Librarian Educational Requirements

This article describes the educational requirements to become a librarian, the degrees, experience, skills and much more.

Updated by Rakshitha N on 6th June 2020

If you are an individual who loves reading, interacting with people and sharing resources and information, libraries are your happy place. Initially you might enjoy going to a library and ready, but gradually you might also develop a passion towards books and the job of a librarian.

A librarian is a professional who is concerned with monitoring the day-to-day activities of the library services. The roles include maintaining the cataloguing system in the library, lending books to the customer, providing customer services, research, instructions, technical services and other administrative tasks.

Usually a librarian can choose to employ at public libraries, universities, colleges and school libraries. 

If you are looking forward to becoming a librarian, all you need is a master’s degree in library science, experience and some states also require license. In this article, we will look at the education requirements in-depth to succeed in this profession.

Educational requirements

Librarians require extensive knowledge in library science and IT related concepts with a combination of skills such as being organized, systematic and managerial skills.

To get employed as a librarian, you require a master's degree in speciality fields. Also you may require certification and license to work at public libraries and public schools.

Undergraduate degree:

You can start off your career path with an undergraduate degree in any field of your choice. The 4 year program gives you eligibility to pursue a graduate degree. You are also required to maintain a good GPA of above 3.0 or a B grade to get admission to the graduate program. You also need a high score in standardized tests, recommendation letters, an unique essay to represent yourself in your application. Finding it difficult to choose the right college for you? Here is an extensive list of the best colleges for an undergraduate degree program according to majors.

Usually a bachelor’s degree in library science includes courses such as Classification and cataloging, networking, records management, storytelling, public speaking and other. 

Graduate degree: 

From the employers perspective, applicants are required to earn a master’s degree to become a librarian. The common master’s degree programs are Master of Library and Information Science and Master of Library Science (MLS) which are accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). The MLS program takes about 1.5 to 2 years to complete the course work which includes library management, cataloging, information science, research methods, reference resources, library collections development, bibliographies and program planning. 


Specialization

Prospective students choose to pursue their degree with general library or information science as their majors. However some students also choose to specialize in archival or art librarianship as their course concentrations. In other cases students are also offered an ALA-accredited MLS degree program plus a second masters degree in other relevant fields such as law, etc. 


Experience

After graduation from a program, you can choose to gain working experience by interning at a near-by library, become an assistant librarian under the experienced librarian and volunteer for a group project. Some libraries also provide opportunities to students to learn the techniques, IT related information to perform tasks at a library.


Licensure

After completion of your education, you aim at becoming a librarian at a public school, city, county or state library system and these jobs require you to earn a license according to state regulations. You get the eligibility to obtain a license by earning a graduate degree in library education, professional state certification and a teaching license.


Skills

There are certain skills apart from acquiring education which help you to become a good librarian. The following are listed,

  • Strong communication skills

  • Managerial skills

  • Good computer related knowledge

  • Analytical thinking

  • Researching skills

  • Being Organized

  • Time management