Library Media Specialist: Job Description, Salary and Requirements

Library media specialists require significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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A library media specialist is different from a librarian. Library media professionals work specifically with a library's media resources. For their studies, a librarian media specialist needs to complete a master's degree in library science.

Essential Information

A library media specialist is a trained professional who works in schools to help students and staff members find materials and learn to do research. These individuals generally need a master's degree in library science. Many states require that library media specialists also possess teaching certification which can be obtained from an approved undergraduate or graduate teacher preparation program.

Required Education Master's degree in library science
Other Requirements Teaching certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 2% for librarians; 5% for library technicians*
Median Salary (2015) $56,880 for librarians; $27,930 for library technicians*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Library Media Specialist Job Description

In schools across the nation, trained professionals are in the libraries working each day to help students and teachers conduct research and complete projects. They are also responsible for maintaining and organizing books, magazines and other resources. Library media specialists process materials to put them into circulation, as well as assist patrons with library materials and audiovisual or computer equipment if necessary.

Salary and Career Information for Library Media Specialists

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not specifically provide information on library media specialists. However, the BLS does have data on librarians and library technicians. For the decade 2014-2024, the BLS predicts that employment of librarians will rise by 2%. The BLS estimated that library technician jobs will grow by 5% for the same 2014-2024 time period.

Librarians earned $56,880 as a median annual wage in May 2015, according to the BLS. The BLS also reported that library technicians earned an annual median salary of $27,930 in May 2015.

Career Requirements

Educational Requirements

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that library media specialists must have a master's degree, typically in library science (www.bls.gov). These programs may be offered in traditional classrooms, online or as a hybrid - with some classes online and others in classrooms. Students may complete these programs within two years and may take courses in research for library media specialists, information literacy and development of library collections. Taking specific courses may lead to an additional endorsement in library media.

Certification Information

According to the BLS, library media specialists must also have teaching certification in nearly half of the states in the country. Teaching certifications typically come when aspiring teachers complete their bachelor's degrees, although there are pathways that involve obtaining certification at the graduate level. These degree programs often include courses in curriculum and instruction, language development and field experience.

Library media specialists are responsible for maintaining and organizing a library's media resources and helping library patrons utilize various media. A master's degree in library science, available through classroom, online, or hybrid courses, is required in order to start a career as a library media specialist. Some states may also require a teaching credential.

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