How to Become a Librarian

A librarian is responsible for far more than lending out books.

Today’s librarians are highly skilled information technicians, researchers, and administrators.

To be successful as a librarian you’ll need to be organized, be good at studying and research, and of course love books and reading.

Education Requirements to Become a Librarian

If you’re in high school you can start working towards becoming a librarian right away.

See if you can volunteer in your school’s library, or get a part-time job at your local library on weekends.

Both will be excellent work experience.

Taking subjects in English, literature, psychology, and information technology will also help.

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Librarians need to have very strong skills with computers and database management, so developing good computer literacy now will help you later on.

Another good skill is a second language.

You might like to study this at high school, or while at college, or just later on in your own time.

To become a librarian, you will most likely have a four year bachelor’s degree, while those in senior positions will hold a master’s qualification in library management or information systems.

Your undergraduate degree does not really need to have any particular major in order for you to become a librarian, but a diverse educational background may give you an advantage if you apply for a Master’s program.

You can get an entry level role in a library with a bachelor’s degree, however in order to gain promotion and advancement you will need to have a postgraduate degree.

Librarian Job Description

Depending on their role, and the type of library they work in, a librarian could be responsible for a wide range of duties.

An entry level librarian, or page, is responsible for putting away books and handling customer inquiries.

Senior librarians will perform more complex duties like ordering books, budgets, and maintaining databases.

Here are some typical duties of a librarian:

  • Checking out books
  • Returning books to shelves
  • Following up late books
  • Answer customer questions
  • Helping students with homework
  • Purchasing new books
  • Issuing library cards
  • Assist people with research
  • Perform their own research
  • Managing other staff

Librarian Salary and Career Path

The career path you follow as a librarian will depend on what kind of facility you work in as well as the type of work you are interested in.

Librarians may work in smaller community libraries, the school system, or at large university libraries.

Many law firms and other businesses to keep their own library and require the services of a librarian.

Here are some different roles you could work on once you become a librarian.

Page – A page is responsible for returning books to shelves and keeping the library in good order.

There are many casual and part-time opportunities for pages.

Typical salary for a page is between $5.00 and $8.00 an hour.

Library Assistant/Technician – Assist with customer inquiries, checking out books, new memberships and administrative duties.
Librarian – Maintain online databases, complete research, help customers with homework and research questions, purchase new books and materials, maintain library websites, and run training and development programs.
Library Manager – Operate library departments or branches, complete staff rosters, run staff meetings, help settle dispute or solve problems, handle complaints, and hire and fire staff.
Library Directors – Usually employed in larger libraries, oversee several library branches, deal with promotion and public relations, run education campaigns, oversee budgets, develop policies.

The median salary of a librarian is around $50,000 a year.

Those in urban areas will attract a higher wage than those who are working in rural areas.

The top 10% of librarians earn in excess of $80,000 a year.

If you love books and research, as well as working with people and communities, then a role as a librarian will suit you well.

There is some study involved but also good job security and prospects for advancement.

Many librarians report a high level of satisfaction in their role, there is a very small turnover in this industry as very few people ever leave their jobs.

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