How to Become a Librarian

A librarian directs daily activities in academic, public, elementary, and secondary school libraries and also makes plans for their library’s future. These professionals curate library content collections and support users in finding and using library resources.

A librarian frequently guides group educational activities such as storytime for young kids and workshops on subjects such as conducting research or using the Internet.


Library scientists, as they are sometimes called, also oversee library activities by budget planning, hiring and managing personnel, and selecting library materials. If you’re thinking of launching a career in this field, read on to learn more about the profession.

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Training for Librarians

Many jobs in this profession require a degree from a program approved by the American Library Association (ALA) in the library or information science field. Library science programs, as long as they have a bachelor’s degree, welcome students from all types of educational backgrounds. Having a high GPA undergraduate and a senior Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score, as well as persuasive letters of recommendation, will help in the admissions process.

Students in library science programs, as defined by the ALA, take courses to prepare them for the core library skills. We learn about the profession’s roots, including its history and values, emerging library trends, and the law as it relates to libraries. Students also learn how to evaluate, select, buy, process, store, and eventually de-select materials about information resources. Additional courses focus on developing and managing collections and organizing library resources.


Many of the latest library developments are linked to technological advances, and the ALA encourages library science programs to prepare students with practical knowledge and skills. Students need to familiarize themselves with various information, communication, and assistive technologies and learn how to evaluate and deploy technology products in a library setting. Today, technology is changing, students also learn how to identify rising trends and goods, and determine if and how to include them in their current practice.

Certifications as a Librarian

It may be required to receive a teacher certificate for librarians who want to work in public elementary and secondary schools. The state sets its own teacher certification standards, but in most cases, by obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree and passing a licensing test, librarians will need to fulfill educational requirements. School Library Monthly maintains a website detailing the licensing requirements in each state for school workers.

Many states require a license from all public librarians. Public workers need to hold a master’s degree in library science from an ALA-accredited program in many jurisdictions, but some states are proposing different licensing educational standards. The ALA Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) outlines on its website criteria for licensing public librarians.


Average Salary as a Librarian

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median annual wage for this career was $59,050 in May 2018. However, the median yearly pay for librarians in the United States was $55,370 in 2012.

Where to Apply for a Job as a Librarian

You can browse for librarian vacancies on general job search websites or through the ALA, state boards, or school districts’ job listings. Using the professional network you create through your library science program, you can also learn about job openings. Since the librarian job market at this time is not perfect, you should be prepared to look for opportunities that might allow you to move to another location.

After gaining some experience working in libraries as a student or volunteer, you can improve your job prospects. Highlighting any experience you may have in related fields such as social media, advertising, web design, and graphic design can also assist you in searching for a job.

After getting an education and training, you can also apply to any related jobs on these websites.

  • Indeed – Indeed is a leading job search platform in today’s market.
  • GovernmentJobs – GovernmentJobs is a job search engine for federal, state, and city jobs.
  • ZipRecruiter – ZipRecruiter is a well-regarded job search engine.


Librarians will continue to grow throughout their careers by pursuing additional training, attending conferences, engaging in professional associations, and serving in their libraries’ planning committees. Librarians can be promoted to roles of greater responsibility by gaining experience and pursuing professional development.

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