Educational requirements for librarians
A growing number of America's best and brightest up-and-comings have become curious about a traditionally neglected and typically outright rejected but quite noble profession. The target of this recent attraction is the librarian occupation.
Whether due to ever advancing high-tech developments that evoke more appealing mental imagery of mandatory job duties or desire to avoid excluding any viable option in today's tight job market, professional librarian positions are making a major comeback.
Basic essentials of what librarians do all day behind big counters and endless bookshelf stacks
Librarians' primary duties are organizing and managing large-volume collections of books, various journals, print periodicals like magazines and newspapers, in addition to electronic data and microfiches. An important secondary job requirement is assisting lay patrons in understanding the specific information that best serves their purposes. Librarians are employed within a wide range of work settings that include but are not limited to academic, private, public and specialized "boutique" libraries.
Entry-level educational requirements for librarians
According to latest published data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the entry-level education for librarians is a master's degree. While this necessarily entails earning a four-year bachelor's degree to qualify for graduate school admission, undergraduate students do not have to choose any specific major or complete any mandatory prerequisite courses. However, most graduate degree programs will not accept applicants whose undergraduate cumulative grade-point average is below 3.0.
Essential Graduate Degree Program credentials
Prospective employers generally have a strong preference for candidates who hold master's degrees from programs accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Such degree programs include Master of Library and Information Sciences, in addition to Master of Library Sciences (MLS). Both graduate programs typically require two years to complete with full-time attendance.
Specific course offerings usually include:
- Library Management
- Information Science
- Research Methods
- Reference Resources
- Library Collections
To learn more details about ALA-accredited graduate degree programs and even run an automated search for programs located in your geographical region, check out the American Library Association.
ALA's gargantuan virtual domain also features a treasure trove of valuable data for viewers trying to decide whether librarianship careers are right for them. Detailed info regarding exclusive financial aid sources, hyperlinks to in-depth description of various career paths and a state-by-state listing of mandatory educational and additional certifications can be found at the ALA.
Subspecialty niche fields in Library Sciences
Although most librarians have generalized graduate degrees in Library or Information Sciences, some obtain specialty degrees with specific areas of concentration. Common examples are librarians that work in schools or at digital public libraries. In fact, specialty educational credentials are mandatory for some positions. A chief example is School Librarian that requires a Library Media subspecialty as well as a master's degree in education or Library Science. In addition, many states require teaching certification for school librarians.
Where to go from here
No matter what particular specialty, master's degree concentration, educational institution or career path you may wish to pursue, the most important task is to get started. Swift departure toward the desired destination is far more important than estimated time of arrival. Therefore, those with sincere interest or desire to further explore the many exciting opportunities that professional librarianship has to offer are urged to act promptly. Your future awaits you.