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How Do I Choose the Best Librarian Courses?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

If you plan to become a librarian or already are one, you may need to take librarian courses to either begin or further your career. When choosing appropriate educational options, it's important to consider where you are in your career, the skills that you need to develop, as well as your own personal circumstances in terms of being able to afford and attend courses. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various sources from which you can take courses, which include schools of library science, library vendors, and professional associations. In some cases, it becomes very important to evaluate course providers when you are taking courses that could lead to an academic degree in library science, as some employers will recognize degrees accredited only by specific professional associations.

When planning a librarian career, it is important to understand the standards for library science education in your country. In some countries, such as the United States, librarians are expected to hold a master's degree in library science. In some cases, a librarian may also be required to hold an additional master's degree in a particular subject area, particularly if the librarian is working in an academic or research environment. In addition, many employers of librarians in the United States request that job applicants hold a library science master's degree from an institution that has been accredited by the American Library Association. This requirement can vary by employer, however, and in some cases a person may be able to get library work on the basis of job experience and completing librarian courses that are not part of a degree program.

Woman standing behind a stack of books
Woman standing behind a stack of books

As the requirements for becoming a librarian can vary so much, it is a good idea to contact the primary professional association for librarians in your country to ask about national standards. The association can also provide you with a list of schools that are credited to provide quality library and courses to those who want to enter the profession. After you become a librarian or take a job in a library, you may wish to pursue additional education in the form of continuing education courses. These courses may be offered through library science schools, but may also be available through professional associations that offer online or in-person classes at various locations, including professional conventions and conferences.

Some vendors of various types of products for librarians, including database management systems, may also provide librarian courses. In some cases, these courses may be free if your employer purchases the vendor's products. In other cases, you may be able to take these librarian courses at a relatively low tuition. The usefulness of such courses may vary, so it is important to consider whether you believe that training on a proprietary system is something that will enhance your career or be useful to a current or future employer.

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