How to Become a Librarian

How to become a librarian is fairly straight forward. First, you must complete the education credentials. Then, you must gather experience in the field. It is also important that you research the various librarian careers available in case any extra steps apply.


Necessary Steps to Becoming a Librarian

The first step to becoming a librarian is education. A master's degree in library science or the equivalent [Master of Librarianship (ML), Master of Information Studies (MIS), or Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS)] is required. It is important that this program is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). There are currently 63 accredited programs in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. In order to apply for a master's degree program in library science, you must have a bachelor's degree. That bachelor's degree, however, does not necessarily have to be in library science. Also, most programs will require letters of recommendation, essays, and GRE scores for admittance. For leadership positions, one may acquire a PhD in library science, but only a master's degree is necessary to become a librarian.

Second, it is important to gain experience in the field. As with any profession, to become a librarian, one must start at the bottom of the ladder and work their way up. Finding a job as a shelving clerk, a receptionist, collection clerk, or tech support specialist will all increase your chances of landing a librarian job after completing your master's degree. Employers hire people that show motivation and are familiar with the field. Therefore, to become a librarian, it is important that you find an entry-level job or an internship at a library while going to the university.

Becoming a librarian can mean a whole host of things. It would be wise to research the different librarian careers one can have before (or while) going to school. The public library, though a wonderful establishment, is not the only place a librarian can work. A librarian can work at all sorts of specialized libraries. For instance, there are librarians at elementary, middle, and high schools. Universities employ librarians for their vast academic libraries. Hospitals have libraries stocked with medical information. Law libraries stock hoards of legal documents. There is even such thing as a government library. Some of these libraries require extra education. Most states require public school librarians to have a teaching credential. Some law libraries require you to have a Juris Doctor in order to work there. Hospital libraries might require that the librarian have an idea of medical terminology or recent medical trends. So, you should research the many different librarian careers one may have. That way, you know what specific steps you have to take to become a librarian for whatever kind of library you wish to work in.

For most librarian jobs (those that are not in specialized libraries), all you really need is a master's degree in library science and some entry level experience or an internship. Becoming a librarian is like becoming anything else. Education and practice will get you where you want to be. So, what are you waiting for? Research master's degree programs and begin your campaign towards librarianship today.