16 Pros and Cons of Being a Librarian

Library

Being a librarian means being surrounded by books.

If you are an avid reader, you may not be able to think of a better place to work.

While the career has often been the butt of various jokes, it can also be very rewarding.

You will want to discover all of the pros and cons associated with this career to determine if it is the right one for you.

Pros of Being a Librarian

Librarians can have a lot of fun within their career field – especially when they find the right library to work within.

Understanding the pros can help you to decide if you want to move forward with this career choice.

1. It Provides a Peaceful Environment

Working as a librarian will provide you with one of the most peaceful environments.

If you are not a fan of loud music or noises, libraries are known for being silent.

In fact, many locations will even offer reminders to keep the noise level down to a whisper.

You can work in near silence as you complete your tasks for the day.

The only interactions will be with others who are looking to locate something – and even then, they are encouraged to be quiet about it.

2. You Are Surrounded by Books

Books are everywhere.

Depending on the type of library you work at, there will be fiction and nonfiction books, research texts, and so much more.

Just the smell of all of those leather-bound books could send your olfactory senses soaring.

If you love books, spending time in a library could be the best thing ever – and you will get paid for it.

3. Various Environments Exist

You can find a variety of environments to work in.

Much of it will depend on the career opportunities that exist near you.

Some libraries are open to the community – such as city or county libraries.

Others are private, which is what you will find in the case of universities and colleges as well as certain associations that maintain private libraries.

By being able to choose an environment, you can find one that offers the kind of work pace that you desire.

4. The Pay is Good

The average librarian or library media specialist, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, earns a median pay of $60,820.

This is a relatively high amount of pay, especially when you consider the level of work and the schedule consistency that you will enjoy.

There is also higher pay based on research as well as the different employers that are out there.

5. You Can Implement Various Programs

Many libraries stay open because of public support.

You will have the ability to create and implement various programs.

Depending on your audience, you may want to focus on programs regarding literacy, tutoring, and more.

You can attract various public speakers for special events, invite children to come out so that they can have reading corners, and more.

6. Plenty of Conferences to Go To

Going to various conferences is part of the fun of the job.

It gives you a chance to travel, meet other librarians, and find out what is new in the world of information.

You can learn about new book genres, hot authors, and even some of the latest IT innovations to help you enhance your library.

The conferences can be a great learning opportunity and the forums will be a chance to catch up on all of the latest trends.

7. There Is a Great Work-Life Balance

A work-life balance is not always easy to achieve.

Librarians, however, usually have no problem with it.

One of the reasons is because of a consistent schedule.

You are typically paid a salary instead of an hourly wage.

The added benefit of this is that if you are working on a tough project, you can call it a day and pick it up the next day.

Or, if you are done early, you can head home without feeling guilty.

8. You Can Avoid Long Hours

Libraries have set hours.

There typically are not any “library emergencies” that would require you to drop everything and work overtime.

By not working long hours, you can enjoy a dependable work week.

In many instances, you will work the same hours each and every week.

The only time you may be asked to work long hours is when there is a new project coming on board or there is a significant change in inventory – and these are things you are usually given advanced notice about.

9. It Is Virtually Stress-Free

Librarians do not face a lot of stress, and that is because of the overall environment that they work in.

You will not have to interact with a lot of people – and, in most instances, you will not be faced with tight deadlines.

This can make it a highly dependable job to go into without having to stress about different aspects.

The only time you may face stress is if you are in a research position or if you have to sit in on a meeting that has to do with funding.

Cons of Being a Librarian

Not all aspects of being a librarian are fun and exciting.

There are plenty of cons to working in a library, especially depending on the setting where you end up working.

Understanding the cons will help you to weigh them with the pros to help you decide if it is the career path you want to take.

1. Job Opportunities are Decreasing

Job opportunities are not as abundant as they once were.

Many libraries are closing due to budget cuts as well as because of people turning to e-books.

Additionally, computers are helping to eliminate a significant amount of staff that is necessary to run a library.

Although there are careers that deal with information that have a significant amount of job growth, librarians are not one of them.

2. It Can Get Lonely

Depending on the type of librarian that you are and where you work, it can be very lonely.

Many municipal budgets are dwindling, which means that public libraries may only employ one or two employees – leaving you by yourself for hours as you wait for people to come in to visit the library facilities.

Of course, some locations may be busy, but you still will not have a lot of friendly banter among coworkers.

3. There Is Not a Lot of Job Security

Job security is not always as strong as you think it is.

The job outlook according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is 9%, which indicates it is as fast as the average job on the market.

However, there are many instances where libraries are closing as well as implementing more computers to help with various tasks.

This means that you could be at risk of losing your job due to advanced computer systems.

4. It Requires a College Degree

The average librarian working for a government entity, or a university will hold a master’s degree.

This means that you will need to focus on obtaining a higher education degree before you consider entering this field.

While there are some small, paid internships available, the majority of the career opportunities out there will look for a minimum of a master’s degree.

Additionally, in order to stay competitive, the minor that you focus on may be the determining factor with many of the jobs on the market.

5. You Cannot Express Yourself Creativity

Librarians have to work within the confines of the library program.

While some city and county libraries will allow you to incorporate programs to promote literacy within the community, others will not.

You will be responsible for the collecting, organizing, and issuing of various resources – and the way in which those things are done are standardized.

It can leave you feeling creatively stunted at times, which may cause a significant amount of frustration.

6. Teleworking is Impossible

While some careers will allow you to telework, librarians are typically not one of them.

You will have to work within the library as that is where the inventory of books is from.

This means that if you are sick or there is another reason for wanting to work from home, you will not be able to do so – and this can cause you to use a significant amount of your sick time.

It also means you will not be able to enjoy any kind of environmental change throughout the workweek.

7. Social Status is Low

When you tell people that you are a librarian, it does not come with social status – despite having a master’s degree in many instances.

Many people associate librarians with being stuffy and boring.

While there are plenty of exciting opportunities that exist as a librarian, you will have to work to change people’s minds about who you are.

As long as you are up for the challenge of having people make assumptions about your career, you can manage through any social situation unscathed.

Pros and Cons of Being a Librarian – Summary Table

Pros of Being a LibrarianCons of Being a Librarian
It Provides a Peaceful EnvironmentJob Opportunities are Decreasing
You Are Surrounded by BooksIt Can Get Lonely
Various Environments ExistThere Is Not a Lot of Job Security
The Pay is GoodIt Requires a College Degree
You Can Implement Various ProgramsYou Cannot Express Yourself Creativity
Plenty of Conferences to Go ToTeleworking is Impossible
There Is a Great Work-Life BalanceSocial Status is Low
You Can Avoid Long Hours
It Is Virtually Stress-Free

Should You Become a Librarian?

If you are a bibliophile, becoming a library can seem like a dream come true.

As long as you get a good education and research your career opportunities, it can still be a very fulfilling job.

Be sure that you do all of the necessary research so you can be sure that you will be happy – and that your job will not be replaced by computers within a few years.

Jamie Willis