Become a Librarian

What is your passion? Are you fascinated by art, biology, business, technology? Combine your passion with a desire to help others and become a librarian.

Librarians work in a variety of settings including museums, hospitals, businesses, public libraries, colleges, universities and schools. In their work, librarians research, instruct, and connect people to technology. Librarians build websites, digitize archives, and manage social media. Librarians work with people of all ages, connecting them to information, learning and the community.

Earnings and Outlook

Salaries of librarians and library workers vary according to the individual's qualifications and the type, size, and location of the library. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wages of librarians in 2016 was $57,680 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has also reported that employment of librarians is expected to grow by 9 percent between 2016 and 2026. (This is faster than the current average growth rate  of 7 percent for all occupations.)

Visit Occupational Employment Statistics for the latest national, state, and local earnings data for librarians.

Education

A master's degree in library science (MLS), preferably from an American Library Association (ALA) accredited program, is necessary for most librarian positions in most public, academic, and special libraries. School librarians may not need an MLS but must meet state teaching requirements.

Choosing an ALA-Accredited Program

The vast majority of employers require an ALA-accredited master’s degree for professional positions in libraries. Graduating from an ALA-accredited program enhances career mobility and provides greater flexibility. ALA-accredited master’s programs can be found at colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Find additional information about how to select a library science program as well as a list of accredited schools in ALA’s Directory of ALA-Accredited Master’s Library and Information Studies

As library services become more varied, so do the jobs in libraries. Librarians are no longer the only professionals working in libraries. Libraries employ web developers, knowledge managers, and IT professionals. Youth workers, security officers, archivists, book conservators, school liaisons, social workers, and Friends group nonprofit managers are a few of the unique positions employed in libraries.

Directory of ALA-accredited schools

Occupational Outlook Handbook for Librarians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics has more detailed information about educational requirements, work environment and job outlook for librarians and library workers.

Emerging Trends

San José State University School of Library & Information Science has prepared a report entitled,  “MLIS Skills at Work.”  It is an is an annual snapshot analysis of the latest career trends for information professionals. This report explores the career opportunities for individuals who hold a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree. The report indicates that in addition to the title of Librarian, the following list of representative job titles is indicative of the diverse ways library information knowledge is being applied in various professional areas: 

  • Application Developer
  • Emerging Technology Librarian
  • Archivist
  • Information Technology Specialist
  • Collection Care Technician
  • Knowledge Center Head of Operations
  • Communications Specialist/Writer
  • Library Product Manager
  • Conflicts Analyst
  • Litigation Intelligence Analyst
  • Curator of Oral History
  • Production and Marketing Specialist
  • Digital Initiatives Program Manager
  • Technology Hub Administrator
  • Document/Data Control Analyst
  • Workflow Analyst/Programmer


Read the report: Emerging Career Trends for Information Professionals 2017 (PDF)

 

Learn more about career options

 

Read "You Work Where? Combining a Love of Music with Some Great LIS Skills at an Awesome Workplace" By Caitlin Williams, Ph.D.; This article is from the October 2017 issue of the Library Worklife Newsletter. It's an interview with two librarians who work at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library in Ohio.

 

Read " The Bunheads are Dead," from American Libraries Magazine. Ken Haycock and Carla Garner discuss the high-tech, high-touch career opportunities in library and information science and how LIS programs are adapting to meet the changing needs of the industry  .

 

A Day in the Life: Career Options in Library and Information Science book cover

 

A Day in the Life : Career Options in Library and Information Science
by Priscilla K Shontz  & Richard A Murray

 

Rethinking Information Work : A Career Guide for Librarians and Other Information Professionals
by Kim Dority

 

 

 


This page is maintained by the ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR). If you have questions about working in a library, feel free to email HRDR staff at hrdr@ala.org.