How To Become a School Librarian: A Career Guide (With FAQs)

If you are wondering what it takes to become a school librarian, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to state certification requirements with current links.

If you are wondering what it takes to become a school librarian, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to state certification requirements with current links.

School librarians are focused on student success and should be a part of every school and all grade levels. Professional or certified school librarians are specifically trained to work with students and have extensive librarian-related experience like research, information literacy, book recommendations, and technology on top of their teaching experience. They work with students and other teachers to ensure that everyone is able to access information in a variety of formats and that reading is integrated across the curriculum. School librarians are leaders within their schools and help develop important skills in students from a young age because they focus on learning outcomes and individual discovery.

Working with students on a daily basis comes with some hard work and a lot of joy. In several states, school librarians need a Bachelor’s degree in education and a Master’s in library science. Each librarian must also make sure they maintain state requirements in order to be an educator. Many states prefer that those who obtain a Master’s attend an American Library Association (ALA) accredited school. This shows that the librarian has met certain standards in their education to receive the degree.

Requirements to become a school librarian vary by state. Below is a list of requirements that allow a librarian to become certified for schools in each state:

How to Become a School Librarian
  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in library science or a related subject.
  2. Complete a master’s degree program in library science, such as a master of library science (MLS) or Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS).
  3. Take your state’s required tests for public school librarians.

How to Become a Librarian : tips, tricks, and MLIS advice!

What do school librarians do?

School librarians assist students and faculty members with finding and accessing educational resources, and they maintain the organization of the library. Their day-to-day responsibilities may include:

What is a school librarian?

A school librarian is an educator who manages the library in academic institutions, such as grade schools and universities. Also known as media specialists, school librarians ensure that students and faculty members use resources effectively. They may have specialties in subjects such as library science or law, and they update the librarys resources to reflect developments in technology and research standards.

School libraries offer educational resources such as:

Skills for a school librarian

School librarians use the following skills in their occupation:

Instructional leadership

As licensed professionals, school librarians need to know how to teach students and faculty members how to use library resources. Here are some occasions where librarians use instructional leadership:

Research

With research expertise, school librarians can help students and faculty members find beneficial resources. School librarians understand what information certain resources provide and how to access them. For example, if a student is writing a term paper about the First Amendment, the school librarian can direct the student to a database that specializes in legal topics and scholarly articles that discuss the First Amendment.

Computer proficiency

School librarians need technical skills to manage all library resources. Along with the physical setting, academic libraries may have websites that students and faculty members can access. Here are examples of how school librarians use computer skills in their roles:

How to become a school librarian

If youre interested in becoming a school librarian, you may need to follow these steps:

1. Earn a bachelors degree in library science

A bachelors degree in library science is the minimum education requirement to become a school librarian. You can also study similar disciplines, such as information technology, information science or education.

2. Earn a masters degree

Many states require school librarians to obtain a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree from a program that the American Library Association (ALA) accredits. This degree covers topics such as:

3. Obtain a teachers license

Depending on your state, you may need to obtain a teachers license to show employers that you can provide instruction in an academic setting. The qualifications include:

4. Apply for a librarian certification

A librarian certification endorses you to work as a librarian in a school system. Eligibility requirements vary from state to state. For example, Georgia requires candidates to have only an MLS degree, while Colorado requires only a teachers license. Yet, Hawaii requires candidates to have both a masters degree and a teachers license. Some states, such as New York, may require an additional certification exam as well. Before you apply for the endorsement, review your specific state requirements carefully.

Frequently asked questions about school librarians

For more information about school librarians, review the answers to the following questions:

What is the work environment for school librarians?

The work environment for school librarians depends on the school and the size of its library. The more students and faculty members at a school, the more possible visitors the library has, which means school librarians may work full time to service the school.

They might also hold different management responsibilities, depending on the schools needs. Some school libraries may only need one librarian to manage it. University libraries, for example, may need one librarian to oversee the use of the audiovisual materials and another librarian to monitor activity in the computer labs.

What is the salary and job outlook for school librarians?

How long does it take to become a school librarian?

Depending on the state you live in, it may take you at least six years to become a school librarian. You may need four years to earn your bachelors degree and another two years to earn your masters degree. You may also need an additional year to prepare for the Praxis exam to obtain your teachers license and fulfill extra requirements your state mandates for your librarian endorsement.

FAQ

What are the requirements to be a librarian?

Skills
  • Desire to meet and serve the library’s user community.
  • Ability to think analytically and to develop new or revised systems, procedures, and work flow.
  • Ability to exercise initiative and independent judgment.
  • Knowledge of computers, the internet, and commercially available library software.

What skills do school librarians need?

Skills
  • Desire to meet and serve the library’s user community.
  • Ability to think analytically and to develop new or revised systems, procedures, and work flow.
  • Ability to exercise initiative and independent judgment.
  • Knowledge of computers, the internet, and commercially available library software.

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