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Librarian Careers

Being a librarian is a good career choice. It is a pretty decent job that compensates well. Many librarians love their job. So what does a librarian actually do? Librarians’ main tasks include selecting and organizing reading materials such as books, magazines and others and help people or readers use them effectively. Many librarians choose to work in with the public, while others work in technical support or administration. Traditionally, librarians work with printed resources, specifically books, magazines, encyclopedias, and newspapers, but because of the changing times, they are now also used to technology and works with electronic things or resources like the internet, databases that are computerized and e-books. Sometimes, librarians are called information professionals. After years of experience, librarians can go or advance to administrative positions like department heads, chief information officer or library director. In 2008, librarians held almost 160,000 jobs. Most of them worked in academic school libraries while others worked in business libraries, special libraries and libraries of organizations.

Most librarian jobs in academic, special or public libraries require a Master’s Degree in Library Science or in short MLS. For them to be employed by the Federal government, they must have an MLS. To complete an MLS program it usually takes one to two years. Computer related courses are included in all the MLS programs. For one to get a teaching position at a college or university (or even a top administration position in university or college library), a Ph.d. can help. For some librarians, an additional degree in the area in which they specialize is required.

Many universities and colleges have library science programs, but usually employers prefer graduates of the 49 schools in the United States that is accredited by the American Library Association. Courses in the foundations of library and information science (such as intellectual freedom and censorship, the history of books and printing, and the role of libraries and information in society) are included in a typical graduate program.

There are other basic courses in a graduate program and this includes the organization of information, selection and processing of materials, user services and research methods and strategies. Also those who want to be librarians should study Internet search methods, online reference systems, and automated circulation systems. Resources for young adults or children; classification, indexing, cataloguing and abstracting; and library administration are included in the Elective course options. An increasingly important part of an MLS degree is computer-related course work. Interdisciplinary degrees combining technical courses in information science with traditional training in library science are offered by some programs.

Also, librarians working in local or public libraries are required to be certified by most states. A school librarian’s (sometimes, they are also called school media specialists) certification vary by state. Some of the states require that school libraries are certified teachers; others require that they have an MLS, while some require a Master’s degree in education (with a specialization in library science). Education classes are taken up by librarians to keep up with the ever changing technology.

Through 2018, the employment of librarians is really expected to grow fast just like the average for all other occupation. Over the next few years many librarians will retire and this will significantly increase the job openings for this job. Usually, librarians earn $53,710 annually, or $25.82 hourly (this was in 2009). It is expected to increase in the coming years.

Usually, a librarian performs the following duties:

  • Know the user or reader’s needs and provide them enough information
  • Teach or assist users to search efficiently the information or the titles they are looking for on the internet and other resources
  • Purchase, select and prepare materials and classify them according to subject matter
  • Supervise the assistants who do the preparation of computer records and other access tools
  • Organize and collect books, magazines, newspapers, and other reading materials in a specific field
  • Supervise and coordinate programs like storytelling for grade school learners
  • Conduct classes from time to time
  • And many other functions