How can I become a Librarian in 2022? Schools, Cost Programs & Salary

The need for librarians keeps increasing each passing day and there are yet few librarians to meet this demand. Are you a bookworm who loves to research? Do you have well-developed organizational skills, excellent communication, and presentation skills, and sound problem-solving skills, then you should worry about how to become a librarian.

Did I just say worry? No! There is definitely nothing to worry about because I’m going to take you by the hand and lead you through every step you will need to go through to become a librarian. So grab a cup of ice tea and walk with me.

I know right now you are excited. Alright.

In the next few lines, I’m going to show you all you need for a successful librarian career but before then Let me tell you a little story.

A few years ago when I was in high school, I used to have this favorite teacher who was in charge of the library resources. He was a kind and subtle man; a man in his late sixties. He would always guide me and Reagan through the library and would help us sort for what books are meant for us.

Not just that, he would help us develop a reading plan that would help us really read the books and you can be so sure he is going to ask you questions from the books afterward. The thought of this really made us voraciously consume the contents of the books. An amazing man our librarian was.

This is almost what you are going to be doing as a librarian. You should have a passion for helping people not because it is your job duty, but because your job centers around other people’s needs.

Who is a Librarian?

According to Wikipedia, a librarian is a person who works professionally in a library, providing access to information and sometimes social or technical programming to users and also provides instruction on information literacy.

Usually, librarians manage information and resources and help people locate and utilize information. Librarians keep current on resources and literature and select publications for the library’s collection. They require a knowledgeable command of numerous information sources to select the appropriate material for a library.

What Does A School Librarian Do?

Part of what you will be doing as a librarian is teaching students the value of reading and help them develop the habit of reading. This is usually done through lectures, interactive storytelling sessions, and hands-on activities. They also help students and teachers find resources to use for lesson plans in the classroom. Moreover, they analyze and organize these resources and collections by subject so users can find them easily.

School librarians at universities help students access information and conduct research. In the same vein, they assist university professors to find resources for their lectures, or for their own research projects.

Furthermore, a librarian also has the role of preparing and categorizing the catalogs of educational materials. Librarians may also have the responsibility of recommending helpful materials that they may require in their projects and research. They educate individuals on how to use the library systems to find the information they need.

In addition to the roles already stated above, below are some other duties that may be attached to school librarians.

  • Writing and editing roles: Librarians, due to the large wealth of knowledge that they have, participate in grant writing and editing of educational materials.
  • Administrative roles: Some librarians have a very great knowledge of administrative duties. They ensure the proper management and smooth running of the library.
  • Technical roles: In libraries, you can find tech-savvy experts who manage the technical and electronic resources of the library. Usually, they work behind the scenes as online content creators and developers. Some of them manage the library website. Some are cloud engineers who might have the role of developing cloud information storage and retrieval systems.
  • Niche-specific roles: If you go to Government agencies, museums, hospitals, law firms, and professional organizations, they usually have their own libraries where they stock relevant resource materials related to the organization. These organizations employ the services of librarians who help to manage these libraries. They help with the smooth and orderly running of the libraries.

What Are The Requirements To Be A Librarian?

Wondering what you may require to pursue a librarian career, here are some of the basic requirements you may need to meet to have a swell time in your career.

Personal Skills Required

First of all, you must understand that in your career as a librarian, you will be meeting lots of people from different walks of influence; students, academics, teachers, professors, experts in various areas of influence, and many more. So you will require strong interpersonal skills to be able to flow with these people. You are definitely going to meet people with weird characters but you will have to learn how to be calm.

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Furthermore, since you will be meeting people who are not dumb, in addition to your apt interpersonal skills, you will also need to develop excellent communication skills to be able to communicate effectively with them.

You will also need to be extremely discerning in your work because not everyone that enters your library will be coming to read. Some will be coming to steal from you. So discernment is a skill you must learn too. Be watchful and never allow users to overstep boundaries.

Another very vital skill important to you as a librarian is the skillful art of keeping things in order. You know, one of the things you will be doing in the library is organizing and arranging books and all other materials. So you will have to cultivate this skill.

Educational Requirements

Let me quickly give you a brief summary of the educational requirements for being a librarian. I will discuss this with you again when I will be showing you the steps to becoming a librarian.

So in a nutshell, a person pursuing a career as a librarian will need to meet the listed requirements.

  • Complete his high school education
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in library science or a related subject.
  • Pursue and obtain a master’s degree program in library science, such as a master of library science (MLS) or Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS).
  • Get certified
  • Apply for jobs
  • Identify with professional librarian associations and groups.

Stay with me. I will discuss the above listed in full in just a moment.

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What Degree Do I Need To Be A Librarian?

One may think or say there is no need to pursue a degree for someone who wants to become a librarian. But the truth is, you may not be valuable in the marketplace and you may not be hired if you don’t lay hold on a librarian degree or one that is related to it. Most schools and organizations don’t just look out for people who have acquired relevant degrees in this field, some maintain that they must be at least master’s degree holders.

So the path to becoming a librarian begins with an undergraduate degree from an accredited 4-year college or university. This is basic and primary.

Usually, at the undergraduate level, you may not be required to major in a particular course. Students may just choose to pursue a library science degree or any other one that is related to it such as English and history. Whichever one you want to pursue, you just have to know you will need to present it while pursuing your graduate studies, and graduate schools typically only admit students with a minimum 3.0-grade point average.

Just as I stated earlier, employers would prefer to hire librarians who have completed a master’s degree program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). So you may also consider advancing your career by going a step further.

Taking a master’s degree program will make you more valuable in your career. Typically you can find master’s degree programs such as Master of Library and Information Science and Master of Library Science (MLS), which typically take 1-2 years to complete.

Some of the courses you will be doing at your master’s level may include Reference resources, Library management, Information science, Research methods, Cataloging, etc.

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How long does it take to become a librarian?

Well, I may not be so right if I go straight up to tell you it will take you a certain number of years to go through the library school and complete your librarian degree programs and then become a librarian. The number of years it will take you to become a librarian will largely depend on your personal career expectations.

Usually, earning a bachelor’s degree in library science will take you about three to four years, and earning a master’s degree in library science can take one to two years. So on average, it might take you like five to six years or even more to complete your program. The least it will require is five years.

What Does It Cost To Become A Librarian?

Like I have already said to you, you will need to acquire at least a master’s degree in library and information science or related fields to become a professional librarian. This means you will go to school to acquire a bachelor’s degree first after which you will pursue a master’s degree program.

Remember you will pay tuition and related costs, books, and supplies. If you live alone while receiving your degree, you should also consider the amount that you have to pay for rent and food.

So on average, you may spend about $ 25,000 a year to get this degree if you are a student from the state. This usually covers your tuition, books and supplies, and accommodation and food costs. However, the range can vary, with some schools charging only $ 12,000 for these expenses and others up to $ 35,000 a year.

The costs increase significantly to around $ 37,000 per year if you are classified as a student from outside the state. In the meantime, for private institutions, all students pay the same amount, regardless of their residence status. If you want to go to a private school, your annual budget for such expenses must be around $ 46,000.

Then if you want to pursue your master’s degree, You’ll have to be ready to spend another year or two in school but you can also take online programs. Online programs are a sure way of cutting down costs and expenses for your postgraduate studies.

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You can do this from the comfort of your home or workplace. On average, online programs that offer master’s degrees in library science and related degrees can cost around $ 22,000 a year.

Very important advice:

Do visit your school’s financial aid advisor and ask for scholarships you can apply for. Scholarships can reduce the costs of your tuition and other costs. Interestingly, this applies whether you are a traditional school or an online student.

Of course, there are always student loans you can rely on to finance your study costs, but you have to ask for a loan wisely because you will definitely have to pay them with interest later.

Are Librarians In Demand?

According to a recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of librarians is projected to grow 6 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations. They discovered communities are increasingly turning to libraries for a variety of services and activities.

Therefore, there will be a continuous need for librarians to manage libraries and help patrons find information. This is also largely because the general population is becoming more adept at conducting research through electronic sources. As a result, competition for the few available librarian positions is expected to be very strong.

How Much Do Librarians Make?

How much does a Librarian make in the United States? You are particularly concerned about how much you can make pursuing this career. Oh well, I can tell you there is good news! Here is it: According to a recent report from Salary.com the average Librarian salary in the United States is $64,724 as of October 30, 2019, but the range typically falls between $55,182 and $75,880.

It is important to note that salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional personal skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession. 

So the amount of value you bring to the table determines how much you are likely going to earn. It varies.

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Where Can I Find The Best Library Science Schools in USA?

If you are looking for librarian schools where you can obtain certified degrees for librarians, then, I will show you.

There are plenty of schools scattered across the states where you can take your librarian degree programs and obtain your degree.

But I know you don’t just want to go to any kind of school. So I’m going to show some of the best librarian colleges and universities where you can acquire a library science degree.

Here is a list of the best library science schools in the United States that you may want to see. These schools have been curated and ranked by USNEWS basically according to the schools’ performance from a poll and survey they conducted, among many other factors.

  • University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign
  • The University of Washington
  • University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill
  • Syracuse University
  • University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
  • University of Texas–Austin
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey–New Brunswick
  • University of Maryland–College Park
  • Indiana University–Bloomington
  • University of Pittsburgh

Illinois University–Urbana-Champaign

This is obviously the best school in the US where you can acquire your library science degrees. Ranked number 1 because of its number of programs and specialties. The school has about 9 programs and 6 specialties. Take a quick flight to the school through the link below.

Washington University

The U of W is the second-best school for library sciences in the USA. The school has been graded on its number of programs amongst many other factors. Take a quick flight to the school through the link below.

North Carolina University–Chapel Hill

This school is among the select few that found themselves on the list of best 5 in the states. The school has a mission of educating innovative and responsible thinkers who will lead the information professions. It has been ranked number 1 in health librarianship and digital librarianship. Take a quick flight to the school through the link below.

Syracuse University

The School of information at Syracuse is the 4th best in the United States. The School of Information Studies (iSchool) empowers students to leverage the most precious commodity in today’s global, knowledge-based society—intellectual capital. Take a quick flight to the school through the link below.

University of Michigan–Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan Ann Arbor offers its students a variety of programs ranging from bachelor’s degrees to master’s degrees and doctoral degrees.

The School of Information at UMICH delivers innovative, elegant, and ethical solutions connecting people, information, and technology. Take a quick flight to the school through the link below.

You can visit the other schools here:

Steps to Becoming a Librarian: the complete guide

You remember I promised to show you a complete guide on how to become a successful librarian. That is just what I’m going to show you in the next few lines.

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How to Become A Librarian: Frequently Asked Questions

Are there Online masters degree programs in library and information science?

Yes, Of course, you can find a lot of online degree programs that you can pursue if you want to acquire an MLIS. The chances vary depending on the school. One of the benefits this is going to accord you is the flexibility you will enjoy. It allows you to pay attention to family and to work too if you are engaged.

Must I have An MLIS to become librarian?

Not necessarily though very important too. You can still become a librarian without an MLIS but only in certain kinds of libraries and communities. The general and least accepted entry requirement into a swell librarian career is a master’s degree.

How can I get a job as a librarian?

Making up your mind on what type of library you want to work for is the first thing you want to do. Having a combination of experience and proper education is important and will vary from library to library. Earning an MLIS degree is one of the most direct ways to becoming a librarian and will be the most marketable. Get certification in the field and then network with other professionals in the field. Job and career opportunities are some of the invaluable benefits of belonging to professional bodies.

How do I further develop myself and be more relevant in the field?

Network! That is what you need to do. Find people who you have gone ahead of you in your chosen career and get close so you can learn from them. Take more courses especially online short courses relevant to your field. And voraciously consume resources that will further build you.

Can I become a librarian with a teaching degree?

School library work might be a great option for a teacher who’s more interested in sharing a love of reading than teaching grammar but having just a teaching degree is not enough to qualify you to become a professional at it. You need to get an MLIS.

In a Nutshell:

I can assure you and you can bank on my words that if you carefully follow these steps to becoming a librarian, you will surely have a great time enjoying yourself all through your walk in your career. But you know, I’m sad. You may ask me why. I won’t even be there to get just a cup of coffee from you when all the benefits will start coming. But it’s fine, it’s all for you. I desire that you do really find peace and happiness in your choice.

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