Librarian: How to Become a Librarian

Published Aug 30, 2009

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A love of research and knowledge combined with a desire to help others can provide the foundation to become a Librarian. Librarians help people find information in many forms of media, from archived newspapers to new DVDs. A graduate degree in library science, like the Master of Science in Library Science, is a common requirement for Librarians.

Librarian Career Summary

Librarians have three main roles: acquiring and cataloging materials, administration and management of the library, and helping people find information. In larger organizations, an individual Librarian will be in charge of only one of these areas, while in a smaller library one Librarian may have a hand in all three. Advancements in technology mean Librarians now deal with electronic media in addition to print. They help patrons use the Internet and electronic catalogs to find resources and information. Librarians also use computerized databases to manage stock between several libraries in a regional system.

Librarians must be familiar with library materials. They choose additions to library inventory, make recommendations, write reviews and compile collections. Librarians also organize community events such as book clubs and storytelling for children.

Education Required to Become a Librarian

Applicants for some Librarian jobs may only need a 4-year degree in any field, but most Librarian positions require a Master of Library Science degree. Students must have previously earned a 4-year degree to enroll in a library science master's degree program. The program typically takes 1-2 years to complete. Earning a library science degree from a school accredited by the American Library Association can be helpful when looking for work, and some employers hire only graduates from ALA-accredited programs.

A Master of Library Science degree program includes courses in cataloging and classification, information services and database design. Students learn about the history of libraries, educational resources for children and archival techniques.

Job Training and Certifications Required to Become a Librarian

Most states require Librarians to be certified to work in public libraries and school libraries. The qualifications to be certified vary by state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, (, Librarians in about half of all states must have teacher certification to work in public schools.

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