What Library Managers Need to Know

Typical requirements are:


The requirements for a librarian position can span the range below:

  • Four-year undergraduate degree in any field
  • Master of library science degree (MLS)
  • MLS degree from an American Library Association (ALA)-accredited school
  • ALA-accredited MLS degree plus a teaching certificate (often the case in school libraries) or an ALA-accredited MLS plus a second masters degree, e.g., a law degree

Confused? Don't worry, the Next Steps section on the bottom of this page will help you!


  • Desire to meet and serve the library's user community
  • Ability to think analytically and to develop new or revised systems, procedures, and work flow
  • Ability to exercise initiative and independent judgment
  • Knowledge of computers, the internet, and commercially available library software
  • Ability to prepare comprehensive reports and present ideas clearly and concisely in written and oral form
  • Ability to make administrative decisions, interpret policies, and supervise staff
  • Ability to motivate, establish and maintain effective working relationships with associates, supervisors, volunteers, other community agencies and the public
  • Knowledge of the philosophy and techniques of library service
  • Ability to organize job duties and work independently
  • Demonstrated knowledge of library materials and resources
  • Creativity to develop and implement library programs and services
  • Ability to communicate both orally and in writing
  • Employs management techniques effectively in directing, planning, organizing, staffing, coordinating, budgeting, and evaluating the library's operation


  • Typically four to ten years of experience as a librarian, although will vary greatly by size of library and responsibilities of the job
  • A couple of years of supervisory experience
  • Demonstrated interest in professional development through attending workshops and conferences

Career path

  • Library managers who excel in their area of work may make excellent candidates for a library director, with the realization that it can be a very different, outward-focused position from even a deputy or assistant director.

Finding a job

  • Library manager positions span a wide range in terms of how they are posted. If there are several strong internal candidates, the position may only be posted in the library. At the other extreme, a consulting firm or "head hunter" may be hired to conduct a search on a national basis. Jobs at this level are often posted in library publications, such as American Libraries, Library Journal, Library Hotline, and electronically on library electronic discussion lists, library websites, library cooperative websites, and state association websites.


If you are interested in becoming a library director, below are the next steps to consider per your education. You may begin at any step:

read more about it:

Library Administration and Management Association

The Accidental Library Manager by Rachel Singer Gordon (2005)