How to Become a Librarian

So you are looking for a job that marries your love of books, with your need for peace and quiet? Why don’t you become a librarian? Don’t know how? Just keep reading.

Step 1: Do your research

Research the art of library science, what being a librarian is all about, and all the potential career paths available to librarians. Some standard jobs include K-12 school librarian, city librarian, law librarian, university librarian, digital librarian, and supervisor. Understanding this early on can help determine degrees to obtain. A Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS), also known as MLS, is a popular choice for future librarians.

Step 2: Complete a Bachelor’s degree

This can be in any discipline, but completing an undergraduate degree that will complement a Master’s in Library and Information Science degree will only help later. For instance, people who become school librarians may get a bachelor’s degree in education. Undergraduate degrees in library science are offered at most colleges but not required. So, any bachelor’s degree can lead to a career as a librarian.

Step 3: Find the best program for you

Since programs may vary in focus, it’s essential to ensure the program works with your career goals. For instance, if a program concentrates on youth services, and you want to be a librarian in a science library, you probably need to keep looking. Many MLIS programs don’t have a particular focus or may offer an MLIS degree with some concentration regions. This may be the best pathway for students who plan on specializing in one of the offered concentrations.

Step 4: Become employed at a library

Most libraries have part-time positions and may be willing to work around an employee’s schedule. While this step isn’t necessary, it’s an excellent way to gain valuable work experience, network with other people in the field, and work up the ladder while completing a Master’s in Library and Information Science degree. If this isn’t possible, volunteering is also a great way to get a foot in the door.

Step 5: Discover what licenses and credentials are needed

In addition to the MLIS degree, this may vary from state to state. Many states, like New York, require assessment and certification after degree completion, while other states don’t, or may only require specific types of librarians to be certified, such as k-12 librarians. Certification may be required for various reasons, such as keeping public funding or working with children.

Step 6: Complete a Master’s in Library and Information Science degree

This quality of education is what many libraries want when hiring a librarian. There are other pathways to becoming a librarian; an MLIS degree is a straight path and will qualify graduates for many different librarian jobs.

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