How Do I Become a Children's Librarian?

Jessica F. Black

Most libraries prefer that you have a master's degree in a library science discipline to become a children's librarian. This profession involves interacting with children and young adults, and planning activities, as well as performing research, and supervisory duties. A master's degree in library and information science generally takes at least six years to complete and may significantly improve your chances to become a children's librarian. Aside from public or private libraries, many school districts hire children's librarians for school libraries, but there may be additional requirements for these positions.

A children's librarian may plan activities, such as arts and crafts sessions.
A children's librarian may plan activities, such as arts and crafts sessions.

Many universities offer bachelor degree programs in library science; this program may take at least four years to complete. Two of the core courses that you may need to take to become a children's librarian are understanding information and organizing and retrieving information. Other courses that you may need to take include information policy, preservation management, archival representation, and information management. During your studies, you may want to consider seeking employment at your university library or a local public library. Experience is generally required to become a children's librarian and if you intend to work in a school, you may need to complete several additional teacher certification requirements.

Children's librarians should be knowledgeable but also patient.
Children's librarians should be knowledgeable but also patient.

Once you have completed your bachelor's degree you should enter a graduate program that focuses on children and youth library services. Some of the courses that you may want to consider enrolling in are resources for children, history of children's literature, storytelling, and library sources for young adults. Many graduate courses in this discipline may require that you complete field practicums which can prepare you to become a children's librarian. Practicums are excellent experience opportunities that may give you a chance to work closely with children, while observing library operations. Field work is important because many of the duties that you will perform once you enter this profession are based on interacting with children and young adults.

You may be responsible for planning activities or programs for children at the library and many locations offer a variety of arts and crafts or storytelling sessions. In addition to scheduling and preparing for programs, you may be required to help children and young adults locate library materials on a daily basis. Artistic creativity can also be beneficial in this field because you may need to create book displays, flyers, or brochures for the library. Library systems and information technology is constantly evolving and you may need to attend conferences or workshops to remain up-to-date on library innovations.

It is important that a children's librarian know how to interact well with children.
It is important that a children's librarian know how to interact well with children.

Discussion Comments

pleonasm

@umbra21 - I suspect that experience with kids might be more of an advantage when applying for a job in this area than a degree in libraries. I guess, ideally, you would want to have both, since I think it's probably quite a popular job.

umbra21

@Ana1234 - It does depend though. I mean, if you just want a part time job, or a minimum wage job, you don't need qualifications. But if you really want to be a part of the library system and have the opportunity to do things like order books or develop programs for children, then you will need to have a degree in library science, or something similar.

And these days it's so difficult to get a good job you might need the degree to get any kind of job. One of my good friends has a Masters of library science and he searched for months before he got a job at a library. And I don't think he's really using the degree at all. He told me he's basically teaching computer literacy and occasionally shelving books.

Ana1234

It really depends on what kind of job you're hoping for as to what kinds of qualifications you need. I worked at a library for a while as a college job and I didn't have any special qualifications. It was essentially just another customer service job, although, of course, it probably helped that I really love books.

Basically all I was doing was issuing and shelving books and occasionally helping people with using the computers and things like that.

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