Why Do You Need A Degree To Be A Librarian? A Must Read
Is becoming a librarian your dream career goal? This post will help to point you in the right direction.
Library science offers an impressive career path. One can either work in a K-12 school, law firm, public, digital library, college or university, or branch manager.
There are also steps you have to follow to become a librarian. And one of them is obtaining a degree. However, many people believe librarians don’t need a degree.
Now, here’s the question.
Why do you need a degree to be a librarian?
Library science isn’t a career anyone can walk into, just like that. You would need specialized training, which a degree program, particularly MLIS, is tailored to offer you. Can you become a banker without a degree? No! The same thing applies to being a librarian.
A librarian’s job is complex and technical knowledge. You’re going to learn how to use various technologies, conduct research, and more. It’s not just about ordering, cataloging, and organizing books.
For instance, if you work in a law firm as a librarian; your job might include researching information for cases.
There’s also a management side to a librarian’s job. During your MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science) degree programs, you would be able to specialize and acquire more knowledge in the field.
Continue reading for more information to help you make an informed decision.
Who Is A Librarian?
To most people, a librarian’s job stops at supervising students and helping them find books to read. Most people also think librarians only work in academic settings. But that’s not true.
A librarian is more than a mere supervisor in a library. One’s duty can be more diverse and technical.
So, who is a librarian? A librarian is a professional whose primary work area is the library. A librarian’s job is to oversee the daily activities that take place in a library.
Where Can A Librarian Work?
It’s not a bad idea for you to find out the nature of job opportunities available to librarians before starting your degree program. It would even help you to make an informed decision.
So, where can a librarian work? Here are the answers.
- Law offices.
- Private library.
- Public library.
- Religious organizations
- Local library buildings.
- College and university campuses.
So, you can see that several industries need a librarian’s service. But keep in mind that the scope of a librarian’s job depends on the employers.
If you have no job experience yet, you can start your career as a library assistant.
How To Become A Librarian: The Steps Explained
If you are contemplating being a librarian, below are the steps you have to follow to make your dream come true.
Research about the field ruthlessly:
The reason you want to become a librarian shouldn’t be because you have a neighbor who’s a successful librarian. Keep in mind that works for others might not work for you.
So, your first mission should be to research and learn more about the field. Know what it takes to become a librarian, the job’s scope, and career path. What are the characteristics and skills a librarian should have? Know them.
Also, you can work in various establishments, both academic and non-academic. These include a law firm, government, K-12 school, public library, or digital library.
So, learn about the opportunities and growth job prospects. Do you also like to work in the above sectors or not? Ask yourself this question.
Conducting research will help you understand more about the undergraduate and master’s degrees you should be pursuing. But keep in mind that a master’s degree is a necessity to become a librarian.
Obtain a bachelor’s degree:
First things first, get a bachelor’s degree, if you haven’t done so already. Going for a library science degree is a wise choice, but you don’t necessarily need one to become a librarian. And that’s the exciting part. Any undergraduate degree you have would grant you the necessary foundation to build a librarian career.
Notwithstanding, you should consider obtaining an undergraduate degree to complement your Master in Library and Information Science degree.
Where you intend to work as a librarian is another factor to consider when pursuing an undergraduate degree program. If you plan to become a school librarian, then an undergraduate degree in education should suffice.
Obtaining teaching experience isn’t a bad idea. It can make you a preferred candidate for a job.
Learn more about the MLIS degrees:
Does your master’s in the library and information science degree align with your set career goal? Ask yourself this question.
MLIS degree programs vary. To pursue a program that focuses on your field of interest. If you want to become a science librarian, pick a master’s degree that focuses on that.
Thorough research about the MLIS degree options and specialization will help you to make an informed decision.
Land your first job:
Since you have started your MLIS degree program, consider using your spare time to gain on-the-job experience. Search for a part-time job in your school library or one nearby.
Most libraries have exciting part-time positions and would be more than willing to adapt to your schedule as a student. If you can’t find a paying job, search for a volunteer position.
Meanwhile, your primary focus shouldn’t be on the money when searching for a part-time job. The experience, exposure, and networking opportunities should be.
In most cases, obtaining an MLIS degree isn’t enough to land a librarian job. You may require certification, in addition to your master’s degree. But this varies from one state to another.
So, find out if the state you’re in requires certification. For example, in New York, librarians with MLIS degrees have to undergo mandatory testing and certification. Other states might not require this.
However, the nature of the job or area a librarian specializes in will determine if he or she would need certification or not. For instance, if you’re going to handle public funds or work as a librarian in a K-12 school, you may require certification.
A Handy Tip: You can pursue your MLIS degree online. Most schools don’t offer on-campus degree programs in this field. But then, you need to choose an accredited university. Otherwise, your degree won’t have much weight during job-hunting.
4 Powerful Librarian Traits
Before concluding plans to pursue a career in library science, look inwards. Do you have a genuine desire for this field? What about the characteristics? Well, there are certain traits a librarian needs to have to excel in this position.
Let’s discuss them below.
Passion for reading:
Do you enjoy reading books? If yes, you’re ready to become a librarian. Though reading isn’t going to be part of your job description, you need it to boost your chances of succeeding.
Reading will help you understand trending books. You will also understand the book students enjoy reading or that are most conducive for them.
So, passion for reading is a crucial trait every librarian should have. Without it, the job would appear boring to you. And you honestly don’t want to get to this stage in any career.
Librarians do a lot of research and for various purposes. They research to learn about valuable books worth keeping and the ones to discard. Research gives librarians a deeper understanding of books patrons enjoys reading.
Being a good researcher is a valuable trait for any librarian working in a law firm. Lawyers can ask you to conduct research for cases and pass it to them.
Every librarian must show great commitment in their jobs, no matter what. It doesn’t matter if you only received half your proposed budget because someone feels other departments needed more funds.
You must be 100% ready to work with the resources you have and keep the library running smoothly.
Organization skills are crucial for the job. A librarian must ensure books, music, and other media files are well-organized so that people can access them with ease.
Your library already has a classification system in place, where books are well-placed in alphabetical order. Work with that.
So, why do you think people need a degree to become a librarian? Well, now you know the reasons better.
Library science is a highly complex field. You would need specialized skills to succeed as a librarian. You would also need a master’s degree, and sometimes, certification.
However, this field is an interesting one for people who enjoys reading. You would have access to a plethora of books, past and recent.