What does a librarian do?
Librarians (also known as information professionals or information specialists) are responsible for the overall function and operation of libraries. They help people locate and use information for a variety of purposes and have an impressive knowledge of well-established and newly-emerging information sources. They also create and direct information programs and systems to make sure resources are organized and meet the needs of the library’s users. They use catalog and classification systems to ensure users can find information easily and make recommendations of relevant materials.
Information professionals will sometimes focus on a specific type of information, and become experts in the area in which they work, such as a public library, a college, university or other institutional library, a school library, media center, or a specialized library, such as a medical or government library.
Information specialists read book reviews, publishers’ announcements and industry publications to keep up to date with current literature. They select and buy materials from distributors, publishers, and wholesalers. They are also responsible for managing library staff and negotiate contracts for equipment, services, and materials. They prepare budgets and perform fundraising and public relations duties. Librarians also organize events such as book chats and readings for adults and children.
With the emergence of new information technologies, most libraries feature computerized databases. Librarians are responsible for developing and indexing these electronic collections, so they must know how to use these new resources and advise visitors on how to use them as well.
What kind of training does a librarian need?
A master degree in library science (MLS) is usually required for librarian positions in academic, public, and special libraries. Librarians employed by schools do not usually need a MLS, but they must meet licensing requirements according to their state. Librarian certification is also required by some institutions. There are many colleges and universities that offer library science programs, but applicants who have graduated from one of the 56 schools accredited by the American Library Association are preferred.
Many librarians in large public library systems or college or university libraries have doctoral degrees in library and information science. They must also participate in continuing education and library training programs to stay current with new information systems and technologies to provide the best resources to library users. Click the link to see a list of schools to get your library science degree online.
What are the prospects for librarian careers?
Librarian positions are expected to grow slower than average for all professions through 2016, increasing 4%, from 158,000 jobs in 2006 to just over 164,000. (1)
Despite the slower than average occupational growth, job prospects are still expected to be favorable due to a large number of librarians that are expected to retire in the next 10 years. Job opportunities should be the best for positions in public schools. Click to find out how to become a librarian.
How much do librarians make?
As of April 2009, the middle 50% of librarian salaries were between $47,947 and $63,375, with the highest 10% earning annual salaries of more than $70,444. (2)
People who have a love for books and publications and enjoy assisting others in finding useful information are excellent candidates for librarian careers. Leadership, organizational and communication skills are essential, as well as the ability to work independently and as part of a team. Click for a list of programs to get your library science degree online.