How to Become a Medical Librarian

How to Become a Medical Librarian

Medical libraries provide assistance to medical professionals, students, patients, and a variety of other people in finding a wide range of medical and scientific information for many different purposes. A medical librarian is a library professional that helps people access a variety of medical information.

What does a medical librarian do?

Medical librarians work in medical libraries to assist people with obtaining many different types of health and scientific information. They help patients obtain information regarding health conditions and available treatment options. Medical librarians may also provide information about clinical trials, new medical treatments, and standard procedures. They conduct research on many different health topics. They also help people stay up to date with medical advances. Medical librarians work with many different types of media such as digital archives, websites, audio files, and videos. They often work for hospitals, medical schools, insurance companies, and other health-related facilities.

What kind of training does a medical librarian need?

Medical librarians typically need at least a master degree in library and information science. Many colleges and universities offer a variety of library science programs, but most employer prefer candidates that have graduated from schools that are accredited by the American Library Association. Prospective medical librarians often complete courses in the history of books, censorship, research methods, online reference systems, and medical terminology. Many aspiring medical librarians complete internships or obtain part-time jobs as library aides in medical libraries to gain practical experience in the field. Many medical librarians join the Medical Library Association (MLA). Medical librarians must complete regular continuing education and additional training throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast with new information systems and technology. They often participate in conferences, workshops, and seminars.

What are the prospects for a career as a medical librarian?

Employment of medical librarians is expected to grow as fast as average for all professions, increasing 8% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and expansion of the medical field will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be favorable especially for medical librarians with extensive experience. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace medical librarians that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do medical librarians make?

As of February 2010, the middle 50% of medical librarians earn annual salaries between $46,095 and $59,671. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $66,536 (2).

A career as a medical librarian is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in library science and the medical field. Medical librarians must have a solid understanding of the concepts, policies, and procedures of medical libraries. Patience, detail orientation, critical thinking, and good organizational skills are essential characteristics. Medical librarians must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to assist a variety of people. They must also have good technical and computer skills to help people locate electronic resources.

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