One of the most interesting careers is the one of librarian. Not only does a librarian has access to a world of information, but is able to work in a silent environment for most part. Today librarians must be able to handle and work with the latest technology to research, find, share, catalog, classify, and handle information. Library patrons depend on the librarian to help them with the information needs that they have, as well as taking out material that they can enjoy at home. Libraries have evolved, and now they offer other services and involvement in the community, which may require the librarian to perform other tasks as needed. Many times, librarian assistants or library clerks perform these tasks.
The salary for a librarian varies. The education level, the type, and size of library, and where it is located will influence the salary of a librarian. Salary ranges from the low $30s to the mid $80s, depending on the setting and education. However, the median income is around $52,530. Federal positions and administrative positions seem to pay more.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Librarians can work in several settings. Some of them in public schools and township libraries, others in private libraries; other settings include colleges and universities, government, information services, and special libraries such as law firm libraries, medical center libraries, union libraries, information centers, religious and professional organizations, hospitals, research labs, and other private settings. The librarians are in charge of the information that passes through their hands, via in tomes, or electronic form. The advances of technology have redefined this position making it more demanding in the sense of speed in which the information is demanded, as well as the way the information is safeguarded and stored, as well as catalog or categorized, many times, electronically. This has led to a reinvention of the name librarian, and now librarians are known as information professionals. Librarians must be able to learn to handle new technology as well. In small libraries, a librarian will perform most of the required tasks. However, in large libraries librarians will do some administrative jobs, as well as supervision and management of other staff. Librarians will tend to users, tend to the technical needs of the library, and the administrative part as well. In some instances, one librarian will handle each branch, especially in large libraries. Depending on the size of the library a librarian will handle all or one aspect – for example, bibliography, cataloging, special collections, reference … and so on.
Most libraries have become computerized and access through information is doing remotely via computers. Automated systems librarians specialized in this branch of working with information and knowledge. Other librarians are entrepreneurs and have their own consulting businesses.
The demands of the job may be stressful, depending on how much a librarian has to take care of and how many other employees and assistants work with him/her. However, the job may entitle to meet the needs of a large public as well as climbing ladders and handle large loads of books and materials. Some positions are part-time, while others are full-time. Part-time librarians will work on weekends and other special hours due to other library activities such as group work, special readings … and more.
Training and Education Requirements
Most librarian positions require a master’s degree. However, school librarians do not need a master’s degree, but will need to meet the teaching license requirements of the state. To be admitted into a library science graduate program a candidate has to have a bachelor’s degree, any undergraduate major will qualify as well. The American Library Association accredits programs. A master’s degree will prepare a librarian for the general functions, but many librarians choose to specialize in one area in particular such as reference, children services. The more education or specialization the better the salary.
The requirements for certifications vary widely from state to state. Some states have tighter requirements than others do. Many states require candidates to hold teacher’s certifications in addition to their master’s degrees; others will require librarians to pass an examination. Some will require teaching experience, while others do not. The requirements are different between states.
Librarians, who work at special librarians such as a law library, medical center library, and other special or private setting, will require knowledge related to that field. They must continue to keep up with technology and obtain the knowledge, training, and certification needed to continue employment and keep up with the times.
Some librarians belong to unions, depending on the type of employment and setting. Others belong to private professional associations. Many of the professional associations they belong to will be directly related to their specialization and interest.
The outlook of this type of job is favorable as the evolution of knowledge and information is directly tied to the developments in technology. This profession is directly affected by technology and the way information will be shared and handled in the future.