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

The need for librarians keeps increasing daily, and few are yet 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 say worry? No! There is nothing to worry about because I will take you by the hand and lead you through every step you need to go through to become a librarian. So grab a cup of iced tea and walk with me.

I know right now you are excited. Alright.

In the next few lines, I will 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 in his late sixties. He would always guide Reagan and me through the library and help us sort out what books meant for us.

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

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 providing 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 helping 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 in finding resources for their lectures or research projects.

Furthermore, a librarian also has the role of preparing and categorizing the catalogs of educational materials. Librarians may also be responsible for recommending valuable materials they may require in their projects and research. They educate individuals on using the library systems to find the necessary information.

In addition to the abovementioned roles, some other duties may be attached to school librarians.

  • Writing and editing roles: Librarians, due to their wealth of knowledge, participate in grant writing and editing 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 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 basic requirements to meet for a swell career time.

Personal Skills Required

First, you must understand that in your career as a librarian, you will meet many 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 flow with these people. You will meet people with weird characters but you must learn to be calm.

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 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 vital skill important to you as a librarian is 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 summary of the educational requirements for being a librarian. I will discuss this with you again when I show you the steps to becoming a librarian.

So, in a nutshell, a person pursuing a career as a librarian must meet the listed requirements.

  • Complete his high school education.
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in library science or a related subject.
  • Pursue 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 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 not be hired if you don’t lay hold on a librarian degree or one 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, you may not be required to major in a particular course at the undergraduate level. Students may 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 must know you will need to present it while pursuing your graduate studies. Graduate schools typically only admit students with a minimum 3.0 grade point average.

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.

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, complete your librarian degree programs, and become a librarian. The number of years you will take to become a librarian largely depends on your career expectations.

Usually, earning a bachelor’s degree in library science will take 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 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?

You must acquire 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 and then 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 you must 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, 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 annually if you are classified as a student outside the state. In the meantime, all students pay the same amount for private institutions, 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 to cut costs and expenses for postgraduate studies.

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.

Essential advice:

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 in a traditional or online school.

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 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 various 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, 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, and the years you have spent in your profession. 

So the value you bring determines how much you will likely earn. It varies.

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

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

Many schools are 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 school. So I will 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 according to their 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 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 nine programs and six specialties. Take a quick flight to the school through the link below.

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Washington University

The U of W is the USA’s second-best school for library sciences. 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.

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North Carolina University–Chapel Hill

This school is among the select few on the list of the best 5 in the states. The school aims to educate 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.

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Syracuse University

Syracuse’s School of Information 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.

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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.

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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 to becoming a successful librarian. That is just what I will show you in the next few lines.

Complete and acquire your high school certificate.

This is the basic requirement you must meet before pursuing a career in this field. Many schools require you to present your high school certificate to be admitted into their programs. So you must complete high school and then apply to universities offering library science or other related programs.

Conduct thorough research before choosing a school.

One important factor you must consider before embarking on a journey into this career is this. The school you attend will greatly shape and determine how smooth or rough your career walk will be for you. So look properly before you take that leap.

Some things you will need to consider about a school before enrolling are the number of programs offered, student-teacher ratio, tuition fees, graduation rate, exam success rate, and employability after school. These are essential factors for consideration.

Earn a bachelor’s degree.

The next thing after you have finally settled in a school is to focus on your studies and coursework.
Yea, I know I have been focusing on library sciences all this while, but the truth remains that you can also become a librarian by studying a related course like English or History.

A bachelor’s degree in education and teaching credentials can fetch a librarian job. Interestingly too, any bachelor’s degree can provide a foundation for building a librarian career.

Pursue a Master’s in Library and Information Science

Find and pursue a master’s degree in MLIS and narrow it to reconcile with your career expectations. A master’s degree in this field qualifies you for a job and a swell time in your career.

Get Certified

In addition to the MLIS degree, you must get a professional endorsement because it can vary from state to state. Some states, such as New York, require accreditation after completion of the MLIS degree. A certificate may be required for several reasons, such as maintaining public funding or working with children.

Identify Professional Bodies in the Field.

Networking and communication are very welcome and popular in the world of librarians. Training and professional development, sharing information, sharing new ideas sharing successes and failures, and learning new ways of doing things are all good reasons to communicate.
It’s also an excellent way to learn about new career opportunities and career development in the library industry. With modern technology, there are plenty of opportunities for online networks and many annual workshops and conferences that librarians can attend at the local and national levels. This will enable you to be relevant in your career.
So do, find a way to connect with your professional colleagues. The benefits are invaluable.

Such professional bodies include the American Library AssociationSpecial Libraries AssociationHiring Librarians, etc.

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How to Become A Librarian: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Acquire MLIS Via Online Degree Programs

Yes, you can find many online degree programs to 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 work if you are engaged.

Must I Acquire MLIS Before I Become a 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.

Tips on How to Become a Qualified 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 become a librarian and will be the most marketable. Get certification in the field and then network with other professionals. Job and career opportunities are invaluable benefits of belonging to professional bodies.

How do I Choose a Good Career Part?

Network! That is what you need to do. Find people 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.

Does Being a Teacher Qualify You to Become a Professional Librarian?

School library work might be a great option for a teacher more interested in sharing a love of reading than teaching grammar. However, just a teaching degree is not enough to qualify you to become a professional. 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 throughout 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 start coming. But it’s fine; it’s all for you. I desire that you find peace and happiness in your choice.

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