Librarians are a very well educated group of professionals with much experience in librarian courses. Most employers are looking to hire librarians who have completed a master’s degree program accredited by the ALA (American Library Association) and any other librarian courses. Additionally, a specialization may be required depending on the job opportunity you are seeking which means even more librarian courses.
An undergraduate degree from a 4-year university or college is the first thing you’ll need to acquire in order to become a librarian and take more advanced librarian courses. This undergraduate degree is required for admission into a graduate school which is the following step in your journey towards librarianship.
The appealing thing about the undergraduate degree needed in order to become a librarian is that there are no requirements regarding your choice of major. Meaning you could study business to computer science and anything in between and still become a librarian. This flexibility within the beginning librarian courses is a blessing because we all want to study what interests us.
Two things to keep in mind as you are choosing your undergraduate major is; 1. You should pick something that truly interests you so you posses the motivation it requires to achieve your degree and 2. Graduate schools typically only admit students who achieved their undergraduate degree with a minimum B average or minimum 3.0 GPA.
Graduate Degree and Further Librarian Courses
Your next librarian courses to take are the ones required to receive a graduate degree from an ALA (American Library Association) accredited school. There are only 63 of these schools so do make sure the school you choose possesses this accreditation. You can find the list of accredited schoolshere.
Admission to a graduate school may require submission of recommendation letters (so make sure you are in good favor with your undergraduate professors as they are the best source of a recommendation letter), multiple interview processes, and the issuance of a standardized test.
Employers are mainly seeking librarians who have completed their Masters in Library and Information Science, or their Masters in Library Science so there are many librarian courses that you must take and complete.
These graduate degrees typically take 1-2 years to complete depending on your preferred workload during the school semesters. If you want to complete your librarian courses quickly you can do so, just take more hours per semester and you’ll be done in a flash.
Courses you can expect to take while earning your graduate degree and going through your librarian courses might include:
- Library Management
- Information Science
- Research Methods
- Reference Resources
- Library Collections
There is also a doctorate available (Doctorate of Library Science) for those who want to take their librarian career to the next level.
Some people within the librarian career choose to pursue a specialty degree in areas such as school, archival, or art in order to better prepare themselves for the specific librarian job they want.
Specialization may be required for some positions. The school librarian position in most states requires a Masters degree in Education or Library Science with a specialty in Library Media (This specialty degree must come from a program accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education or NCATE).
Most states have certification requirements for school librarian and public librarian positions which may include the issuance of a comprehensive assessment. This may be a state-specific certification or a general teachers certification, you should check if your state requires any of these in order to hold a librarian position.
Whether you choose to start or continue down your path to librarianship we wish you the best of luck!