College Librarian: Job Description, Duties and Salary

College librarians require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and salaries to see if this is the right career for you

Librarians require formal education, and college librarians are no exception. This article provides more information about how to become a college librarian and details about a career in the field.

Essential Information

College librarians carry out a variety of tasks including cataloging books, determining budgets, maintaining library materials, assisting students and conducting research. They may have their own small staffs and assistants as well. Librarians need a master's degree in library science or a related field and usually some library experience. Salaries for college librarians are higher than salaries earned by most other types of librarians.

Required Education Master's degree in library science or library and information science.
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 2% for all librarians*
Median Annual Salary (2015) $60,300 for librarians working in colleges, universities and professional schools*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

College librarians help students, faculty and staff with finding and recommending source materials as well as determining what type of materials they need. Librarians also instruct patrons on basic computer skills, educate them on policies and how to use library resources. Classes could also be taught on how to utilize new technology and information comprehension.

Librarians must be knowledgeable about both print and electronic information sources and databases. College librarians must be able to quickly identify the needs of patrons and do so with precision.

According to available job postings, applicants for positions as college librarians need to have a master's degree in library science or library and information science from a school accredited by the American Library Association. Professional experience in a library setting, academic or otherwise, is recommended.

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Job Duties

The job postings also indicated that college librarians may help prepare the library's budget. They could also set up new technologies, such as media conferencing, mediated instruction and other library services. Librarians who act as liaisons to specific departments at a college are specialists in a particular subject area. Library liaisons manage, promote and evaluate materials such as journals, books and various multimedia materials in their department. College librarians also plan special programs related to the library and help with the management system.

Salary and Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2015, librarians earned an average of $56,880. Librarians working in colleges, universities and professional schools earned an average salary of $60,300 during that same time. The BLS also estimates that employment of all librarians is expected to grow 2% for the years 2014 through 2024 which is much slower than average.

College librarians have a variety of responsibilities including customer service, collection maintenance and acquisition research, and also some teaching of basic technology and library resource skills. A master's degree and job experience are typically required. College librarians usually earn more than other types of librarians.


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