A librarian works in an environment that is surrounded by books, computers and other sources of information. They should love helping people find the information they need for school, work or personal purposes. Contrary to the stereotyped image of a grumpy lady with hair tied in a bun telling students to keep quiet, librarians today actually come in different shapes and sizes. Although the general work of librarians is to help students carry out research and find the information they are looking for, there are actually different kinds of librarians assigned for various tasks, especially in larger libraries.
User services librarians are the ones patrons most commonly associate with the librarian occupation. They are the ones who assist library users and teach them how to use the resources of the library. There are also technical services librarians whose work involves organizing and classifying library materials so that people will find it easy to locate the information they need. Most of their work is done in the background so they don’t usually interact with the public. Then there are librarians who take care of running the operations of the entire library. They are called administrative services librarians.
As a librarian, you’re not only confined to working in schools. You can also work in community public libraries, corporate libraries, government libraries and medical libraries, among others. You will be helping the people who work or need to do research in these settings.
To succeed as a librarian, you first need to have an inherent love for reading. Librarians are expected to be updated on the latest literary releases so you must really love digesting the written word. You must also have excellent communication skills since you need to be able to explain information in ways that library users will understand. You also need to be comfortable around computers since today’s libraries rely on computers to catalogue their resources. You also need to be genuinely helpful since people ask for your help all in locating resources all the time.
Why Become A Librarian
One reason to become a librarian is one’s love for reading and sharing information. If you can’t let a day pass by without reading a single book, magazine or newspaper then this career would really suit you. School librarians also have the opportunity to teach young people. Another reason to become a school librarian is that you enjoy the same vacation time as teachers—a privilege that many occupations don’t have. Librarians also enjoy above-average pay.
Librarian Work Environment
Librarians mostly work in school settings. Thus, they are found in colleges, universities and professional schools as well as elementary and secondary schools. They also work in the information industry as well as in local government offices. The work schedule is fulltime although some work part-time. Librarians who are assigned in school libraries usually follow the school calendar which means that they take summer breaks like teachers do.
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wages of librarians is $57,550. This is higher than the $33,000 received by library technicians and $50,770 paid to archivists, curators and museum technicians.
Librarian Career Outlook
The employment outlook of librarians is set to grow seven percent in the ten-year period covering 2012 to 2022, according to projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although this rate is slower than the national average for all other jobs, the demand for librarians will come from research and special libraries where their services and expertise will be needed to categorize all the available resources. However, the demand for librarians will also be lessened somewhat by the ready availability of information on the Internet.
The entry point for a librarian degree is a master’s degree in library science (MLS), master of information studies or master of library and information studies. A bachelor’s degree is needed to enter these programs. Librarians who work in special libraries may need to obtain a degree that proves their knowledge of that field. For example, those who work in corporate libraries must also have a business degree.