Why YA? Recruiting for YA Librarianship

careers in teen services

From planning an after-hours lock-in at the library to leading a monthly book discussion group to hosting a gaming group, young adult services librarians are actively engaged and involved with their teen patrons. A career in YA librarianship offers the rewarding opportunity to work with teens and help them grow into lifelong learners.

Interested in learning more about young adult services? Read through the frequently asked questions below and find out whether a career in YA services is right for you!

1) What is a young adult services (YA) librarian?

A librarian who caters to the needs of the young adult population, ages 12 to 18. Job opportunities are available in public and school libraries.

2) What does a YA librarian do?

A YA Librarian helps teens prepare for college, careers and life by managing a suite of programs and services that help teens build the knowledge and skills they need to be productive in the 21st century. For an overview of the types of what a forward-looking teen services program looks like, read YALSA's report "The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action."

3) What are the characteristics of a successful YA librarian?

Young adult librarians work with a high-energy crowd and need to be energetic and engaging, too!

Creativity, enthusiasm for working with teens and strong problem solving skills are critical for librarians who work in this field. YA librarians are in touch with current popular culture and are outgoing, always ready to interact with patrons and provide them with what they need. Successful YA librarians are passionate about helping teens gain the skills they need to be successful in their personal and academic pursuits. They have a love of learning and are comfortable working with both print and digital resources. For additional information, see Me, a Librarian?

4) What are some of the benefits of being a YA librarian?

  • Engagement with a lively community
  • Positive impact on teens’ lives
  • Working with a forward-looking population
  • Opportunity to foster lifelong learning
  • Chance to help teens access a wide range of resources, from homework help to job searching to reading for fun, and more

Read current YA librarians’ testimonials to see what brought them to the field!

5) How can I get some hands-on experience to see if this career is right for me?

  • Work or volunteer as a library assistant
  • Do an internship or practicum
  • Volunteer at a teen afterschool program
  • Volunteer with a local youth organization
  • Volunteer at a literacy program

Want to know where to find volunteer possibilities? Check out some of these sites and perform a simple search for opportunities in the library field:

6) How do I become a YA librarian?

  • Complete your master’s degree in library and information science from any of the ALA-accredited programs.
  • Youth services and young adult specializations or concentrations are available at a number of these institutions.

7) Where can I find scholarship information for attending library school?

  • ALA’s Spectrum Scholarship Program offers scholarships for students from diverse backgrounds
  • ALA Scholarship Programs includes many scholarships for library school and graduate study
  • Library Land Index offers a list of major grants, awards, and scholarships available for those interested in going into library science.
  • Check in with your state library association and your college or university for more options

8) What does the job description for a YA librarian even look like?

Please see YALSA’s example of YA librarian's job description.

9) What type of support do you receive as a YA librarian?

YALSA membership includes the opportunity to apply for grants and awards and be recognized for outstanding service. In addition, resources are available in the Professional Development Center to help you on your way. Please see Himmel & Wilson’s list of State & Regional Library Associations for information regarding your specific geographic area and how its association can work with you.

10) What is the average salary for a YA services librarian?

Find out about the average salary for YA librarians at: Labor Trends & Statistics for Library Workers.

11) What is the current job demand for librarians?

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that the employment of librarians will grow 2 percent from 2014 to 2024. Learn more about the career outlook for librarians.

12) Are there related job opportunities? If so, what are they?

  • Coordinator/Manager of YA Services
  • Youth Services Librarian
  • Children’s Librarian
  • Collection Development Specialist for Youth
  • School Librarian
  • Professor in a graduate school of Library and Information Science

Find more information at YALSA’s Job Postings and Resources page

13) Where can I go to find out more?