How to Become a Librarian

How to Become a Librarian

Becoming a librarian is an exciting career option for those who have a passion for books and a desire to help others. Librarians play a crucial role in our society by promoting literacy, providing access to information, and connecting people with resources. If you’re someone who loves the potential that libraries hold and wants to make a difference in the lives of others, then a career as a librarian might be the perfect fit for you.

Before diving into the steps to become a librarian, it’s important to note that the path to this profession will vary depending on the state and institution you plan to work in. However, there are some general guidelines that will apply across the board.



In most cases, a high level of education is required to become a librarian. Many libraries and schools will require a master’s degree in library and information sciences. These programs typically cover a wide range of topics, including library management, user experience, academic research, and more. Some programs may also require coursework in education or teacher certification.

In addition to formal education, having practical experience in a library setting can greatly enhance your chances of landing a librarian position. Consider volunteering or working part-time in a library while completing your studies. This will not only give you valuable hands-on experience, but it will also allow you to network with professionals in the field and learn more about the day-to-day responsibilities of a librarian.

Once you have completed your education and gained some experience, the next step is to obtain any necessary certifications. While certification requirements vary by state and institution, many librarians choose to pursue professional-level certifications to demonstrate their expertise and commitment to the field. Some certifications to consider include the Certified Public Librarian (CPL) and Certified Academic Librarian (CAL).

Now that you have the education, experience, and certifications, it’s time to start applying for librarian positions. Keep in mind that the job market for librarians can be competitive, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on current trends and technologies within the field. Attend conferences, join professional organizations, and participate in meetings to stay connected with other librarians and learn about new opportunities.



In your job application, be sure to highlight your education, experience, and any relevant skills or achievements. It’s also important to tailor your application to each specific library or institution you’re applying to. Research the library’s mission, values, and collection to show that you’re a good fit for their organization.

Stay Up to Date

In order to thrive as a librarian and keep up with the rapidly changing field, it’s essential to stay up to date with the high demand for licensure and continuing education opportunities. The field of librarianship requires librarians to continually update their skills and knowledge to meet the evolving needs of library patrons.

Many states have specific educational and testing requirements for librarians, so it’s important to review the licensure requirements in your state. Continuing education programs and professional development opportunities can help you stay current with the latest trends in librarianship and further enhance your skills.



Joining professional organizations such as the American Library Association (ALA) and attending conferences and meetings can also provide valuable networking opportunities and keep you informed about emerging trends and changes within the field. These organizations often offer educational programs, workshops, and webinars to help librarians stay up to date.

Librarians may also want to consider earning advanced degrees or additional certifications to expand their career options. Specialized coursework in areas such as marketing, archival studies, or academic librarianship can give you a competitive edge in the job market.

In many cases, librarians are also responsible for reviewing and approving materials for library collections. Staying current with the latest literature and materials in your field can ensure that your library is offering the best resources to its users.

By staying up to date with the changing landscape of librarianship, you can continue to provide valuable services to your community and adapt to the evolving needs of library patrons. Whether it’s through attending conferences, pursuing continuing education opportunities, or simply staying informed about emerging trends, staying up to date is crucial for success as a librarian.

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How to Become a Librarian

Becoming a librarian can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice for those who have a passion for learning and a desire to help others. If you’re interested in this field, here is a step-by-step guide on how to become a librarian.

Educational Requirements

Most librarian positions require a master’s degree in library and information sciences or a related field. To pursue this degree, you’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent and a bachelor’s degree in any major. Some institutions may also require specific coursework in library studies or related subjects.

Learn and Gain Experience

While earning your degree, it’s important to gain practical experience in libraries. This can be done through internships, part-time jobs, or volunteering at local libraries. These experiences will not only give you a better understanding of library operations but will also provide you with valuable skills that can be applied in your future career as a librarian.

Stay Up-to-Date

Librarians must stay informed about emerging trends, technologies, and practices within the field. Attend workshops, conferences, and local library association meetings to learn from others and stay up-to-date on the latest developments in librarianship.

Meet Certification Requirements

Once you have completed your master’s degree, you may need to obtain certification to become a librarian. This requirement varies across states and institutions, so it’s important to research the specific requirements for the location you wish to work in. Organizations like the American Library Association can provide guidance on certification processes and requirements.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for librarians is expected to be stable, with a slight decline in some areas. However, there are still opportunities in academic, public, and special libraries. Librarians also have the option to work in archival, museum, or other information-related careers. The demand for librarians may shift, but the need for information professionals will remain.

Earnings and Benefits

Librarian salaries vary depending on the location, type of library, and level of experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for librarians was $60,820 in May 2020. Librarians may also have access to benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.

Becoming a librarian is a process that requires dedication, ongoing learning, and a passion for helping others. By following these steps and staying proactive in your professional development, you can pursue a successful career in librarianship and contribute to the ever-changing world of information sciences.

How Do You Become a Librarian

Becoming a librarian requires a specific educational process that will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in this field. If you’re interested in becoming a librarian, here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate through the requirements and steps involved:

Educational Requirements

To become a librarian, you will need to earn a master’s degree in library and information sciences. This professional-level degree is offered by many universities and colleges across the United States. Some programs also require a bachelor’s degree in a related field, while others may accept candidates with any undergraduate degree.

It’s important to stay up to date with the changing trends in librarianship, as libraries are constantly adapting to new technologies and user needs. Many librarians also choose to pursue additional education or certifications to enhance their career prospects and stay competitive.

Experience and Licensure

While earning your degree, it’s essential to gain practical experience through internships or part-time library work. This experience will provide you with valuable hands-on knowledge of library operations and help build your professional network.

Upon completing your degree, you will need to obtain licensure or certification to practice as a librarian. Requirements vary across states, but most states require passing a licensure examination or meeting specific criteria established by the state’s licensing board.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

As a librarian, your education doesn’t end after obtaining your degree and licensure. Librarianship is an evolving field, and it’s crucial to stay informed about emerging trends, technologies, and research in library sciences.

Many librarians join professional associations such as the American Library Association (ALA) to stay connected with their peers and access valuable resources. These associations often offer workshops, conferences, and online courses to help librarians stay current in their profession.

Job Outlook and Earnings

The job outlook for librarians varies across different types of libraries and geographical locations. Public libraries, school libraries, and academic libraries each have unique hiring requirements and potential for advancement.

The earnings of librarians can also vary depending on factors such as education, experience, and location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for librarians in the United States was $60,820 as of May 2020.

Marketing Yourself

When applying for librarian positions, it’s essential to market yourself effectively. Highlight your educational background, relevant experience, and any specialized skills or knowledge you possess.

Prepare a professional resume and cover letter that showcases your qualifications and accomplishments. Be sure to tailor your application materials to each specific job opportunity to increase your chances of getting an interview.

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Keeping Up with a Changing Field

Libraries are constantly evolving as they respond to the changing needs of their users. Librarians must be adaptable and willing to learn new skills to keep up with these changes.

Attend workshops, conferences, and seminars to learn about the latest advancements in library sciences. Stay informed about emerging technologies and trends in information management and library services.

Becoming a librarian is a rewarding career path for those who are passionate about promoting learning and providing access to educational materials. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can embark on the journey to become a librarian and contribute to the development of libraries and knowledge dissemination.

Education Requirements

Becoming a librarian requires a solid education background. Most librarian positions in the United States require a master’s degree in library science (MLS) or a closely related field. Graduates of these programs learn about various aspects of librarianship, including information organization, collection development, reference services, and library management.

There are several options for earning a master’s degree in library science. Many universities offer MLS programs, including both on-campus and online options. In some cases, these programs may require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in a specific field or to complete certain prerequisite courses. It is important to review the specific requirements of each program before applying.

In addition to completing a master’s degree, aspiring librarians may also need to obtain state certification or licensure. Each state has its own requirements for librarianship certification, so it is important to check with the appropriate state agency to determine what is needed. Certification may involve passing an exam or meeting other criteria, such as completing a certain number of hours of library experience.

Librarians who plan to work in schools may have additional education requirements. Some states require school librarians to have a teaching license or a master’s degree in education. These additional requirements ensure that school librarians have the necessary background in educational theory and practice to support student learning.

In addition to formal education requirements, librarians should also stay up to date on emerging trends and technologies in the field. Many library associations and professional organizations offer continuing education programs and conferences where librarians can learn about new developments in librarianship. Keeping up with these trends can help librarians stay current and better serve their user communities.

Note that the education and licensure requirements for librarians may vary by state and institution, so it is important to carefully review the requirements of your specific area and potential employers. Some positions may require additional background checks or testing, especially for those working in public libraries or with electronic resources.

Overall, a solid education is a crucial step in becoming a librarian. By earning a master’s degree and staying current with industry trends, aspiring librarians can position themselves for a successful career in libraries and information science.

Earnings and Outlook

When it comes to the earnings of librarians, there is a wide range based on factors such as experience, education, and the specific type of library in which they work. According to the American Library Association, the median annual wage for librarians in the United States was $60,820 as of May 2020. However, it’s important to note that this is just an average and some librarians earn more while others earn less.

The outlook for librarians is changing, much like many other professions in today’s digital age. While the demand for librarians in public schools and traditional library settings may be declining, there is an increasing need for information professionals in a variety of other fields. Librarians are now playing crucial roles in managing and organizing digital resources, providing research assistance, and curating online content.

Education and Licensure Requirements

Becoming a librarian typically requires obtaining a master’s degree in library and information sciences from an American Library Association (ALA)-accredited institution. In some cases, those with a teaching background may be able to become a school librarian without a master’s degree in library science, but this varies by state and school district. It’s important to review the specific requirements of your state and institution if you’re considering this career path.

In addition to the educational requirements, librarians may need to obtain licensure or certification. Licensure requirements vary by state and may include completing additional coursework, passing a licensing exam, or gaining work experience. Librarians working in academic settings may also need to meet faculty requirements and earn tenure in order to promote their careers.

Career Options and Advancement

Librarians have a wide range of career options and can work in various types of libraries, including public, academic, research, and special libraries. They may also choose to specialize in specific areas such as children’s librarianship, digital librarianship, or archival work. Librarians can also explore opportunities in areas like information technology, digital asset management, or user experience design.

As librarians gain experience and expertise, they can advance to managerial or administrative roles within their organizations. This may involve overseeing a library system, managing a team of librarians, or becoming a library director. Some librarians also choose to pursue doctoral degrees and work in research or academic positions.

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Application Process

Once you have decided that a career in librarianship is the right path for you, the next step is to start the application process. This process may vary depending on the institution, state, or country you are applying to, but there are general steps that you will need to follow.

Educational Requirements

Most libraries require candidates to have a Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences (MLIS) or a related field. Some institutions may also accept a Bachelor’s degree in library studies or a similar discipline, but having a MLIS will open up more opportunities for advancement in your career.

It’s important to note that each program may have specific coursework requirements, so be sure to check with the institution to ensure you meet all their prerequisites. Some programs also require or recommend having work experience in a library or related field before applying.

Application Materials

When applying to become a librarian, you will typically need to submit an application package that includes your resume or curriculum vitae (CV), a cover letter, and professional references. These documents should highlight your educational background, work experience, and any relevant skills or certifications.

In some cases, institutions may also require background checks or additional materials, such as a writing sample or published work. Be sure to carefully review the application requirements and provide all requested documents.

Interviews and Meetings

If your application is selected, you may be invited for an interview or multiple interviews. These interviews can take place in person, over the phone, or via video conference. The purpose of these interviews is for the institution to assess your qualifications, experience, and fit for the librarian position.

In addition to interviews, you may also be asked to attend meetings or complete additional tasks as part of the application process. These meetings and tasks can vary widely depending on the institution and the specific position you are applying for.

Professional Associations and Certifications

While not always required, joining professional associations and earning certifications can be beneficial for your career as a librarian. The American Library Association (ALA) is one such association that offers resources, networking opportunities, and professional development programs for librarians.

There are also various certifications available that can demonstrate your expertise in specific areas of librarianship. For example, the Certified Public Librarian (CPL) certification is offered by some states and requires passing an exam to obtain. Research the certifications available in your specific area to see if there are any that align with your career goals.

Stay Up-to-Date with Emerging Trends

Librarianship is a constantly changing field, influenced by evolving technologies and the needs of library users. It’s important to stay up-to-date with emerging trends, attend conferences, and participate in continuing education programs to enhance your skills and knowledge base.

Libraries are not just about books anymore–they also promote learning, provide access to digital resources, and engage with users in innovative ways. By staying informed about industry trends and incorporating new strategies and technologies into your work, you can better meet the needs of library patrons and advance in your career.

YearEmployment OutlookEarnings Potential
2023According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of librarians is projected to grow 5% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations.The median annual wage for librarians was $60,820 in May 2020. Earnings can vary depending on the type of library, geographic location, and level of experience.

FAQ

What is the process to become a librarian?

To become a librarian, you need to follow a step-by-step guide that includes completing the necessary education requirements, passing testing requirements, gaining experience, and undergoing background checks.

What are the education requirements to become a librarian?

The education requirements to become a librarian typically include obtaining a master’s degree in library science or information science from an accredited university or college.

What are the testing requirements to become a librarian?

The testing requirements to become a librarian may vary depending on the state or organization you are applying to. Some states require librarians to pass a certification exam, while others may have additional tests or assessments.

Do you need experience to become a librarian?

Yes, gaining experience is an important part of becoming a librarian. Many positions require applicants to have relevant work experience, which can be acquired through internships, volunteer work, or part-time jobs in libraries or related fields.

What is the expected salary and job outlook for librarians?

The salary and job outlook for librarians can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and type of library. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for librarians in 2020 was $60,820, and the job outlook is projected to decline by 2% from 2019 to 2029.

How do I become a librarian?

To become a librarian, you will need to follow a step-by-step process. First, you should obtain a bachelor’s degree in any field. Then, you will need to complete a master’s degree program in library science or a related field. After earning your degree, you may need to pass a state examination or obtain a certification, depending on your location. Finally, you can apply for librarian positions and gain experience in the field.

What are the education requirements to become a librarian in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, to become a librarian, you will need to obtain a master’s degree in library science or a related field from an accredited institution. The program must include a minimum of 36 semester hours of graduate coursework. Additionally, you must complete a course in North Carolina history and another course in instructional technology.

Dave Pennells

By Dave Pennells

Dave Pennells, MS, has contributed his expertise as a career consultant and training specialist across various fields for over 15 years. At City University of Seattle, he offers personal career counseling and conducts workshops focused on practical job search techniques, resume creation, and interview skills. With a Master of Science in Counseling, Pennells specializes in career consulting, conducting career assessments, guiding career transitions, and providing outplacement services. Her professional experience spans multiple sectors, including banking, retail, airlines, non-profit organizations, and the aerospace industry. Additionally, since 2001, he has been actively involved with the Career Development Association of Australia.