How to Become a Librarian

Does this image look like your ideal work setting?  When a student talks to me about an interest in being a librarian, it is usually due to their strong interest in books.  Let’s dive deeper to learn more about the day-to-day work of a librarian, as well as the educational requirements.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) summarizes a librarian’s work as “help[ing] people find information from many sources. Most librarians, such as those in public and academic libraries, maintain library collections and do other work as needed to keep the library running.”  Sounds a little different than getting paid to read books all day, doesn’t it?  Follow the OOH link to learn more about this profession.

“Most librarians need a Master’s degree in library science” or information science, according to the OOH, but the good thing is that no specific undergraduate major is required.  An exception would be school librarians, since a teacher certification, work experience, and a school librarian certificate are typical requirements.  The OOH indicates that students who complete a Master’s degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association will likely find better job opportunities.

48 thoughts on “How to Become a Librarian”

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  12. Thank you for shedding light on the reality of working as a librarian and dispelling the misconception that it simply involves reading books all day. The information you shared from the Occupational Outlook Handbook provides valuable insights into the day-to-day responsibilities and educational requirements of librarians.

    It’s interesting to learn that librarians play a crucial role in helping people find information from various sources and are responsible for maintaining library collections. The fact that most librarians need a Master’s degree in library science or information science highlights the level of expertise and specialized knowledge required for this profession.

    The flexibility in undergraduate majors for aspiring librarians is certainly a positive aspect, except for school librarians who have additional requirements. The recommendation to pursue a Master’s degree from an American Library Association accredited program for better job opportunities is an important point to consider for those interested in this field.

    Thank you once again for providing these insights. In relation to the topic, I have a question: What are some other skills or qualities that you believe are important for a successful career as a librarian?

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  14. Becoming a librarian requires a combination of education, skills, and experience. Here are some steps you can take to pursue a career as a librarian:

    Obtain a bachelor’s degree: While a specific undergraduate degree is not always required, it can be beneficial to study a field related to library science, such as English, literature, or information science.

    Earn a master’s degree in library science: Consider pursuing a Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) or a similar program. These programs provide essential knowledge and skills for librarianship, including cataloging, information organization, reference services, and library management.

    Gain practical experience: Look for internships, part-time positions, or volunteer opportunities in libraries to gain hands-on experience in the field. This experience will enhance your understanding of library operations and give you a competitive edge when applying for librarian positions.

    Develop strong communication and interpersonal skills: Librarians often interact with diverse individuals and need effective communication skills to assist patrons and collaborate with colleagues. Focus on honing your communication, listening, and customer service skills.

    Stay updated on current trends: The library field is constantly evolving with advancements in technology and changing information needs. Stay informed about new technologies, digital resources, and trends in library science through professional development opportunities, conferences, and networking.

    Consider specialization: Depending on your interests and career goals, you may choose to specialize in a specific area within librarianship, such as children’s services, digital librarianship, academic libraries, or archives. Specialization can open up unique career opportunities and allow you to develop expertise in a particular field.

    Obtain certification (optional): Some librarians pursue optional certifications, such as the Certified Librarian or Specialist certifications offered by the American Library Association (ALA). These certifications can demonstrate your commitment to professional growth and enhance your job prospects.

    Remember, each library or institution may have its specific requirements and preferences for librarian positions, so it’s important to research and tailor your qualifications accordingly. Good luck on your journey to becoming a librarian!

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    “Getting paid to read books all day” – I can’t count how many times I’ve heard this misconception about librarians! Your piece brilliantly shatters those age-old librarian stereotypes, painting a vivid and genuine portrait of their role! It’s not merely about the allure of books; it’s a dynamic dance of guidance, education, and navigating the expansive sea of information I appreciate the inclusion of the educational requirements and the shoutout to the OOH for a more in-depth look. While a passion for books might be the spark, this role demands a plethora of skills and dedication. Cheers to all the unsung heroes behind those towering bookshelves, ensuring we find the right knowledge!

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