Librarianship is an educational career for guardians, not just of paper records and books, but of the most advanced electronic resources, including the Internet, digital libraries, and remote access to a wide range of information sources. Consequently, librarians are often called information professionals or school media specialists, combining traditional tasks with changing technologies. Librarians select and organize the library’s holdings so users can access them easily.
Librarians are people who love books and learning about books, who love helping people and showing them how to unlock the wealth of information available in today’s world, who love order and orderly arrangement, who love research and exploring the world of ideas, and who love students and are willing to play a supporting role in their learning.
This requires a wide knowledge of scholarly and public information sources as well as an understanding of trends in publishing, computers, and media.
Librarians can focus on three major aspects of the work: user services, technical services, and administrative services.
Librarians in user services analyze users’ needs and search for, acquire, and evaluate the required information. Librarians help users navigate the Internet to search for and select the information that meets their needs.
School librarians perform an instructional role in helping students and faculty members find and evaluate the information they need and use it effectively for educational and professional purposes. They can help teachers develop curricula and acquire materials for classroom instruction, advise individual students, and conduct classes on how to use library resources for research projects.
Librarians in technical services help the library acquire the materials needed, preparing and classifying them for easy access.
Librarians in administrative services manage libraries and staffs, contract for services and equipment, prepare budgets, and supervise public relations and fundraising.
A master’s degree in library science (MLS) is necessary for librarian positions in most public, academic, and special libraries. Entry into a library science graduate program requires a bachelor’s degree in any undergraduate major. Most programs take a year to complete.
In addition to school libraries, librarians can work in public libraries and specialized research libraries. Their skills are useful in organizing data and making it available to those who need it. They can apply their information and research skills to fields as diverse as database development, information systems, web content management and design, and training database users. They can act as consultants to businesses and government.
Job opportunities are expected to be favorable as a large number of librarians are likely to retire in the coming decade.
Salaries of librarians vary according to the individual’s qualifications and the type, size, and location of the library. The median annual wage is $52,530.