How To Become a School Librarian


Feb 13, 2023

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Do you have a passion for working with students and reading books? A career as a school librarian might be the right path for you. Yet, you might wonder how to become a librarian and what skills you need to develop.

In this article, you will understand what requirements you need for this role and the steps you can take to pursue this career choice.

What Does a Librarian Do?

A school librarian is a teacher that works in an academic setting of all grade levels, from elementary schools to colleges. School librarians are also known as media specialists. They ensure students and faculty members can find the resources they need.

Additionally, librarians teach students how to locate library books and use resources to access information. Some of the daily activities of a librarian include:

  • Organizing materials
  • Maintaining collections
  • Developing index databases

Depending on the library’s size, the librarian is responsible for managing it and providing technical support. A librarian may even coordinate events, teach classes, prepare and use budgets and train staff accordingly.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Librarian?

School librarians need certain skills and degrees to become one. To learn how to become a librarian, here are a set of qualifications you must receive.

1. Earn Your Degree

The first step to becoming a librarian is earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in library science. A bachelor’s degree in library science is the minimum requirement to become a librarian.

However, a master’s that the American Library Association accredits will help you advance in your career — and enable you to gain specialized knowledge. While earning a master’s degree, you can expect to learn such topics, including:

  • Book preservation
  • Library Administration
  • Electronic resources
  • Research proficiency
  • Literary resources
  • Data collection
  • Library and information science
  • Children’s Literature
  • Website design

2. Obtain Your Teacher’s License

Depending on your location, your state may require you to obtain a teaching license. A teacher’s license shows employers your qualification to teach in an academic setting.

However, obtaining a license has a few requirements, including:

  • A bachelor’s degree.
  • A training education program completion.
  • A passing grade on the Praxis exams.
  • A pass on a background check.

3. Get Certified as a Librarian

A librarian certification allows you to work as a librarian in an educational setting. However, you must review your state’s requirements before applying for a certificate.

The eligibility requirements vary by state. For example, Alabama requires you to have a certification, while California requires a teaching license and bachelor’s degree.

What Skills Do You Need to Become a Librarian?

School librarians need the following skills in their role.

Instructional and Leadership Skills

A professional school librarian must know how to lead and guide students and faculty members. Here are some instances where librarians use instruction and leadership:

  • Trains staff: A librarian will manage student workers, school librarians, volunteers and clerks by training other staff members to manage the library. They also delegate tasks amongst employees and solve issues such as distractions or malfunctioning equipment.
  • Leads educational presentations: School librarians may teach students how the library works and what materials are available.
  • Teach library science at colleges: Librarians can teach college students about citing proper sources and using the search engine. They may also discuss how to access databases on a college website.

Research Skills

School librarians must be research experts to help students and faculty members find resources. They must also understand how to access information and which resources a student needs.

Technology Skills

School librarians must be proficient in using technology and have the computer skills to:

  • Provide online assistance.
  • Manage inventories.
  • Scan documents and upload files to websites.

Are Librarians Paid Well?

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for school librarians is $54,771 annually. Of course, your salary will depend on your location and the school. For instance, working at a university may help you earn more than a librarian who works at an elementary school.

Are Librarians in High Demand?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the occupation of librarians will grow by 6% between 2021 and 2031. In total, the number of job openings you can expect to grow each year amounts to 14,900.

Despite the job growth being at a much slower rate than other occupations, there are plenty of schools that need librarians. Therefore, there may be a demand for librarians in schools to help manage resources and educate students on how to use them properly.

Take Steps to Become a School Librarian

If you see yourself becoming a school librarian, take these steps to help you reach your goal. Though it will require you to earn a degree — and maybe even a teaching license and certification — becoming a librarian could be a great option. 

Most people become school librarians because they have a love for books and helping students find resources. With all of the responsibilities of being a librarian, it could be a rewarding career for you in the future.

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