How Do I Earn a Librarian Degree?

K. Testa

To earn a librarian degree, you should first decide what type of professional librarian position you desire. Depending on the specialization you choose, you can pursue different educational options, though the basic requirements for most librarians are generally the same and include earning an advanced degree in library science. Next, you should research your chosen school's entrance requirements and apply to a degree program. While in school, you should select the courses that will provide you with a broad background in library science as well as any advanced or specialized courses that will train you to work in a particular type of library.

Law librarians may need to earn a full law degree in addition to training in library science.
Law librarians may need to earn a full law degree in addition to training in library science.

There are many professional positions open to someone with a librarian degree. For example, you could be a public librarian or a school or university librarian. You might work specifically with business resources or with government documents. Some librarians specialize in other specific fields, such as law or medicine, and all of these specialties normally entail formal training in addition to basic library education programs.

People who have worked as library volunteers may find it easier to secure placements in Master's degree programs.
People who have worked as library volunteers may find it easier to secure placements in Master's degree programs.

Aspiring librarians generally attend a four-year college or university, completing an undergraduate degree program in a general field such as liberal arts or history. This is usually followed by graduate study and earning a Master of Library Science (MLS). Another option for someone who wants to work specifically with children or in a school is to earn a master's degree in education with a focus on school library media. In the U.S., employers do not always require that you attend a librarian degree program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA), but doing so might give you an advantage when seeking employment.

In general, it takes one to two years to complete a librarian degree program. Typical classes might include the history of books and libraries, access to information, and research techniques. You might also learn about cataloging resources, circulation procedures, and performing other administrative duties. Increasingly, society in general — and libraries in particular — are relying on technology and digital media in place of traditional resources.

Medical and law librarians are examples of positions that might require you to pursue an additional advanced or specialized librarian degree in order to work in certain types of libraries. In addition, some people go on to earn doctorate degrees in Library and Information Science. Typical career choices for these graduates might include teaching at the college level or directing a university library or public library system.

Along with completing the academic courses necessary to earn a librarian degree, it helps to stay up to date on current technology. Libraries are constantly changing because of the availability of digital resources and other advances. As such, computer skills and a familiarity with different types of software and media equipment can be helpful. Furthermore, since you might be making presentations or teaching others, public speaking experience and presentation skills can help round out your academic curriculum.

Most librarians must have a degree in library science.
Most librarians must have a degree in library science.

Readers Also Love

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: