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The Masters of Library Science or MLIS is required for all librarians throughout the United States. Librarians of every level must obtain a Masters of Library Science, whether working at an elementary school or at the university level. The Masters of Library Science has long been the masters degree most common for aspiring librarians. In recent years, the Masters of Library and Information Science has become available at many colleges and universities. These degrees are essentially the same and those graduating with either will have the ability to serve as a librarian. Most schools require a bachelor’s degree in an academic field before obtaining a Masters of Library Science. These subjects are often education, early development, English or writing.

The Masters of Library Science has changed in the past decade to include a curriculum heavy with technology. Archives and more are now kept on computers and it’s essential for librarians to know the latest ways to help the public research topics and learn. This curriculum also include preservation of documents. You will also study archival science which is the process of gathering information and how this is done in various cultures. There’s also ethics courses, how to manage resources in a library and how to utilize technology in an efficient manner for the library. Librarians today are constantly changing with the times and managing their libraries in new ways. It’s up to you to find what works for your school or community, as most librarians have free reign to operate and manager their library the way they see fit.

To have a successful career as a librarian, you must ensure you school is accredited regionally and by the American Librarians Association. Make sure of this when researching what school you want to attend. Schools that are not accredited may not result in landing a job as a librarian upon graduating. Students are also required to intern under a librarian. Most often this is done at the level the student would like to work with. If you’re looking to work as a librarian at a public library, your internship would be there. Management and operations at libraries vary greatly, so it’s important to be open and able to easily adjust to new people and surroundings. You must also enjoy working with the community and helping people. A librarian is there to help everyone learn and gain a better understanding of topics. Librarians should be encouraging and willing to help anyone who comes through the library’s doors.

What is the job outlook for librarians?

Because librarians tend to stay at their jobs for a long time, most librarians are older. Librarians tend to retire a bit later than most, but in coming years we are expecting a large turnover in librarians. This will open many doors and positions for new librarians who are qualified to take over. Librarians expect an 8% job increase through 2018. The average salary for a librarian is $48,00 per year.

Librarians typically stay at one library for many years, seldom hopping from job to job. It is important to curate the best library for your audience and this can take a few years to settle into. More than that, the librarian serves as the face of the library, so it’s important a learning institution have the same librarian. You must be interested in cultivating a relationship with the community or students.

Where can I work as a librarian?

Librarians can work in schools, public libraries or at universities and colleges. A librarian can also work as an archivist at a museum or special research facility.


Librarians working at schools must love children and encourage reading. Librarians are sometimes former school teachers working at schools. These days librarians must be tech-savvy and aide students with research on the computer. A librarian must also know how to operate basic software students regularly use such as PowerPoint, MS Word and the like. Requirements and certifications for librarians in schools vary from state to state.

Public library

This position is more of a community and public service-based librarian. A librarian at a public library must be comfortable working with people of all ages. You must also show patience, since you may have elderly people or people who are not familiar with computers and need guidance. A librarian at a public library may also be responsible for organizing events for the community and library. You may also have to create an itinerary each month with events to get people to come to the library such as story time for children or computer tutorials for adults. Other community programs may also hold events or classes at the library, so scheduling and time management are important.


An archivist typically works at a museum, research lab or community center. The archivist is well-acquainted with the equipment and techniques used to preserve documents in good condition and enhance old documents. Most documents are for historical preservation. Archivists are needed by large museums in major cities and small historical cities. Some archivists may also specialize in appraising pieces.

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