How Do I Choose the Best Librarian Training?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen
Woman standing behind a stack of books
Woman standing behind a stack of books

If you are looking for librarian training, then you should consider the requirements for employment at the particular type of library in which you wish to work. Most libraries require a master’s degree from potential librarians, which can be earned at a graduate college that offers a Master of Library Science (MLS). You should look for a school that is accredited by a librarian organization in your area, such as the American Library Association (ALA) in the US. If you are interested in librarian training to work in a particular field, such as a medical library, then you should also receive training in a secondary subject such as medicine or science.

Librarian training usually requires a great deal of education, culminating in a post-graduate degree such as a Master of Library Science or MLS. There are a number of different schools that offer an MLS, though most of them require that you complete an undergraduate degree such as a bachelor’s in an appropriate field. You might consider a degree in language arts, though few graduate programs require any specific subject. If you are interested in librarian training with a secondary focus, then you might want to pursue an undergraduate degree in a subject like political science or biology.

As you are considering different schools at which to pursue your librarian training, you should look for organizations or agencies in your area that accredit such schools. In the US, for example, the ALA or American Library Association provides accreditation for many colleges that offer an MLS degree. While this is not a requirement for a school to have an excellent program in librarian training, some institutions do prefer candidates with training from such schools. You should speak to librarians in your area and find out what types of requirements they have seen for employment and what professional organizations you might join while still in training.

If you are interested in working in a legal, medical or other specific type of library, then you should consider secondary aspects to your librarian training. You might want to pursue both a legal degree and your MLS, for example, as this can qualify you to work in legal libraries. This can require many years of education, however, so you might focus on pursuing a related field for your undergraduate degree. If you want to work in a medical or science library, then you could pursue a bachelor’s degree in a field like biology or physics. The hiring practices in your area may vary, so you should determine what most specialized libraries around you look for in a librarian.

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