How do I Find a Job As a Librarian?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen
A public librarian may assist patrons with locating specific books.
A public librarian may assist patrons with locating specific books.

There are a number of different paths you can take to find a job as a librarian, though you should typically consider the professional experience and educational background required by many libraries. While you may be able to find work as a librarian with a four-year degree, such as a bachelor’s degree, you should typically have a master’s degree in library science or information studies. You should also try to find ways to gain professional experience to help you get a job as a librarian, even if you are still in school, and this can be either paid or practicum experience.

Librarians should have a master's degree in library science or information studies.
Librarians should have a master's degree in library science or information studies.

To get a job as a librarian you typically need two things: the right education and professional experience. While you may be able to become a librarian without a master’s degree, it is often much easier to do so if you have the proper educational credentials. Some smaller libraries may hire you with only a bachelor’s degree, or you may be able to find work in a large library at a paraprofessional level, but this often pays less and may not be as personally satisfying.

Most libraries prefer to hire candidates who are alumi of universities accredited by the American Library Association.
Most libraries prefer to hire candidates who are alumi of universities accredited by the American Library Association.

In general, you should receive a master’s degree in an appropriate field of study to find a job as a librarian. The undergraduate degree you receive prior to this typically does not matter, as any field of inquiry can benefit someone interested in library and information studies. A number of different programs are available for this type of master’s degree, which commonly award degrees for a Master of Library Science (MLS), Master of Information Studies (MIS), or a Master in Librarianship. Regardless of what name the school you attend uses, these programs typically teach about various information systems, cataloging methodologies, and research techniques.

People interested in working at a library may start by volunteering with different programs.
People interested in working at a library may start by volunteering with different programs.

As you gain the education you need to get a job as a librarian, you should also try to obtain some professional experience as well. You may be able to find work in the library at your college or university while you work on your master’s degree, which can help offset tuition and other school expenses. Many libraries also hire graduate students for paraprofessional positions or for unpaid practicum positions. This professional experience can be vital in separating you from other candidates with master’s degrees while you are trying to find a job as a librarian.

Once you have the education and experience you need, then you can begin looking for libraries that are hiring. You should consider the different types of libraries that may be able to offer you a job as a librarian. While there are numerous public libraries available, you can also consider libraries and media centers in schools, college and university libraries, and special libraries in corporations and government agencies.

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    • A public librarian may assist patrons with locating specific books.
      A public librarian may assist patrons with locating specific books.
    • Librarians should have a master's degree in library science or information studies.
      Librarians should have a master's degree in library science or information studies.
    • Most libraries prefer to hire candidates who are alumi of universities accredited by the American Library Association.
      Most libraries prefer to hire candidates who are alumi of universities accredited by the American Library Association.
    • People interested in working at a library may start by volunteering with different programs.
      People interested in working at a library may start by volunteering with different programs.