School Librarian: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a school librarian. Learn about salary, career outlook and degree requirements to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Archival Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a School Librarian?

A school librarian is responsible for stocking a library with books and reference materials and managing the daily operations and activities of a school library. This person also helps students conduct research for use in their studies and assignments. It is also often his or her responsibility to educate students about how to locate resources in the library. Additional duties often depend on the size of the school and library itself. Keep reading to learn more about the certification and degree needed to get started in this career.

Degree Required Master's degree
Education Field of Study Information and library science, library science
Key Skills Customer service, problem-solving, reading, research
Certification Certification is required to work in public schools
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2% (for all librarians)
Median Salary (2016)* $56,880 (for all librarians)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Much Could I Earn as a School Librarian?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that school librarians earned a median annual income of $56,880 as of May 2015. It was noted that schools at every level usually paid librarians higher than the national average. For example, librarians at elementary and middle schools averaged $60,670 per year, while those employed at community colleges and universities earned $63,980. Junior colleges paid their librarians an average $61,510, according to BLS data.

What Education Programs Are Available?

The BLS stated that you could become a school librarian in some states with a bachelor's degree in information and library science. In these undergraduate degree programs, you'll learn about library information technology related to databases, cataloging and media, as well as library management and information resources. Coursework in fine arts provides the foundation for literary and art appreciation. Many degree programs offer internship opportunities where you could work in a local library under the supervision of a librarian.

Some states require you to earn a Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS) or Master of Library Science (MLS) for a school librarian position. The purpose of the program is not only to teach you to assimilate, store and share information, but also to manage all aspects of a library. You'll learn about budgeting, staffing, library management theory and school library administration. The program also covers the fundamentals of digital libraries, as well as the preservation and archival of materials.

What Certifications Do I Need?

Certification and licensing requirements for school librarians vary widely among states. In some cases, you'll need to earn a school librarian license. However, you might need to obtain a teaching certification, and some states require you to add a school librarian endorsement. If you focus your career in a specific area, you could need additional state authorization as a media or information specialist. You'll usually only need to provide proof of education and experience and pay a licensing fee.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

As a librarian, you can work in environments other than schools, such as law or public libraries. These roles may require additional or specific education. Alternatively, if want to work at a school you could consider becoming a teacher, specifically in the area of literacy. If it's managing educational resources that interests you, you could work in a museum as an archivist, curator, or museum technician that oversees a number of different elements of the exhibits and collections.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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