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Become A School Librarian

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Working As A School Librarian

  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Processing Information
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $56,880

    Average Salary

What Does A School Librarian Do

Librarians help people find information and conduct research for personal and professional use. Their job duties may change based on the type of library they work in, such as public, school, and medical libraries.

Duties

Librarians typically do the following:

  • Help library patrons conduct research and find the information they need
  • Teach classes about information resources
  • Help patrons evaluate search results and reference materials
  • Organize library materials so they are easy to find, and maintain collections
  • Plan programs for different audiences, such as storytelling for young children
  • Develop and use databases of library materials
  • Research new books and materials by reading book reviews, publishers’ announcements, and catalogs
  • Choose new books, audio books, videos, and other materials for the library
  • Research and buy new computers and other equipment as needed for the library
  • Train and direct library technicians, assistants, other support staff, and volunteers
  • Prepare library budgets

In small libraries, librarians are often responsible for many or all aspects of library operations. They may manage a staff of library assistants and technicians.

In larger libraries, librarians usually focus on one aspect of library work, including user services, technical services, or administrative services.

The following are examples of types of librarians:

User services librarians help patrons conduct research using both electronic and print resources. These librarians also teach patrons how to use library resources to find information on their own. This may include familiarizing patrons with catalogs of print materials, helping them access and search digital libraries, or educating them on Internet search techniques. Some user services librarians work with a particular audience, such as children or young adults.

Technical services librarians obtain, prepare, and organize print and electronic library materials. They arrange materials to make it easy for patrons to find information. They are also responsible for ordering new library materials and archiving to preserve older items.

Administrative services librarians manage libraries. They hire and supervise staff, prepare budgets, and negotiate contracts for library materials and equipment. Some conduct public relations or fundraising for the library.

Librarians who work in different settings sometimes have different job duties.

Academic librarians assist students, faculty, and staff in colleges and universities. They help students research topics related to their coursework and teach students how to access information. They also assist faculty and staff in locating resources related to their research projects or studies. Some campuses have multiple libraries, and librarians may specialize in a particular subject.

Public librarians work in their communities to serve all members of the public. They help patrons find books to read for pleasure; conduct research for schoolwork, business, or personal interest; and learn how to access the library’s resources. Many public librarians plan programs for patrons, such as story time for children, book clubs, or other educational activities.

School librarians, sometimes called school media specialists, work in elementary, middle, and high school libraries, and teach students how to use library resources. They also help teachers develop lesson plans and find materials for classroom instruction.

Special librarians work in settings other than school or public libraries. They are sometimes called information professionals. Law firms, hospitals, businesses, museums, government agencies, and many other groups have their own libraries that use special librarians. The main purpose of these libraries and information centers is to serve the information needs of the organization that houses the library. Therefore, special librarians collect and organize materials focused on those subjects. The following are examples of special librarians:

  • Corporate librarians assist employees in private businesses in conducting research and finding information. They work for a wide range of businesses, including insurance companies, consulting firms, and publishers.
  • Government librarians provide research services and access to information for government staff and the public.
  • Law librarians help lawyers, law students, judges, and law clerks locate and organize legal resources. They often work in law firms and law school libraries.
  • Medical librarians, also called health science librarians, help health professionals, patients, and researchers find health and science information. They may provide information about new clinical trials and medical treatments and procedures, teach medical students how to locate medical information, or answer consumers’ health questions.

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How To Become A School Librarian

Most librarians need a master’s degree in library science. Some positions have additional requirements, such as a teaching certificate or a degree in another field.

Education

Most employers require librarians to have a master’s degree in library science (MLS). Students need a bachelor’s degree in any major to enter MLS programs.

MLS programs usually take 1 to 2 years to complete. Coursework typically covers selecting library materials, organizing information, research methods and strategies, online reference systems, and Internet search methods. 

A degree from an American Library Association accredited program may lead to better job opportunities. Some colleges and universities have other names for their library science programs, such as Master of Information Studies or Master of Library and Information Studies.

Librarians working in a special library, such as a law, medical, or corporate library, usually supplement a master’s degree in library science with knowledge of their specialized field. Some employers require special librarians to have a master’s degree, a professional degree, or a Ph.D. in that subject. For example, a law librarian may be required to have a law degree or a librarian in an academic library may need a Ph.D.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Public school librarians typically need a teacher’s certification. Some states require librarians to pass a standardized test, such as the PRAXIS II Library Media Specialist test. A list of requirements by state and contact information for state regulating boards is available from Libraries Unlimited. 

Some states also require certification for librarians in public libraries. Requirements vary by state. Contact your state’s licensing board for specific requirements.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Librarians need to be able to explain ideas and information in ways that patrons and users understand.

Initiative. New information, technology, and resources constantly change the details of what librarians do. They must be able and willing to continually update their knowledge on these changes to be effective at their jobs in the varying circumstances.

Interpersonal skills. Librarians must be able to work both as part of a team and with the public or with researchers

Problem-solving skills. Librarians conduct and assist with research. This requires being able to identify a problem, figure out where to find information, and draw conclusions based on the information found.

Reading skills. Librarians must be excellent readers. Those working in special libraries are expected to continually read the latest literature in their field of specialization.

Technology skills. Librarians use technology to help patrons research topics. They also use computers to classify resources, create databases, and perform administrative duties.

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School Librarian jobs

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School Librarian Demographics

Gender

Female

81.6%

Male

16.7%

Unknown

1.7%
Ethnicity

White

80.4%

Hispanic or Latino

10.4%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

2.6%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

38.2%

French

14.7%

Arabic

8.8%

Chinese

5.9%

Mandarin

5.9%

Swahili

2.9%

Filipino

2.9%

German

2.9%

Georgian

2.9%

Somali

2.9%

Russian

2.9%

Bengali

2.9%

Italian

2.9%

Hindi

2.9%
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School Librarian Education

Schools

University of Pittsburgh -

12.7%

Drexel University

9.9%

San Jose State University

7.0%

University of North Texas

7.0%

University of Texas at Austin

7.0%

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

5.6%

Texas Woman's University

5.6%

Marshall University

4.2%

Louisiana Tech University

4.2%

University of Southern Mississippi

4.2%

University of Delaware

4.2%

Grand Canyon University

4.2%

State University of New York Stony Brook

4.2%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

2.8%

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2.8%

University of Iowa

2.8%

University of Kentucky

2.8%

University of Michigan - Flint

2.8%

Southern Connecticut State University

2.8%

University of California - Los Angeles

2.8%
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Majors

Library Science

22.0%

Library Science And Administration

12.8%

Elementary Education

11.0%

Education

7.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

7.3%

Educational Leadership

5.5%

Information Sciences

5.5%

Psychology

4.4%

Business

4.0%

Liberal Arts

2.9%

Special Education

2.6%

English

2.2%

Educational Technology

2.2%

Early Childhood Education

1.8%

Curriculum And Instruction

1.5%

Finance

1.5%

Health Care Administration

1.5%

History

1.5%

Accounting

1.5%

Fine Arts

1.1%
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Degrees

Masters

43.4%

Bachelors

23.3%

Other

18.2%

Certificate

7.0%

Associate

4.6%

Doctorate

2.1%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.5%
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Real School Librarian Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Upper School Librarian Lakeside School Seattle, WA Sep 27, 2010 $69,581
Elementary School Librarian Lycee International de Boston Cambridge, MA Jan 09, 2016 $60,944 -
$79,335
Certified School Librarian Central Consolidated School District Newcomb, NM May 11, 2015 $60,000
Certified School Librarian Central Consolidated School District Newcomb, NM Jul 03, 2016 $60,000
School Librarian Lycee International de Los Angeles Burbank, CA Oct 01, 2015 $57,711
School Librarian Us Virgin Islands Department of Education Jul 10, 2016 $49,232
School Librarian Us Virgin Islands Department of Education Nov 13, 2016 $49,232
School Librarian Central Consolidated School District Shiprock, NM Jan 15, 2016 $46,925
School Librarian Us Virgin Islands Department of Education Nov 13, 2015 $46,500
School Librarian Us Virgin Islands Department of Education Aug 11, 2016 $46,500
School Librarian Us Virgin Islands Department of Education Nov 08, 2015 $46,500
School Librarian The Us Virgin Islands Department of Education Oct 07, 2015 $46,500
School Librarian Us Virgin Islands Department of Education Sep 07, 2014 $46,500
School Librarian Us Virgin Islands Department of Education Nov 08, 2014 $46,500
School Librarian Us Virgin Islands Department of Education Nov 07, 2013 $45,080
School Librarian The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education Mar 31, 2013 $45,080
School Librarian The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education Oct 01, 2012 $45,080
School Librarian Us Virgin Islands Department of Education Nov 13, 2013 $44,800
School Librarian Us Virgin Islands Department of Education Nov 13, 2014 $44,800
School Librarian The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education Aug 15, 2011 $44,800
School Librarian Teacher-Elementary The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education Jul 16, 2010 $44,800
School Librarian Teacher-Elementary The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education Dec 19, 2010 $44,800
Elementary School Librarian Prince George's County Public Schools Landover, MD Sep 20, 2011 $44,799 -
$82,873
School Librarian The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education Aug 15, 2011 $44,545
School Librarian The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education Feb 11, 2013 $42,780
School Librarian Us Virgin Islands Department of Education Sep 07, 2013 $42,780

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Top Skills for A School Librarian

ClassroomTeachersAnnualBookFairCurriculumSupportLibraryMaterialsOnlineCatalogBasicLibrarySkillsCollectionDevelopmentLibraryCollectionKindergartenLessonPlansResearchSkillsLibraryResourcesNewBooksNewMaterialsInternetK-5CirculationSystemPre-KLibraryServicesLibraryInstruction

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Top School Librarian Skills

  1. Classroom Teachers
  2. Annual Book Fair
  3. Curriculum Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Collaborated with classroom teachers to implement research and study sessions.
  • Facilitated annual book fair fundraiser and supervised volunteers.
  • Provided curriculum support to teaching faculty.
  • Selected and cataloged all library materials, increasing and improving the collection to reflect an expanding student population.
  • Automated the library collection and created a networked online catalog Purchased new materials and promoted them to staff and students.

Top School Librarian Employers