What’s the Best Degree Path for Becoming a School Librarian?

school libraryIf you love books, you may have already considered a career as a librarian, but you might not have thought about working in an elementary, middle or high school setting. Libraries are an important part of educational institutions. About 38 percent of all librarians work in schools and another 17 percent work in colleges, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. School librarian is among the top 10 highest paying careers in education. It has a salary range between $42,240 and $65,300 per year. To attain this job, candidates must earn a graduate-level degree.

A School Librarian’s Job Duties

Modern school librarians do more than just manage books. One of their primary job duties is to help students, and sometimes teachers, find information. Whether the student is doing research for a class project or for personal reasons, the school librarian should be able to help guide the student’s research. School librarians organize and maintain:

  • books
  • magazines
  • audio and video materials
  • any other library materials a student might need

They develop and manage databases of existing materials. They search for new library materials that will be of use to students and teachers. Sometimes they teach classes on how to find and evaluate information in various ways, such as how to use a database of articles. School librarians may be in charge of planning library events.

The Master of Library Science Degree

To become a school librarian, you must go to college. You can study virtually any academic subject during your undergraduate years. After earning a bachelor’s degree, aspiring librarians must earn a Master of Library Science (MLS) or similar degree.

The coursework in a MLS degree program will train you to accomplish all of the job duties you will need during your career. Over a year or two years of full-time study, aspiring librarians learn how to:

  • choose library books and materials
  • gather and organize information
  • catalog materials
  • perform research using various methods and strategies

As technology has evolved, so have these degree programs to include study on online searches, the BLS reports. In addition to earning a MLS degree, aspiring librarians must also attain a teacher’s license or certification in many states.

Work as a school librarian can be very rewarding in many ways. The pay for this career is among the highest in the field of education. The job is personally satisfying, as well. At elementary schools, school librarians often offer young students their first glimpse into research. They encourage them to read for enjoyment and recreation.

School librarians who work with older students can help them with challenging class projects. They provide the tools students need to research subjects of personal interest. Though school librarians must earn a master’s degree and a license or certification, it’s a career well worth the time spent studying and training.

Brenda Rufener

Julie McCaulley

Carrie Sealey-Morris