positions in public, private, and government sectors which may include librarian, information architect, or systems analyst.

However, this degree does not provide the management and leadership components of an MMLIS, which may help students climb higher on the career ladder. Also, when they are assigned management tasks only the MMLIS will have prepared them to properly accomplish those tasks.

MMLIS Degree

The MMLIS degree delivers the same organizational and information knowledge that MLIS degree does. Additionally, the MMLIS degree:

  • Provides students with a business education, including leadership skills, which they can implement to manage information centers in business, government, and academic environments.
  • Uses experienced-based learning with many teamwork-centered activities to prepare students to work with colleagues and employees in future professional situations.
  • Offers learning centered on experiences with information systems, such as course LIM 503: Information Description, Organization, and Retrieval, but also allows students to gain practical leadership experience through courses like GBSA 502: Management Communication for Leaders.
  • In addition to career opportunities accessible to MLIS graduates, MMLIS graduates may have access to a wider array of opportunities thanks to the additional leadership and business experience that an MMLIS provides.
    • Library Administrator
    • Branch Manager
    • Database Administrator
    • Webmaster
    • Digital Assets Manager
    • Policy Analyst
    • Analytics Manager
    • Chief Corporate Librarian

Graduates with an MMLIS degree may also have higher level opportunities. Those of which often require both business and management skills as well as a thorough knowledge of library and information science according to PayScale.

The MMLIS Can Lead to Higher-Level Careers

Both the MLIS and MMLIS degrees can provide a well-rounded educational experience that’s designed to equip students for a future in library and information science. However, while both degrees may provide a course of education that covers the use of basic informational organizational systems, the additional management and leadership skills taught through the MMLIS degree often make it a strong choice for students looking to build a career in the library & information science fields.

Since the MMLIS program is offered through the Marshall School of Business students receive an education in business, management and leadership. They are presented with the opportunity to develop a unique skill set that may qualify them for a greater variety of jobs. Graduates of an MMLIS program become more flexible and capable of participating in a far wider array of positions within the library and information science industries.

An education in library science is excellent for those with a thirst for learning and a passion for information and organization. However, the right degree can prepare students with such interests for success for a broader range of professional positions that combine business, leadership, and information systems. Those who pursue a Master of Management in Library and Information Science degree through the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, a top-25 business school, will have access to one of the most prestigious colleges in the country. The versatility of this degree combined with the award-winning education available from USC makes this a strong choice for your educational future.


My University Money
Simmons Library
American Library Association
Learn How to Become
Bureau of Labor Statistics