Library Science Professions Video: Educational Requirements for Librarians

Library Science Professions Video: Educational Requirements for Librarians Transcript

Librarians do more than stand behind the front desk at local and school libraries. They are responsible for overseeing, updating and managing all of the information resources available in libraries today. Librarians are required to earn a master's degree in library science, sometimes with a specialization in areas such as reference services, technical services or children's services. Sometimes earning a second degree in a related field is beneficial.


Library science is the study of library administration. Libraries have always served communities as a place to borrow books and research information. Thanks to the growth of electronic media, libraries now readily supply information through DVD, CD, video technology, Internet and other mediums. Librarians are responsible for organizing and overseeing these sources and making sure that they are easily accessible to the public. Besides helping people find the information they need, librarians keep up to date with new technologies, new information sources and the most recent publishing trends. Librarians also promote reading through various programs and order supplies, including, of course, the books that are still the lifeblood of libraries today.

Typical Coursework

In order to work in most public, academic or special libraries, librarians must have a master's degree in library science. There are currently 56 schools with library science programs that have been accredited by the American Library Association. Earning a master's degree from one of these programs is a definite advantage when seeking employment. Subjects covered in a typical library science master's degree program include, the history of books and printing, the role of libraries in society, research methods and strategies, information organization and online reference systems, among others. Master's programs in this field generally take one to two years to complete.

Job Prospects

In smaller libraries, librarians will be asked to take on multiple responsibilities. Librarians in larger libraries, however, may be hired to handle specific responsibilities. They may be brought on to work with specific groups such as, children, young adults, adults or people with special needs. Still others may be hired to focus on technical or user services. Librarians work in public, school, college and university libraries. Library science degree graduates may also work in special libraries maintained by the government, private companies, law firms, museums, research laboratories or other types of organizations.

Higher Learning/Graduate Opportunities

Most librarian positions already require a master's degree. However, some Master's of Library Science degree programs allow for specialization in areas such as, reference, technical or children's services. Those who wish to teach in this field or to pursue a top administrative position are encouraged to earn a Ph.D. Certification is also required in most states for employment in local public and school libraries which vary from state to state. About half of the states require school librarians to have teacher certification, though not necessarily teaching experience. Various comprehensive tests are required in some states as well. Students who want to work in a special library are encouraged to take courses and even earn a master's or Ph.D in an area of specialization such as, law, medicine, business, engineering or other area.


Libraries have always served an important function in society serving as a central location for gathering information. Students who pursue a graduate degree in library science should possess a love of the printed word, a desire to help people and an ongoing thirst for knowledge.


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