How to Become a

Librarian

The complete career guide to be a Librarian: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $58,930
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 1.8%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

A librarian provides support services to all library patrons in all sections of a library. This includes oversight of library operations as well as assistance with informational, educational and recreational requirements.


What is a Librarian?

Duties

The duties of a librarian are as specified below:

  • Responsible for planning and presenting suitable library programming for children and adults as per service-area demographics and requirements of the community, i.e. summer reading program, movie screenings, reading assistance program.
  • Actively provide information and assistance to patrons with regard to using the library collection, finding specific research via online databases, and receiving interlibrary loan materials for circulation.
  • Monitor and sometimes carry out library operations such as opening and closing the building and its equipment, maintaining computer systems and the budget, producing of bibliographies or handouts.
  • Communicate and oversee compliance with all library protocols that involve customer privacy, error reports, access to mobile apps, item requests, etc.
  • Oversee the selection and acquiring of appropriate library materials to existing resources for children and adults, as per the national standards and selection regulations.

Day In The Life

As a public, private or academic librarian, you are not only responsible for maintaining and accurately storing information but also helping patrons to access it for their knowledge, education or entertainment. Depending on the type of role, you may be responsible for supporting a particular population like at a college or university setting, or the larger community at a public library facility.  To ensure that readers get the library materials that they need, you will work towards simplifying and updating reference resources like catalogues.

Besides being highly organized, you must also double as an informed and reliable source of information to any patron that enquires. In addition, a librarian must work to promote the library as a public space for community building through reading programmes, special events, storytelling sessions and more. Further, librarians are entrusted with the task of expanding collections at the library, based on the type of audience, allotted budget and demand.

Work Schedule

Librarians must work full-time unless there is an occasional opening for temporary or part-time work. Typically, you can expect to work for 40 hours every week which can include evenings, nights, weekends and holidays. If you work as a school librarian, your schedule would synchronize with teachers and you can enjoy the summer off. In case your role is as a corporate or law librarian, there are regular business hours which can extend based on looming deadlines.

Growth Of The Job

Growth of employment for librarians is expected to be at 7% between 2012 and 2022. With sufficient experience, librarians move on to senior positions like that of a manager or a specialist regarding certain archives and collections. Librarians will continue to be in demand for managing libraries and helping patrons to track down information efficiently.

You can expect fierce competition for jobs with a limited number of available positions early in the decade. This is slowly transitioning as older workers will retire and higher population growth will create more openings in this field. Those with valuable skills such as analytical reasoning and research can also explore alternative career options like that of a information system manager or market researcher.

Typical Employers

Librarians work with private or public libraries across the country. The library you choose to work with can belong to the community, a charity, a school district, university, college, government authority or private company.


How To Become a Librarian

To begin a career in this industry, you must complete a master’s degree in library science (MLS). Most MLS programs require a bachelor’s degree prior to joining – this can be a major in any subject.

An MLS program will take up to two years for completion. During this time, you will gain experience in relevant coursework like organizing large quantities of information, operating electronic reference systems, online search techniques, library resources and research methods.

It is important to note that a degree from a program that is accredited by the American Library Association has higher value and leads to better job prospects. In recent times, academic institutions often have other names for their library science programs, e.g. Master of Information Science, Master of Library and Information Studies, etc.

Based on the type of role you aspire to join, there are specialized libraries that are particular about the type of qualification you have, such as a master’s degree or professional degree in the specific subject.


Librarian Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$44,580

Average

$58,930

High Range

$88,530

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$21/hr

Average

$28/hr

High Range

$43/hr

How do Librarian salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Librarian's can make an average annual salary of $58,930, or $28 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $44,580 or $21 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #283 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally


Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Librarian. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.


Highest Education Among Librarians

  • 5.1%   Doctorate
  • 57%   Masters
  • 23.1%   Bachelors
  • 4.3%   Associates
  • 9.9%   College
  • 0.4%   High School
  • 0.2%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

143,100

2024 Est. Jobs

145,700

Job Growth Rate

1.8%

Est. New Jobs

2,600

How does Librarian job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 2,600 jobs for a total of 145,700 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 1.8% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #556 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally


What Companies Employ The Most Librarians

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Elementary and secondary schools; local 45,100 -2,200 -2%
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 41,300 2,400 2%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; private 14,900 2,000 2%

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